DISCLAIMER: Karen Sisco and all characters are property of Jersey Television.
NOTE: During Nobody's Perfect Marley Novak is referred to as Sergeant but during the later and not widely shown episode No One's Girl she's referred to as Detective, which is why I've called her that here. The drowning man and the helicopter story is not mine, plenty of versions of it can be found on the net.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

7 Days in Miami
By Ruby



"You'd have to try me," Karen replied to the person on the other end of her phone, watching as a woman walked up and perched on her desk.

Detective Novak snorted, "What I wouldn't give for an invitation like that!" she said smirking at the woman in front of her, she'd never seen the Marshal blush before and decided she liked it.

"Hey Marley," a voice said behind her.

Rolling her eyes at Karen, who grinned, she turned her head, "Phil."

"Seen a lot of you lately, still on the Sareta case?"

"Still on it," she said, wondering how inane this conversation was going to get.

"Boy these hours must mess with your social life," Marley raised an eyebrow and sighed in relief as Sisco finished on the phone.

"He's meeting Carlton at Joe's on South Beach, 1400 hours," the Marshal said replacing the receiver.

"Well at least it's not unusual to see people hanging around for a table."

"There something you wanted Phil?" Karen asked politely.

"Er no," he replied, "Just saying Hi... well I'll be..." he pointed back to the other side of the room... "see you around Marley."

"Yup... I've no doubt that you will," the Detective replied.

Watching Phil walk away, Karen stood "be right back" she said and waited for the woman to nod before she headed to Amos's office to tell him the good news, well aware that the Detective's eyes were on her butt.

"Damn, we've been made," Karen said several hours later seeing Sareta look over at them for the third time, then get up.

Her companion thought quickly and then smiled as she saw a couple stand to go to a table, "We might be able to save it, wanna give it a try?"

"It's that or three weeks surveillance down the pan, what did you have in mind?"

Marley grabbed a now free bar stool and told Karen to sit down facing the tables, then moved so she was standing between the Marshal's legs, her arm reaching over to grab her drink, giving every impression of being a woman attentive to the needs of her girlfriend. Looking up she saw a raised eyebrow, "I want you to know I'm not enjoying any of this," the Detective stated, her lips twitching.

"Of course not." Karen smiled back, enhancing the picture of coupledom by hooking her legs slightly around the Detective's and using one hand to play with the back of Novak's jacket. From over Marley's shoulder she watched as one of Sareta's colleagues convinced him to sit down. "Well, he's gone back to his crab so I guess we're safe for now."

Marley looked into the Marshal's face, "I've been meaning to apologize about getting the wrong…"

Karen cut her off, "Hey I'd rather be hit on by you than Phil."

The woman winced "Ooh, you too huh?"

"That man puts, 'if you're the alternative' into whole other species of possibilities," Sisco said rolling her eyes.

"So what about the one you're seeing?"

"Ah, he's old news."

"And the new news is?"

"Getting personal aren't we?" Karen grinned.

The Detective grinned back, "Since you turned me down, I figured I'd live vicariously."

"Well there is no new news, my heart as they say, belongs to Daddy," Karen said watching the table. Truth was she enjoyed spending time with Novak more than she did with anyone else. Pondering that thought she almost missed the Detective's next comment.

"That's probably just as well."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Well you told me you can't cook, and I know you're lousy with kids so…"

"Hey, I'll make someone a great …" Karen stopped talking and grabbed the front of Marley's jacket bringing her face within kissing distance, Novak automatically raised her hand and tangled it in the brunette's hair. She didn't know what was going on, but she wasn't about to turn the opportunity down. "Sareta's not sure, but he's damned nervous," Karen said trying to slow her breathing when she finally came up for air.

"So would you be with 10 kilos of coke in your car, not to mention the stuff he's got on him… well it worked for me," Novak said huskily, "did it work for him?"

"Uh huh... he's eating again… hang on Carlton's just arrived," Karen said in her ear, sending shivers down the Detective's spine. Getting out her cell she ducked her head into Novak's chest and dialed, "Carlton just walked in, I'll give you the go when they've made the exchange," leaving her cell where it was and raising her head she caught a glimpse of the heated look in the Detective's eyes as hers went back to their target.

Getting her hormones under control, Marley wanted to turn and watch but knew she couldn't and instead focused on the thread count in Sisco's jacket. After a few minutes her eyes drifted to the pulse point jumping invitingly in the Marshal's neck. She told herself to be professional, that they were both on a job and that even if they weren't, what she wanted to do was inappropriate, especially in the middle of a restaurant. She was so intent on berating herself that she nearly missed the whispered "go" into the phone.

Spinning, she drew her weapon and walked up to the table knowing Karen was right behind her, "Federal Marshal" she heard Sisco say, "hands on the table."

"Now," the Detective said, pointing her gun at Carlton's face as he instinctively reached for his.

Watching as the four men were cuffed and taken away, Marley grinned, "We make a good team," she said turning to the woman standing next to her.

"Yeah," Karen replied grinning back, "We do."

"Nice work," Amos smiled at her when she was finally through with the paperwork later that evening.

"Thanks," she replied, walking towards the hallway she called back to him, "I'm out of here, I'll see you in the morning." He nodded and she turned and opened the door just in time to see Detective Novak yet again being hit on by Phil Kavanagh.

Unaccountably irritated, she speedily weighed up the pro's and con's of the action she was about to take, took in the fact that the rest of the hallway was empty and then mentally shrugged, who was she kidding, working with the woman had been driving her nuts and she'd been barely able to concentrate since lunch. Walking over she heard Phil say, "Come on Marley it's just a drink, what could it hurt?"

Reaching them before the Detective could reply, Karen smiled at her and then turned to her co-worker, "Actually Phil, I could make it hurt… a lot. Hey," she said turning and kissing her briefly but soundly on the lips, "you ready to go."

Marley glanced quickly at Phil, not knowing which one of them was more stunned, "sure" she replied, thankful that the elevator doors had opened behind them. Noticing that it was empty Karen pushed her inside and against the back of the car, she could see Kavanagh's mouth drop open in the polished metal as she leant in and ravished the lips in front of her.

Hearing the doors shut, the Detective pulled away quickly and tried to collect her wits. "Well I don't think he'll be bothering either of us again, thanks," she said, trying not to sound as turned on as she felt.

"No problem," Karen replied, trying to regain control of her faculties, she was really going to have to stop doing that.

"So… I came to see if you had time for a drink?" the Detective asked casually.

"Actually, I have time for dinner if you want to join me."

Marley grinned, "I'd never pass up an invitation like that... you're not cooking are you?" she continued as an afterthought, laughing as Sisco shot daggers at her from the other side of the car.

"You didn't have to see me home you know," Karen said when they reached her door an enjoyable few hours later, "but thank you."

"The pleasure was all mine," the Detective said gallantly, smiling before she turned to leave, "night!"

"Hey Marley," the Marshal called, watching as Novak turned back. Casually walking up to her, she leaned in and kissed her, "Thanks."

"Not that I'm counting..." the Detective noted the throatiness of her voice and tried to swallow, "but that's the third time you've kissed me today."

Karen grinned, "Actually it's the fourth... you're just too damned irresistible."

Marley sighed theatrically, "If only that were true."

"Are you coming in?" Karen asked walking back and opening the door.

"I don't think that would be such a good idea," the Detective began, her body at once waging war with her thought processes, "How much alcohol have you had anyway?"

"A beer and two glasses of wine as well you know... and I'm inviting you in for coffee not rampant sex on the kitchen floor."

"So having put that image in my head, you now want me wired enough to stay up and enjoy it?" the Detective asked with a pained expression on her face as Karen laughed and walked inside, leaving the door open. Novak closed her eyes, turned and gently rested her head against the wall, enjoying its coolness while she contemplated what to do, sighing she walked inside and closed the door behind her, Marley, Marley, Marley she thought you are such a masochist!

Finding Karen in the kitchen actually making coffee she leaned against the counter and eyed the floor, "looks a little cold anyway," she remarked when Karen looked up and caught her.

The Marshal laughed again, "Go sit down," she said finishing up and Novak obediently did as she was told.

"So, you think Sareta will talk?"

"Honestly?" Sisco said setting a cup down in front of the Detective, "No... He knows he's a dead man now we've got him, the cartel will never believe he hasn't ratted, but he doesn't strike me as the sort to give it up," Karen replied, kneeling down, switching the CD player on and turning the volume down.

"So we got what we were after, but it's still pretty small fry in the scheme of things."

"Hey, you take what you can get right," Karen shrugged, "sometimes you catch a break, sometimes you get shot down in flames."

"Story of my life," Novak commented wryly.

They carried on talking about the case until Marley suddenly stood up and stretched, about to say it was time to leave she looked down and caught an expression she recognized in the Marshal's eyes, but never though would be aimed at her, lust. Momentarily stunned she held out a hand, "dance with me?"

Karen took the proffered hand and stood up, the look not leaving her eyes as she moved into the Detective's arms. Roughly 2 seconds later Novak decided dancing was a very bad idea, the sparks they were creating would have the neighbors dialing 911 any minute... if she didn't spontaneously combust first. Leaning back she sought out the brunette's face, the burning look had deepened and Karen licked her lips before leaning in and doing the same to the ones in front of her.

Somewhere in the middle of the kiss they stopped moving, it couldn't actually have been called dancing for some time, if ever, "Are you sure about this?" Novak asked hoarsely.

"Oh yeah," Karen replied plundering the Detective's mouth again.

Despite knowing that this was potentially the granddaddy of all bad ideas, the Detective finally gave up being chivalrous, "Then I need you naked, now," Marley growled when they next came up for air.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Karen teased pulling away, "naked people seem to end up dead around you."

"Only male perps, which saves on court time," Marley pointed out, "I figure I'm doing a public service."

"So is this a public service too?" Karen asked undoing the top buttons on her shirt very, very slowly.

"Well my boss did tell me to do everything I could, to keep the Marshals service happy...," her voice had roughened and Marley clenched her fists, Sisco's teasing was getting... "you don't actually need buttons on that shirt do you?" she inquired pulling the woman towards her, "ah ah," Karen said pulling away again, "patience is a virtue Detective."

"So are chastity and abstinence, afraid I don't score highly on any of them," Novak replied hooking a hand into Karen's belt and drawing her back in, "I hope you have a bed, because that floor really didn't look comfortable."

Sisco smiled and grabbing a hand, pulled the Detective into the bedroom, reaching the bed Novak quickly found herself lying on it, the Marshal straddling her thighs. Never figuring she'd ever get to this point, despite all the flirting she'd done, Marley was quite happy to let Karen take the lead and clamped down hard on her baser instincts, a feat easier said than done when there was still way too many buttons done up on that shirt. "Are you sure you don't want a hand there?" she asked.

"I've been undressing myself for years, thanks." Karen grinned.

"Well if it takes you this long, it's a wonder you get any sleep!" the Detective grumbled, the Marshal merely smirked and carried on with her task. Finally reaching the bottom she let the shirt hang loose, Marley, who despite her complaints had been incredibly turned on by it, lifted her hands and ran them up fabric covered thighs before hitting bare flesh. Cupping her hands around Karen's sides she let her thumbs run slowly up the Marshal's ribcage, noting the heat rising off her and the hissing intake of breath she received for her trouble. Thanking God for every sit-up she'd ever done, she raised her torso off the bed and continued her exploration upwards. Her eyes never leaving the brunette's as she traced patterns on skin. Skirting the fabric on the underside of Karen's breasts she saw the eyes in front of her flutter momentarily, before she continued her journey, lifting the material off the Marshal's shoulders and down her arms.

Concentrating on removing the shirt from the woman in front of her and then on tracing every inch of bare skin on that delectable torso, the Detective was surprised to find her arms effectively pinned by her own, now open, shirt as she was pushed back down to the bed. Clearly the Marshal had been a lot quicker with the buttons this time, she hadn't even noticed. Detecting a moment's hesitation in the body above her she looked up and noticed uncertainty in Sisco's eyes. Closing hers, she swallowed hard and took a deep breath, "Karen, we don't..." she began, before a finger covered her lips and unseen the Marshal smiled.

The finger that had silenced her began to trace the outline of her lips and darting out her tongue Marley captured it and drew it into her mouth, sucking deeply, smiling around it as her ears picked up a moan. Releasing the digit she dragged her tongue along it as it was slowly pulled away. Leaning forward and kissing her quickly Karen rolled away and stood up and Marley allowed the woman to help her to her feet. "Must remember that if I'm ever short of cuffs." Sisco grinned slightly freeing the Detective's arms and dropping the shirt to the floor.

Free again, Novak bent her head and sucked at the pulse point that had been driving her crazy earlier. The moan the move illicited made her very glad she hadn't tried it in the restaurant, not only would they have been arrested, Karen would most certainly have had offers of a new career from the kind of people she liked to see behind bars.

Managing to divest them both of the rest of their clothes in less time than it had taken her to undo her shirt, Novak sensed a new urgency in her companion, she smiled into the head that was bent to her breast and silently promised that in case it never happened again she was going to make sure they both remembered every second of this. Her eyes rolled back as teeth found nipple and waiting until she was sure there was no likelihood of permanent damage to either of them, she swept the Marshal's feet out from under her.

Slightly stunned at finding herself suddenly horizontal, Karen's eyes grew wide on finding the Detective hovering just above her, a feral look in her eye. Quelling the surge of hunger that had just pulsed through her veins, Marley leaned on one arm and swept eyes over the naked form below her. "God you're beautiful," she said and Karen didn't think she'd ever heard such raw emotion in a voice before. Grabbing the back of the Detective's head she pulled it to her, teeth clashing at the force of the move.



It was one of those things she'd never been able to work out, Marley thought on waking, hours later. What exactly was the protocol on leaving after sex? Because even if it was mind-blowing, I could stay here for ever and never leave kind of sex, you still had to get up and go home so that you could get changed and go to work. Lying there in the dark she could feel Karen's breath on her shoulder and the solid weight of an arm across her stomach and knew she'd be more than happy to stay. Then too, when you got right down to brass tacks, she had essentially just spent a large proportion of the night fucking a straight girl, something she'd vowed she'd never do again. The potential freak factor looming large in her thoughts she tried to move towards the edge of the bed. The arm resting on her stomach suddenly became the arm effectively keeping her where she was, "going somewhere?" a voice mumbled heavy with sleep.

Turning her head she saw deep brown eyes calmly regarding her. "I have to go home, get a shower, clean clothes..." the regret in her voice was obvious.

"Mmm" the Marshal stretched slightly and then leaned over and kissed the lips in front of her, "But you could shower here and turning up in that shirt with me, would keep Phil away from you," she smirked.

Marley groaned, "for future reference, I really don't need images of Phil Kavanagh in my head while I'm lying naked in your bed."

"There's going to be other occasions I need to reference that?" Karen asked.

Well there was nothing like getting to the point, "Umm... if you want…" Marley replied with a nonchalance she wasn't feeling.

"Well you weren't the only one told to improve interdepartmental relations," her laugh was smothered by Marley's mouth. Sitting up sometime later Karen looked at the clock before groaning, "want coffee before you go?"

Karen Sisco was definitely not a happy US Marshal. Having got into work to find all her paperwork for the drug bust missing, she was currently sitting in the boss's office and he was trying to give her a new assignment. ."..anyway, Miami-Dade have asked for our help, which means we help, your partner should be here soon," Amos finished.

"What about Sareta, he's still my collar and..."

"Sareta's with the DEA... don't look at me like that, it was orders way above my head."

Karen sighed knowing there was nothing she could do, "So what's the job?"

"Witness security."

"Care to go into more detail?"

Amos handed her a file and Sisco flipped open the cover, "You have got to be kidding me... a nun!"

"Can't you just see yourself in that outfit Marshal Sisco?" Detective Novak inquired from behind her, an amused smile gracing her lips, the look in her eye making it plain that she certainly could.

"Sister Teresa witnessed the murder of Tony Sampoll's wife, Father Harris and two innocent bystanders who were in the church at the time, now until today she's been safe in the Vatican, but the trial starts on Monday and she gets back to Miami tomorrow. You and Detective Novak will keep her alive to testify, I don't need to tell you that there are a lot of people that don't want to see that happen, not least Tony Sampoll," he glanced at the Detective, "she will be staying at the convent but this isn't some warped version of Sister Act, there won't be any need to dress the part, you will however be respectful."

"It's a pity about that uniform... but you still look good enough to eat," Novak said under her breath while they were waiting for the elevator.

Karen raised a brow, a smile hovering around the corners of her mouth, "well you should know," she replied.

Oh yeah, Marley thought grinning from ear to ear, she was going to enjoy this!

Karen saw the look on her face, "poverty, chastity, and obedience, just remember that Detective," she said stepping inside as the doors opened.

Pulling up outside the convent Karen watched as Marley got out and surveyed the scene. "Nuns?" the Marshal asked reaching her side.

Marley laughed, "One of my most enduring fantasies... comes from watching too many re-runs of the Sound of Music," Karen looked at her like she needed therapy. "What? You never had a fantasy?"

"Of course I have."

"Well?" the Detective asked, turning to look at her face.

"A well-muscled firefighter...," Karen teased.

"Ouch... I asked for that!" Novak replied as she walked towards the door.

"Although most recently I've been leaning towards a gorgeous cop and a couple of pairs of cuffs" the Marshal continued by her side.

"Now that's a good reason to pick up my dress uniform from the dry-cleaners" Marley replied, "look at this place, talk about open house!"

Reaching the open door Karen pressed the buzzer and they waited in silence for someone to come.

Having been shown into the Mother Superior's study, they watched as a woman in her late 50's rose to greet them. "I'm Mother Cecile" she said holding out her hand, "this is to do with Sister Teresa's return?"

"Yes Mother" Karen began, "I'm US Marshal Sisco, this is Detective Novak of the Miami-Dade Police Department, we've been assigned to protect the Sister until she goes back to Rome after the trial."

The Mother Superior nodded, "Please, sit down... can I get you anything to drink?"

"We're fine, thank you" Marley replied after a brief glance at the Marshal.

"That will be all then, thank you Sister," Mother Cecile dismissed the nun who had shown them in and then patiently waited by the door. "How much danger do you believe Sister Teresa to be in?" the woman asked after the door had closed.

"Well, Tony Sampoll is a very high profile crime figure in this city, the police department have been after him for years" Novak stated, "Given that he's now on trial for a capital crime, I really wouldn't like to under-estimate the risk."

"Both the Detective and I are concerned that the convent will be difficult to secure, should any attempts be made on the Sister's life. She really would be better in a safe house" Karen added.

"Sister Teresa has requested that she stay here among people she knows, given that this is an extremely stressful time for her anyway, I feel I must grant that request Marshal."

"Even if it means endangering the other Sisters?"

"Even then."

Novak sighed, "We'd like to look around if we may, and we need to see the Sister's room."

"Certainly, I've also made provision for the cell next to Sister Teresa's to be made available to you, should you need it."

"So what's with calling it a cell?" Marley asked later when they were catching a break in a coffee shop.

Karen shrugged, "something that small couldn't be called anything else, unless you want to tell your boss you're sleeping in a closet?"

The Detective choked slightly on her coffee, "No point, I've been out for years." Karen said nothing so Marley continued, "So, did Phil say anything this morning?"

The Marshal grinned, "nope, but he keeps giving me these little sideways looks, you know the type that are supposed to be surreptitious. He's not sure if I was doing it just to get a rise out of him." Novak groaned at the choice of words and then laughed at the look of distaste that appeared on Karen's face as she realized what she'd said. Getting up they headed back to the car, "if you drop me at my apartment I'll find the cot while you go arrange uniforms to try and secure the convent."



Waking to find herself in her own bed, Marley quickly picked up on the steady breathing next to her and smiled, looking across she saw what she could only describe as the most beautiful sight in the world, a naked Karen Sisco, sheet pooled around her hips, a serene expression on her face.

Sliding towards her, the Detective continued to watch the Marshal's face as she put out a hand and traced a finger lightly down one side of the sleeping woman. Seeing her twitch she grinned and carried on, making sure the brunette was almost awake before burying her head in Karen's neck, wanting to hear her moan.

"We should get up" Sisco mumbled when her breathing was back to normal.

"We don't have to be at the airport until 11.00 and we arranged everything else yesterday" Marley pouted.

The Marshal smiled, "then I should go into the office...," Novak groaned in frustration, sank back down onto the bed and put a pillow over her head. Karen laughed before pulling up one corner and peeking underneath, "want to join me in the shower?"

Arriving at the airport on time, they showed their badges and asked where they might find Paul Fielding, the head of airport security. Being directed to an office well away from public view they knocked on the door. Making the arrangements to escort Sister Teresa off the plane and out of the airport proved to be surprisingly easy, the nun was being guarded by an armed Air Marshal during the flight and Fielding gave instructions to relay to the plane regarding her safety when it landed.

Having been ushered out of the plane and down a security corridor, Sister Teresa found herself in a loading bay, and saw two women talking quietly next to a car.

"Sister Teresa" Marley said, spotting her first, "welcome back to Miami!"

"Thank you....?"

"Marley Novak, I'm a Detective with Miami-Dade, this is Marshal Sisco."

"Sister" Karen smiled, opening the rear door on the car. "You've no need to worry while you're in here, bullet-proof glass, the city actually bought it when the Pope visited."

"I remember it, His Holiness celebrated Mass in the cathedral, his address was most uplifting."

"Well we're going to take you back to the Convent, then at lease one of us will be with you until you go back to the Vatican Sister, so if you have any questions or need to go anywhere, just ask."

"Thank you Detective, though you make it sound like I'm under house arrest."

"Not at all Sister, it's for your protection and the protection of those around you. You'll find that there are several officers outside the Convent, but they're to prevent people coming in rather than you going out."

"But the Convent is a House of God and open to all in need."

"We won't interfere with the running of the Convent Sister, but those in need don't generally wish to harm others and there are those who wish to harm you."

Marley wasn't sure whether or not her words had sunk in but Sister Teresa sat back and stared out of the window for the remainder of the trip.

When they arrived, the Sister said nothing about the officers on the door but made her way down the hall to the Kitchen, startled to find it almost empty with only four women come to eat and Sisters Birgit and Agatha in attendance.

"Must the police officers be here? They're frightening people away, I've never seen the Convent this empty for the midday meal."

"Sister, you're staying here against our advice, the officers are outside to protect you."

"But is all this really necessary?"

"With all due respect Sister, despite seeing Tony Sampoll in action you don't seem to understand the danger you're in and it's kind of hard to protect you if you won't co-operate."

"I have faith in the Lord, Detective" Sister Teresa said smiling at her.

"It's good that you have faith Sister" Mother Superior said from behind her, "but don't forget about the drowning man and the helicopter. God after all, moves in mysterious ways."

"The drowning man and the helicopter?" Marley asked puzzled before Karen managed to stop her.

Sister Agatha cackled from across the room and put down her glass, she was never tired of telling of the stupidity of man, especially to a new audience. "The story concerns a very religious man, who lived in a little village. There was a warning that the rains were going to cause a flood and everyone had to leave, but the man, who was very obstinate, said 'I'm not moving, I have faith in the Lord, the Lord will save me'. Well, the rains came and the valley was flooded, somebody came up with a rowing boat and shouted 'Get in the boat, the place is about to be flooded'. The man said 'I have faith in the Lord, the Lord will save me'. The rain continued to fall and they sent a second boat. Again the man said 'I have faith in the Lord, the Lord will save me'. The rain fell and the water rose, by this time the man was standing on the roof. They finally sent a helicopter, dropped a ladder and shouted 'Stop being a lunatic, climb on to the ladder or you're going to drown'. The man said 'I'm not moving, I have faith in the Lord, the Lord will save me'. Well the rain kept falling and the waters kept rising, the man had no choice but to swim. He swam – he sank – he drowned. Finally, as he arrived in heaven, he demanded a personal audience with the Almighty. When he was admitted to the divine presence, he said 'God, please, I had faith in you, why didn't you save me?' and God said 'I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more do you want?'"

"Not perhaps as funny as Sister Agatha likes to think" Mother Superior smiled, "but as a parable in modern life, I think it serves its purpose."

"You're right Mother," Sister Teresa said quietly, "I'm sorry Detective, I'll co-operate in anyway you see fit."

"We don't wish to restrict you unnecessarily Sister," Marley told the nun, "but you're protection is our primary concern."

"And now might be a good time to tell you about the sleeping arrangements" Karen said as they headed back into the corridor, "We've managed to squeeze a cot into your cell, so one of us will be sleeping there and the other will be next door."

Sister Teresa opened her mouth to protest, then sighed and shut it again. "Even I think you're going a bit far there" Mother Cecile said, "how is anyone going to get into her cell?"

"I don't know" Marley replied, "but the fact remains that they might and the perfect time to try something is when everyone is supposed to be asleep. I'm sorry to be blunt but there is a very narrow window of opportunity here, the trial starts in four days and Sister Teresa is the first prosecution witness, if anything is going to be tried it will be before then."

"I'm sorry Sister, but our job is to protect you" Karen butted in, "We will be as accommodating as we can, but if necessary we will move you to a safe house."

Sister Teresa nodded, "I don't think I snore, if either of you discover otherwise, I apologize."

"You had to ask, didn't you!" Karen said in a low voice some hours later as they checked in with the the uniformed officers at the door and in the grounds while the nuns were watching Jeopardy, "You should never seem as if you don't know what they're talking about, because they'll explain... at great length!"

Marley, who'd been fascinated by Sister Agatha's use of her cane to emphasize parts of the story said, "Hey, I enjoyed it... you think they're ever going to make a parable out of a Jewish lesbian protecting a Catholic nun?"

Karen snorted, "I would think you want either of those facts getting out around here about as much as I want it known I've broken 'thou shalt not kill'... twice."

"Ah, you're safe" Marley reassured her. The Marshal looked puzzled. "The original Hebrew is 'lo tirtzach' which actually translates as 'thou shalt do no murder', so you're covered."

"You're a mine of information" Karen commented.

The Detective laughed, "You're the boss around here, I probably know as much about Catholics as you do about Jews... Come on I'll flip you for the cot, then I want to go and see who's won Jeopardy... my money's on Sister Agatha."



Waking up the following morning Marley decided two things almost instantaneously, the experience was not as pleasurable as it had been the last two days and this particular cot was the most uncomfortable thing she'd ever slept on. Shifting slightly she noticed that the Sister was still asleep and stared up at the ceiling, thinking of the woman asleep in the next room.

"Sir?... Excuse me, Sir?" the stewardess smiled as the distinguished looking businessman opened his eyes. "We'll be landing in about 10 minutes" she said, the smile lessening slightly as he rubbed his face and she caught sight of the wedding band.

"Thank you" he replied sitting upright and refastening his seatbelt before straightening his tie and pulling out the book he'd been reading earlier.

Entering the terminal he made directly for the exit and patiently waited in line still engrossed in the paperback, a holdall his only luggage. Finally getting a cab he directed the driver downtown and then asked him to pull up outside a bar, went in and ordered a lite beer.

Strolling into the men's room after the lunch crowd had gone he was pleased to find it empty and quickly removing his mustache, put his head under a Faucet and ran his fingers through his hair, washing out any trace of the hair white he had put on earlier that morning. Raising his head, he grinned at his reflection before locking himself in a stall. Opening the holdall, he removed a check shirt, a paint spattered pair of jeans, a pair of work boots, a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses.

"I'll be there" Sisco said into her cell, not looking happy. Sister Teresa had been suffering from jet lag for the last 24 hours and had spent most of the morning dozing on a couch with one of the other Sisters in attendance. Karen and Marley had therefore had a lazy few hours and had even managed to spend a little quality time together as the rest of the Sisters went about the day to day business of the Convent. This however was about to end, "I got to go, there's a Special Agent from the DEA wanting to talk to me about Sareta."

"One of us should see how Sister Teresa is anyway, Sister Agatha isn't exactly bodyguard material," Marley sighed getting to her feet then pulling the Marshal to hers.

"That cane looked pretty lethal to me, it was nice of her to give us a break."

"You can explain that to the powers that be if anything happens then," she said as they walked to the sitting room.

"Ah, there you are! Either of you play cards?"

Karen grinned, "I'm afraid I'm not stopping Sister Agatha, but I'm sure Detective Novak would love to."

"Can I help you?" a voice called through the open door as a frazzled looking woman picked a screaming toddler off the floor.

"You still got a car for sale?" the man asked, grinning a little and waving at the boy who was now regarding him curiously, "it was in the paper."

The woman smiled, "sure" she said pointing to an old 4 door Honda, hoping he hadn't noticed the slight bump on the fender.

"Missus, is always on at me" he said, "and I had a bit of a bonus, so I thought why not?"

"I'm sure she'll love it!" the woman replied, thinking his wife was a lucky woman, "it's old, but it's never let me down."

"Cash ok?" he smiled.

Her eyes lit up, "I'll just get the papers and keys" she said, retreating into the house.

Parking a battered dark blue Honda Civic in the Motel parking lot, the man got out and picked a black holdall and a paper bag off the back seat. Pulling out a lightweight jacket he put it on over his sweater before walking over to the reception. Signing himself in as Mike Johnson, he took his key and walked to the room. Locking the door behind him, he opened the holdall and finding the door stop alarm, he pushed it into position.

Looked at his watch he saw that it was 4pm and removing a beer from the paper bag, he opened it and took a long swig before retrieving a file from the bottom of the holdall, kicking off his shoes and lying back against the headboard. He examined the photos again while he finished the beer, then closed his eyes and dozed for a moment. The now empty bottle fell to the floor and he opened them. Sighing he glanced at the last photo he had been looking at again, Karen's looking good, he thought getting up and walking into the bathroom.

It had been a long afternoon, Sisco wasn't entirely sure of the qualifications necessary to join the DEA, but clearly it stated somewhere that you had to be a male chauvinist with a grating voice. The fact that this particular one also had a body odor problem meant that spending time with him in a confined space had been a lot less than pleasant and the combination meant she was currently searching her desk drawer for some Tylanol.

"Hey Karen, look who's here!" Phil grinned as he noticed the visitor peering about him.

Sisco looked up from her desk, "Tuck.... Hi?" she hadn't seen him since they'd finally decided to call it a day, "Er, I was just leaving, afraid I'm on assignment."

"I'll walk out with you."

Having given up on the painkillers Karen grabbed her jacket and ignoring the smirk on Kavanagh's face, left the office. Reaching the exit to the building Tuck turned, "have dinner with me?" he said, reaching for Karen's hand.

"I can't, I told you I'm on assignment."

"Please Karen!"

The Marshal turned, this wasn't the Tuck she knew and got horny about, something was wrong, "Erm... I just need to make a call" Karen replied. Hitting speed dial she waited for an answer,"Hey, it's Karen" she began, "Listen, is it ok if I skip out on you for a few more hours? ... no that's fine, it's just a ... " she hesitated, not knowing what to call him, "friend's in town and I haven't seen him in a while... you're sure?... great... yeah, I'll see you later."

"Congratulations Marley... you should stick to bar pick ups!" Novak said to the empty room, putting her cell in her pocket before she gave into the temptation to bounce it off a wall.

"Problem, Detective?" a voice asked from behind her.

Marley turned, "Umm, no... sorry Sister, is there something I can do for you?"

"An elderly parishioner has asked to see me, she's been ill for sometime, and I'm led to believe this will be my last chance..."

"Right... give me a couple of minutes?" Sister Teresa smiled.

A few minutes later Marley was asking for directions as the nun recounted the life history of the woman she was about to see. Neither noticed a dark blue Honda following at a discreet distance.

Reaching the house, Novak drew her weapon and told the Sister to stay where she was, getting out she walked around the car, carefully looking in every direction before going up to the house and ringing the bell. When it was opened she spoke briefly to the man standing there before hurrying back to the car, opening the car door they quickly hurried up to the house, the Detective protecting Sister Teresa from behind. Getting inside and discretely ascertaining that there was no immediate threat the Detective holstered her gun and followed the Sister upstairs.

Leaving the building an emotional two hours later, Marley heard a car speed up the second before she saw it, the Detective turned and pushed Sister Teresa to the ground. Shielding her with her body, she groaned as she felt a burning sensation in her left arm, followed by a deep thudding pain in her back, the sound of gunfire deafening. A squeal of tires and then deathly silence followed, collecting her wits Marley got up slowly, retrieving her weapon from where it had fallen when she'd pushed the nun down. She looked about her before asking the Sister if she was alright. Though pale, shaken and a little bruised, there appeared to be no other damage and having seen nothing anyway Novak called it in and took off, getting her charge safely back to the convent her primary concern.

The Honda Civic pulled out into the traffic a little distance behind them. Clearly Sampoll was also hiring idiots to ensure the court found him innocent. The driver pursed his lips, the man was stupid, still, he had a debt to pay, the fact that his job had just been made harder was merely inconvenient.

Reaching the convent, Marley quickly got the sister safely inside, handing the pale looking nun over to the Mother Superior. Heading to the kitchen to get a glass of water the Detective wished there was something stronger, finding Sister Agatha in the process of stirring a pan she tried to leave silently, it didn't work.

"My knees may be crock Detective, but my hearing functions just fine" the nun said without looking up.

"Sorry Sister" Novak replied, "I just came to get a glass of water."

"Well I've made too much of this... you like cocoa?"

"Honestly?... I prefer bourbon, but I'll settle for cocoa."

The old lady laughed and poured two cups, "I prefer neat chocolate, but my blood sugar doesn't," turning she put them on the table. Looking at the Detective for the first time she noticed that she didn't appear her usual self. Quickly finding the rent in the arm of the woman's jacket she gave a sharp intake of breath, "what happened?"

Marley shrugged and immediately regretted it, "Sister Teresa's fine" she replied.

"That's not what I asked" the nun pointed out, "here" she said pulling out a stool, "sit down and I'll help you out of that jacket."

"It's nothing really..." Marley started, then sat down as she noticed she was getting the fisheye.

Coming around behind her, Sister Agatha saw more holes in the back of the jacket, and wondered how Marley was still alive. "You got steel under there" she asked, drawing the jacket down one arm.

"Nope" Novak replied, "but I do have Kevlar... and right at the moment, you have no idea how grateful I am for that fact."

Carefully taking off the jacket and dumping it on the table, Sister Agatha started on the buttons on Marley's shirt. "It's just a scratch" Novak said.

"I can't clean it properly, if I can't see it Detective" the nun replied, and carried on with what she was doing.

Novak grinned, "True... and you can call me Marley sister, you are undressing me after all, besides I don't feel much like a Detective at the moment."

Putting the shirt with the jacket, Sister Agatha bent down and looked at the wound. "You're right, it's just a scratch" she said looking at the deep gash just above the elbow, "and my friends call me Aggie, even Mother Superior when you two aren't around." Marley smiled and then winced as her wound was cleaned and dressed from a well stocked first aid kit located in one of the cupboards. Examining the Kevlar and reassuring herself that the Detective would have nothing more than a very nasty bruise, Sister Agatha produced some painkillers and settled down to her now lukewarm cocoa. "So, you're an intelligent woman, why did you get guard duty?" she asked.

Marley smiled, "would you believe I volunteered."

"And Marshal Sisco?"

"She kind of got landed with it" Novak admitted, "only female Marshal in Miami."

"And if it's not confidential, what's the Marshal doing while you're out getting shot?" the disapproval evident in her voice.

Good question Marley thought as a voice from behind her said, "The Marshal is wondering why the Detective didn't bother telling her she was going on an outing and ask for backup." Spinning on the stool in a precarious manner Novak watched as an evidently furious woman came fully into the room.

Sister Agatha got up and patted the back of Marley's hand, "well, that's me off to compline... I'll re-dress that in the morning, enjoy your cocoa," she said before beating a surprisingly hasty retreat.

"Well?" Karen said when the nun had left.

"You were busy, I didn't want to disturb you," Marley replied, "besides I didn't know about it until after you'd called."

"So you couldn't call me back?"

"Like I said, you were busy."

"Don't give me that shit Detective! I can have dinner with Tuck anytime."

"As I recall, you said, 'a friend's in town'" Marley replied heavily emphasizing the word friend, "'I haven't seen him in a while'. That doesn't sound like, 'I can have dinner with Tuck anytime'."

"So you didn't call out of concern for my social life?" Karen asked sarcastically. Marley didn't answer, "Next time Detective, you will call for backup or I'll have you pulled from this assignment."

"It's a police assignment Marshal, you want to leave you go right ahead," Marley said picking up her shirt and jacket and leaving the room.

Karen closed her eyes, what the hell just happened? She'd broken all speed limits to get here after Amos had called demanding to know where she was. Hearing that Marley had been shot had scared her badly, she didn't know what she would do if anything happened to the woman... opening her eyes, she clenched her jaw, turned and left the room, making her way to where she hoped she'd find the injured Detective.

Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door. Receiving no answer she pushed it slowly open to find Marley trying to put on a tank top, the task hampered by a bruise that looked like it was going to cover most of the Detective's back, as well as the evident pain in her left arm. "How about a peace offering" the Marshal said, carefully shutting the door behind her and rummaging in her bag. Novak turned and found a bottle of bourbon being held out to her, "figured you could use it."

"You know that's against convent rules?"

"Yeah, but given the circumstances I don't think they'll mind" the Marshal replied, putting the bottle down on a chair as the Detective had made no move to take it.

"It's also against departmental rules."

"Since when did you care about them? Besides you're not on duty, get some sleep, I'll stay with Sister Teresa," Karen walked back towards the door before sighing and turning around, "You want a hand?"

"Thanks, I can manage."

"Looks like it." Karen walked over to the Detective and took the top off of her, "hold your arms out," Marley sighed and did as she was asked. Getting the top in place Karen left her hands on the woman's waist and looked at her face, "You scared the hell out of me tonight..." she said, "and I'm sorry I went off at the deep end."

"Yeah, well... I'm sorry too, I shouldn't have gone without backup."

"No you shouldn't... and I should have been here... why didn't you call?"

Marley sighed, "Sister Teresa asked just after you'd called, I was pissed, I figured it had to be someone special if you'd blow off the assignment to go out to dinner, I guess I wasn't thinking and..."

The rest of the sentence was abruptly cut off by Karen's lips. "Tuck and I had a thing going, but it was over a long time ago. He just needed someone to talk to. Him turning up at work threw me and to my knowledge you were staying put," the Marshal said a few minutes later. "Look, I don't know where this is going anymore than you do, but I want to find out... you really don't know what you do to me, do you?" she continued huskily before kissing her again.

Lifting her right arm slightly, Marley straightened her hand so that Karen could see it trembling "it's mutual..." she whispered.



Abruptly woken by her cell phone again after what felt like a very long night, Karen sat up and discovered that Sister Teresa's bed was not only empty but made. Answering, she found her boss on the other end of the line, "I need you both in the office now," he said, "Novak's lot are sending over a couple of female uniforms to guard Sister Teresa until you get back."

Walking next door and finding Marley gone as well, she washed quickly and pulled on some clean clothes, before heading for the kitchen. "Marshal, you missed morning prayer," Sister Agatha said on spotting the brunette, covering the smile that hovered about her lips as she tended the Detective's arm.

"Erm, sorry Sister" the Marshal replied, hearing Marley snort and then unsuccessfully try to hide it in a cough. "Amos wants to see us" she said poring herself some coffee. She turned to Sister Teresa, "there are a couple of female police officers coming over. You don't have anywhere you need to be this morning do you sister?"

"No Marshal, I'll stay here" she looked over at the Detective, a guilty expression on her face.

"How you feeling?" Karen asked watching Sister Agatha help her back into her shirt.

Marley smiled at Sister Teresa, "I'm fine, I had a soft landing... how's your ribs Sister?"

"A little sore" the nun admitted, "but I'll be fine... thank you Detective" she continued, grateful for more than the inquiry.

The officers arrived shortly afterwards, Karen instructing them that given previous events they were not to let Sister Teresa out of their sight, nor let anyone near her except the nuns, Detective Novak and her. The officers nodded and followed the Sister towards the chapel.

"You ready to go?" Karen asked, the Detective sighed, rolled her shoulders painfully and got up.

"You like Apple Pie, Marley?" Sister Agatha inquired as they were leaving.

"Love it!" the Detective replied.

"I was thinking of making one... just make sure you come back well enough to enjoy it."

The Detective grinned, "Sure Aggie, I have no plans to get shot at today."

"Aggie?" Karen asked as they left the convent, Marley just smiled.

"You for rent?"

The boat's skipper looked up and regarded the man standing there, "you don't look like much of a fisherman."

"Well there's always a first time... my friend Marv said there's good fishing around here, and that you'd know all the best places."

"That right? Well I'm sorry, I'm not going out today... say you seein' Marv again any time soon?"

"Could be."

"He left some stuff here and it's takin' up room I don't have, you want to give it to him?"

The man smiled, "I can do that." The skipper ducked into the cabin and returned with a bag. "What's in it?"

The man shrugged, "I don't go stickin' my nose in other people's business" he replied.

"So you want to tell me what happened yesterday?" Amos asked shutting the door to his office.

"My fault" Novak answered knowing that he couldn't do anything to her, "Sister Teresa needed to be somewhere while Marshal Sisco was out talking to a snitch, I should have called her for back up, I didn't."

"That right?" he asked Karen, who looked at the Detective and then nodded.

"Well that's not why I called you in anyway" he sighed turning on a TV, "surveillance tape from the airport."

"Recognize anyone" he asked after they'd watched it.

"No" Karen frowned.

Her boss smiled, "Did you know they're testing out facial recognition technology there?"

The Marshal shrugged, "should I have?"

"Well I didn't until three hours ago, apparently it's all very hush hush, NIST don't want anyone complaining about their civil liberties being violated." The women said nothing. "Anyway, this guy here" he said tapping the screen, "had his nose in a book from the moment he got off a plane from Toronto... but he did look up once when showing his passport."

Amos handed her a photo and Karen stared at it for sometime frowning, suddenly her eyes went wide, "Konner?"

Her boss nodded, "his warrant came up and they called me," he passed Detective Novak a copy of the warrant, "they said the technology wasn't foolproof yet, but it's him alright... I checked out at Everglades, Jamaal and Fuzz met with a fatal accident a month ago."

"They're sure it was an accident?"

"According to the prison guard and another inmate who were there at the time."

"So what's he...."

"The inmate was Gustavo Amato, a known associate of Tony Sampoll."

"He wouldn't...." she started, "he was very big on the us and them thing."

"Yeah well I'm not saying that's why he's here, but Karen" Amos said turning off the tape and regarding her seriously, "just remember... he's them now." Going to the other side of his desk he picked up a file and gave it to the Detective, "this is all we have on him, he was one of the best Marshals around. Karen... you've worked with him... I'm sure I don't need to tell you to be careful."

The Marshal sighed and got up, "Come on," she said to Marley, "I'll fill you in on the way back."

"Hey Karen... how's Tuck? I see he sent you flowers" Phil said, appearing by her side as they left the office, "Marley" he nodded.

The Detective smiled, mentally calculating how hard she'd have to hit him to break his nose. She would not have been surprised to learn that the exact same thought was currently going through Sisco's head, "He's fine, thanks Phil" she replied, looking at the roses on her desk.

"So... you two back together?"

"And that would be your business, how?" the Marshal asked, turning to look at him.

"Well, it has been noted that his aim is a little off when he's... seeing you... and with the game tomorrow..."

"Don't worry Phil, if that's the only cause then his aim will be just fine" She turned to Marley, "You think sister Agatha will go easy on me if I give her flowers?" the Detective laughed as the Marshal picked them off her desk.

Reaching his motel room, Konner replaced the door stop and undid the bag, pulling out a pair of latex gloves and putting them on before checking that everything he'd requested was inside. Taking out a rifle stock he put it to one side, already disregarding it as he had been able to find no clear vantage point, likewise the scope. Next he removed a small semi-automatic pistol and silencer and put them on the bed, followed by a knife and a small round file. Retrieving another small bag he took out a glasses case and a bottle of hair white, putting the glasses on he regarded his reflection and decided they didn't suit him. Finally he took out a hanger before removing a shirt, a pair of pants and a jacket, feeling in the jacket pockets he found the clerical collar and then replaced it so that it didn't get lost. Pulling out a hat he put it on the table. Taking hold of the knife, he picked up the last item in the bag, sat on the bed and got to work.

"So you think it was Konner the other night?" Marley asked when Karen had finished telling her all she knew.

"No, he's more careful than that, he'd have made sure you were dead for a start" she said, wincing at the thought. "No I think that was just some of Sampoll's men trying to get in good with the boss."

"Great, nice to know it was only the thugs that managed to shoot me... so, assuming Sister Teresa is the reason he's here, what's he likely to do?"

"That's the problem with Konner, even though I thought I did, I never really knew him, he was almost always one step ahead."

"You sound like you admire him."

"He was a damned good Marshal, he just had this... obsession."

"But if Tony Sampoll arranged for the death of those guys at Everglades and called in a favor, would he go after Sister Teresa?"

Karen rubbed a hand across her face, "I don't know, I just don't know... but we've got to assume he is until we prove otherwise, which means we have to find him. Danny's checking motel's and Phil's hitting the rental places, by now he must have wheels from somewhere."

"Then I'll get my guys to check out dealers, he didn't get off a plane with a gun, is it likely he went to a shop?"

"If he's working for Sampoll, he wouldn't need to. If he isn't, he still knows every dealer in town."

"We should talk to Queen Mary as well, that woman hears about everything first."

Arriving at St. Mary's just after 4.30pm, the man entered careful to dip his fingers in the holy water and make the sign of the cross. Reaching a pew he genuflected before entering and sat with his eyes half closed, watching the comings and goings. Just after 5 o'clock, noticing that he was the last, he entered the confessional clasping his bible, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned..."

"I've got to go into the office, see what Danny and Phil have found" Karen stated after dinner when they'd caught a moment alone in the corridor. Refraining from pointing out that she could just as easily call, Marley merely nodded. The hours of enforced close proximity were starting to get to them both and neither could wait for the end of the assignment when things would hopefully be a little less strained.

"If Sister Teresa suddenly gets it into her head to go out, be sure I'll call you first."

"Do that" Karen nodded before squeezing her arm and heading out.

"Come on Konner, I know you're there" she mumbled to herself as she glanced again in the rear view mirror. She knew this was a long shot, after all, he should be watching the Sister, not her; but Danny and Phil had come up with zip and she could feel him. Cruising the streets of Miami in hope of a break, was doing her more good than sitting in close proximity to a detective who she felt alternatively guilty and lustful about. Had she not been with Tuck, Marley might not have been hurt. She knew this was illogical, had they both been there, they would both have been targets, but she had no idea where any of this was taking her and for a normally self-assured Karen Sisco, it was not a pleasant feeling. Having called Danny and given him her theory she dialed another number, "Daddy, I need a favor..."

Sitting out on the terrace she twirled her glass and stared into the distance, the random thoughts in her mind had nothing to do with the case, well, she supposed they did as Marley was working it with her but... Karen had known, right from being a little girl how her life was going to be. She was going to follow in her daddy's footsteps, then one day she was going to settle down with the right man and never have kids of her own, ok, that last bit might have altered slightly since she'd spent time with Josie but... Groaning she rested her head on the table, what was she going to do if the right man turned out to be a woman?... and a woman who had told her she wanted kids at that... no she was getting way in advance of herself, this was just a bit of fun for both of them, it was just sheer bad luck that this assignment had forced them together like this, she was thinking about it more than she should... she remembered Amos telling her that Marley had been shot... no, what ever else the Detective could be described as, it was not a bit of fun. A hand on her shoulder pulled her out of her reverie as her father smiled and sat down, handing her a piece of paper as he did so.

Entertaining her with stories of his day he noticed the dark shadows under her eyes and wished she'd take better care of herself. He hadn't thought she'd been that close to Konner but something was definitely bothering her. "How's the case?" he asked.

"Fine..." she played idly with the piece of paper, "I just wish I knew what Konner was up to."

"Well call me if you need anything else."

Karen nodded and finished her drink, the half hour or so she'd spent with Marshall had been a pleasant return to normality and if he'd sensed her reticence to talk about her current assignment, she hoped he thought it was because of the problem of Konner.

Picking up her cell she called Phil and told him to run the plate number she read him from the paper, before heading back to the convent, glancing every so often in her rear view mirror and hoping Danny was waiting. Marley and Sister Teresa were in the kitchen, Aggie entertaining the Detective with yet another parable, this time about the lottery. "Apple Pie Marshal?" she asked as the woman slumped down into a seat and ran her fingers through her hair.

She watched as Marley put another spoonful into her mouth with evident enjoyment, "thank you Sister, I'd love some," she replied.

Her cell rang an hour later and she walked outside to answer it, Marley followed her and leaned against the wall, "yeah...ok...thanks." "Dammit!" she said putting it away.


"Phil and Danny couldn't find anything, so on a hunch I called my father and asked him to meet me, told Danny to wait outside here and trail Konner when he followed me back..."


She fished out the piece of paper, "Phil's running it... Danny followed him to a bar, then lost him."



Making his way up the steps of the church, the priest noticed an officer with a hand-held metal detector standing at each entrance, he smiled, the city wasn't taking any chances, but then they'd been after Sampoll for a long time and two hits in the same church would be very bad for their reputation. He kept himself amused listening to the comments of the people in front of him, at least they were arriving early, it would be chaos just before the Mass started. "Morning Officer," he said when he reached the front.

"Father..." the man replied, "you should have come straight up here."

"No sense in angering people just before the service," he replied as he held out his arms, "I'm glad it's not raining though. Do we have someone important with us this morning, then?"

"I'm not supposed to say Father..." the officer replied.

"Then don't worry..." he said patting the man's arm, "I'm sure I'll find out about it soon enough!"

Entering the church he made his way over to the confessional and quickly making sure that he wasn't being observed, entered the booth, pulled on a pair of surgical gloves and took the bible from its hiding place. Opening it he removed the pistol and silencer from two of the holes he'd carved and fit them together.

Karen had a sense of foreboding, but trying to stop Sister Teresa from going to church was about as pointless as trying to stop the tide from coming in. Instead they had had officers with metal detectors on all the doors since they'd been unlocked and the Sister was wearing kevlar under her habit. The marshal was not known for praying to higher powers for a good resolution to a case, but if she was going to start, this seemed like a good place to do so.

Sitting the other side of Sister Teresa, even attempting to stand, sit and kneel in the correct places, was proving difficult for the Detective; while Karen, seemed to know instinctively, Marley had no idea what was going on, of course it didn't help, she thought, that no-one had told her the service was in Latin.

The day before Konner had chambered a round and discarded the magazine knowing he'd only get one chance, now he patiently waited until he finally got a clean sighting on Sister Teresa. He fired, just as Aggie swayed forward, a little unsteady on her legs as she adjusted her cane in preparation for making the sign of the cross, quickly he removed the silencer, "Dòminus vobìscum" echoed around the building, he pocketed it before taking the file out of the bible and ramming it down the barrel a few times.

"Et cum spiritu tuo" the congregation replied. Retrieving the shell casing, he pocketed it along with the file, before tucking the pistol back under the seat then removing his gloves and waiting for all hell to break loose.

"Sequentia sancti Evangèlii secundum Matheum..." a scream rang out as the nun slumped back into the pew.

Konner moved the curtain aside and walked with a slight stoop down the aisle, bible in hand. Marley quickly pushed passed Mother Cecile, "She's still got a pulse, SOMEONE DIAL 911!... AND GET SISTER TERESA OUT OF HERE." Ignoring protocol Novak picked Aggie up and laid her back down in the aisle before covering the wound with her hands and pushing down, trying to stop the bleeding.

"Get an ambulance quickly!" the priest said to the officer on the door.

"Yes Father," the young man replied getting on his radio as the priest left the building.

Karen, her weapon already drawn, calculated the angle of the shot as Danny and two uniformed officers hustled the Sister away. The Marshal made her way through the throng of people now desperately trying to leave the church. Reaching the confessional she ripped the curtain aside, her finger itchy on the trigger, only to find it empty. Quickly making the rest of the area secure she sighed and made her way back over to the injured nun, leaving the uniformed officers to check those leaving the building.

"Marley?" the old nun said weakly, looking at the Detective hovering above her,

"You'll be fine Aggie" Marley replied smiling as broadly as she could, "it's just a scratch."

Taking a lunchtime stroll having put the morning's events behind him, Konner, coffee in hand, walked in the direction of the the courthouse, sitting on the steps he took out a book and read for a while, being Sunday it was unusually quiet and he had plenty of time to survey the area. Reaching a decision he got up and walked back towards his car. He reached the motel quickly, changing back into the work clothes he had used before, picked up the rifle and scope and headed out to a public firing range.

"Marshal, over here" a scene of crimes officer called, bringing her back to the booth she'd checked earlier, carefully the man lifted the weapon up.

"Take it to ballistics" she said, "that takes priority over everything, any casings?" The officer shook his head and deciding there was nothing further she could do there, she headed back to the convent and Marley.

The Detective, having gone to the hospital, had not been back long herself and knowing that Sister Teresa was being guarded by the two officers who had done so the day before, sat on the bed and tried to focus. Aggie had been taken into surgery, despite Marley's efforts she had lost a lot of blood and the bullet was lodged close to the Axillary artery, she was getting on in years and the surgeon had not sounded as confident of success as the Detective would have liked.

Karen, observing her from the doorway, watched a tear trail down to her cheek before walking over and brushing it aside with her thumb. "We found a weapon, it's been taken to the lab." Sitting on the bed she scooted backwards, resting against the wall before reaching out and dragging Marley against her careful of her back, she wrapped an arm securely around her waist and kissed the side of her neck. "There's an APB out on the Honda... course he's probably ditched it by now... you going to be ok?"

"And here I thought I was such a tough cop" Marley half mumbled, trying to sit up properly.

Karen's arm kept her where she was, "It's different when it's someone you care about..." I found that out the hard way on Friday she added silently.

"How the hell did he get it in there, no-one got into that church without being checked."

"Either he did, or he'd already planted it, after all, where else is a nun going to be on a Sunday? He probably thought it was a fairly safe bet... turns out he was right."

After a few minutes of silence, Marley again tried to sit up, this time Karen did nothing to stop her. "We need to check the grounds and get back to Sister Teresa" the Detective began, "he must know he hit the wrong person, there's only 18 hours until the trial, he's bound to try again."

"He wouldn't go for her here, he'll wait till we get to the courthouse, that's the other safe bet" Karen said with conviction.

"Well maybe you're right, but Sampoll's thugs would and I'm betting we haven't seen the last of them either."

They had almost reached the kitchen when Karen's cell went, she listened for a few moments before saying, "Thanks" and putting it in her pocket, "ballistics... no casings, no magazine and no prints. They're waiting on..." she trailed off, the Detective really didn't need to be reminded.

Novak briefly closed her eyes, "the bullet from Sister Agatha."

The rest of the afternoon had fortunately been uneventful. Neither Danny, nor the PD had anything useful to report, they had finally found the motel he'd been using, only to find that he'd already checked out. "You should get some rest" Karen whispered later that evening as they sat at the back of the chapel, the worried expression on her face mirrored on the Detective's.

"I can't... not until I know she's ok."

Glancing at the nuns, on their knees at the front, she took Marley's hand and squeezed it, "she'll make it, she's a tough old bird."

Marley rested her head on Karen's shoulder and sighed, "I hope you're right."



Persuading Detective Novak to get some sleep while she took the cot had been difficult, but finally, hearing Aggie was out of surgery, the woman had agreed and Karen was glad to see that she was still asleep when she poked her head around the door the next morning. Deciding to let her stay that way for as long as possible, she headed to the kitchen to get some coffee for them both. The change in atmosphere from the previous occasions she had been in here was enormous, there was a sombre air about the place and no-one felt inclined to talk.

She had just finished pouring the coffee when Sister Teresa came through the door having been to morning prayer. "How are you this morning Sister" she asked noticing how pale the woman looked.

"I'm well thank you Marshal."

"None of this is your fault Sister," the Marshal said seeing the tortured look in her eyes.

"Two people have been shot because I selfishly wished to stay at the convent rather than elsewhere, whose fault is it, if not mine?" the nun replied.

"But neither of them were shot in the convent Sister, you would still have gone to see Mrs. Alvarez and you'd still have gone to church. I honestly believe nothing would have changed if you'd been in a safe house, despite my objections earlier."

The Sister smiled and Karen knew she didn't believe her, "Thank You, Marshal" she said as the other Sisters entered the room.

Sisco sighed, picked up the coffee and went to wake the Detective.

"Hey" Karen said sitting on the edge of the bed and waiting for Marley to sit up before she gave her the mug.

"Hey, how's Aggie?"

"Still critical, but the fact she's made it this far is a good sign."

The Detective sighed, "and Sister Teresa?"

"Feeling guilty."

"She going to be ok in court?"

Karen shrugged, "I guess we'll find out... How's your back."

"Sore" she replied putting down her coffee before lying back down and opening her arms, "have we got 5 minutes?" Sisco grinned and shifted her legs up onto the bed to lay in the warm embrace.

Groaning as her cell went a few moments later, the Marshal sat up and answered it, clearly it was not good news.

"Would you believe ballistics can't match the bullet from Sister Agatha to the gun found in the church!" When she'd finished the call.

"Different gun?"

Karen shook her head, "they think the barrel's been altered."

"So we'll never prove it... I've been thinking we should go in through the back of the courthouse."

Karen shook her head, "too risky, Sampoll's obviously paying a lot of people off and if we're in full view, so are they."

"Well if we're going through the front everyone's wearing Kevlar."

"Oh yeah!"

"Then I guess we'd better get started."

Looking at her watch Karen lay back down, "we've got a few minutes."

Walking into the lobby of the office building Konner spotted the guard and walked over. "I need to get to your roof" he said showing a badge he no longer had a right to.

"Yes Marshal" the security guard replied quickly.

Blocking the door shut behind him so he wasn't surprised, he found a decent enough vantage point. Putting the bag down he fished out the rifle stock, opening it he retrieved the barrel, action and a magazine, and assembled it quickly. Taking out the scope he remounted it, having sighted it in the day before. He could see several uniformed officers milling about and the press core was starting to build up, he hoped none of them had long lenses. Having taken one or two imaginary pot shots at journalists known for giving the police force a hard time in their articles, he sat back and waited.

The car drew up outside the courthouse as the officers formed a barrier between the occupants and the mass of people that always seemed to congregate at any high profile hearing. Keeping Sister Teresa between them the two women eased their way through the crowd, grateful to the officers for clearing their path. They were halfway up the steps when a gun went off causing them all to hit the floor, but not before a hole had appeared in the back of Sister Teresa's habit. The crowd scattered as the officers, who looked fresh out of the academy, tried to see who was shooting and eventually noticed five men spread about the crowd who had pulled pistols from under their jackets, two of whom were also now using hostages as human shields. Drawing their guns, the two women having a better line of sight, returned the fire that seemed to be coming from all sides, trying to sight their targets in the chaos around them, "Get the Sister inside" Karen shouted to Novak, who was lying next to the nun, "...now" she continued, seeing the woman hesitate.

Konner watched as the Detective practically carried his target up the steps to the courthouse, noticing the lack of blood he chambered another round, he'd have to try for a head shot, a few more seconds and she'd be safe. Glancing quickly at Karen he noticed that she was lying face up firing back at Sampoll's men, trying to prevent them from reaching the steps, her efforts hampered by her wish not to hit any civilians. Seeing her firing pin hit on an empty chamber, Konner quickly made a decision, hell he'd never liked Sampoll anyway. Taking aim at the one nearest her, he fired, then kept going until four of them had dropped. With only one left he watched as the man dropped his weapon and put his hands on his head as he was surrounded. Thinking that he would sing loudly enough about who hired him, Konner took his finger off the trigger and looked towards the courthouse, as he expected, Sister Teresa was now safely inside.

Stunned at the turn of events, the Marshal caught a glimpse of light hitting metal off to her right, looking up she knew it was him, she should tell someone she thought, he was after all a wanted felon... then again he had just saved her life. Standing up, she thought of Aggie still critical in the hospital and her resolve hardened, she pulled out her cell as she watched two court officers lead the last of the thugs away.

"Hey" a voice said in her ear several hours later. Startled the Marshal looked up from her desk to find the object of her thoughts standing next to her. Still slightly shaken from the day's events she put out a hand to make sure the Detective was real. Novak grinned, "I should be doing that, after all it was you left lying on those steps." Seating herself on the corner of Karen's desk she surreptitiously took hold of the Marshal's hand, "I didn't want to leave you there" she said.

"I know" Karen replied, "but keeping Sister Teresa alive was more important."

"Not to me" Novak replied quietly.

Sisco held the Detective's eyes for several moments before saying, "So how did it go?"

"Her testimony certainly had a powerful effect on the jury, especially as they could hear the gun battle right before it and see the hole in her habit. There was no way defense counsel could try to paint her as an unreliable witness seeing as his client had just tried to have her killed. Jury's been sequestered as it made the lunchtime news, which won't cheer them up. Tony Sampoll is going away for a very long time, if he doesn't get the needle. Sister Teresa's being put back on a plane tonight... I can't imagine what it must be like having your life put in limbo like that, I don't know if it will ever be safe for her to come back."

"Well I..." Karen trailed off as the Detective heard footsteps behind her and dropped the hand she'd been holding.

"Karen, Marley."

"Phil" the Detective replied politely, wondering if she would be able to convince a jury it was justifiable homicide.

"Any word on Konner?" Karen asked, irritated at being interrupted.

"A man fitting his general description went out on a charter boat this afternoon, neither of them have been seen since, the coastguard's been alerted but it looks like he's gone."

Karen sighed, "Thanks Phil" she said, then repeated herself slightly louder noticing that he was still looking at the Detective. "Are you coming over later?" she asked loud enough for the man to hear as he walked away.

Novak smiled "Oh yeah," she replied, "but first I need to go see Aggie..." she stood up and lent close to Karen's ear, "and then I need to pick up my dry-cleaning," hearing a slight intake of breath, the smile turned into an amused grin as Marley winked at her before turning and walking away.

The End

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