DISCLAIMER: The Bionic Woman and its characters are the property of NBC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Fall From Grace is part of my Bionic Woman Side Effects Series which is archived on Passion and Perfection. Special thank you to Ardvari for help with the German and to Ralst for coming up with the fantastic Epic Proportions challenge. Thank you to everyone who has cheered me on and given me such kind feedback for this little series that could. It's appreciated more than you know.
BETA: Thank you to Ms_Josephine for having your heart, hand and mind in the mix.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
CHALLENGE: Written for Epic Proportions 2009.
SEQUEL: To Phoenix Rising
Fall From Grace Part One
Chapter One: Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Jae Kim knew something was different, even before he opened his eyes.
It was like a familiar energy was crackling in the air, something Jae had felt many times years ago, before the incident at Wolf Creek. The first time he remembered it happening after that, he had thought it was just wishful thinking, his grief and guilt preying on his rational mind after destroying the one thing he truly loved. Now though, he knew better.
Sighing Jae rolled to his side to shake the phantom feelings, and tried to sink back into the dream he had just been having. After a few minutes though he knew it wasn't going to work. His brain was already racing, spinning from thought to thought, and he was wide awake. He tried one last relaxation technique and focused his mind on the faint hypnotic sounds of the waves he could just make out from his bed.
Water gently lapped against the rocky shoreline of Jae's remote home, a log house with all the creature comforts you could want and then some. They were completely off the grid, with state of the art electronics and computer systems run off solar energy and wind turbines, more than enough power generated to remain self sustained for years, decades even.
It had been their dream home, designed down to the smallest detail together, from paint and tile colours, to the satellite uplink switchboards, to guest weapons for the shooting gallery. Even down to the brand of coffee maker in the kitchen, everything had been picked out and planned together. And now Jae and their home were all that remained of the dream.
It was the closest Jae could come to still being with her. She surrounded him here, her touch everywhere he looked, her scent still faintly clinging to her clothes hanging in their closet. Jae couldn't face changing a single thing when she died, and now with her rebirth he foolishly held on to hope for the future. A future together.
Cracking an eyelid open Jae glared at his bedside clock and groaned. Something still seemed slightly off and he might as well get up and scout around the property. Besides, coffee was starting to call his name, loudly. Rolling out of bed to go make some before his weekend guests started wandering around, he glanced out his window towards the waking lake.
Someone was standing on the dock.
Swiftly pulling his back up Smith and Wesson 9mm from the sock drawer, Jae tugged the curtain slightly to one side and peered out, easily recognizing the silhouette of the woman he loved calmly staring out across the misty lake.
Jaime Sommers woke to warm sunshine spilling into the room and across the back of the woman sprawled on top of her. Blinking sleepily, she relished the closeness of her lover. All in all, it had been a very emotional couple of days for one Ruth Truewell, making her unusually clingy. Not that Jaime minded in the least. In fact she loved it when Ruth was cuddly.
As for the reasons why, well, no stranger to sorrow herself, she could certainly relate to Ruth's grief on several levels. Jaime's own loss of her unborn child and the death of her mother to cancer quickly came to mind. And then there had been everything with Will.
Jaime didn't like to dwell much on Will Anthros, her confusing mixture of feelings of betrayal, sadness and outright anger making her shy away from any in depth musing of her deceased fiancé. She clearly remembered the shock of seeing him shot down by Sarah Corvus before her very eyes, still a crystal clear memory even without the assistance of her eidetic memory drive.
The incredible changes he brought to Jaime's body and life in such a short period of time had also been very traumatic and devastating. Not that dying would have been a better option mind you. Still, she didn't know how she could have gotten through it all without the woman in her arms and her new life at Berkut. Looking down on the mussed blonde hair of her girlfriend, she didn't even want to contemplate what she would do if Ruth was taken from her now.
Shivering at the thought and unconsciously squeezing her tighter, Jaime ran her fingers tenderly through Ruth's soft short hair tucked just under her chin and felt her lover slowly waking up. Stretching into the gentle caress as she woke, Jaime felt the older woman groan with leisurely pleasure before sighing and snuffling closer into the hollows of her throat.
"Mmm s'nice but I'm not a cat y'know " Ruth finally mumbled, rubbing the tip of her nose along the delicate skin of Jaime's throat before starting a soft trail of kisses up to claim her full lips with a low grumbly moan.
"Funny, that sounded suspiciously like a purr " Jaime teased as they separated, smiling against her lover's mouth before rolling the older woman to her back. "Maybe you'd like your tummy rubbed?"
"I'd like something rubbed all right " Ruth chuckled softly at Jaime's raised eyebrow before sliding her fingers into the curtain of long dark hair falling around her. She gently pulled the girl closer for another round of unhurried kisses, their need for each other gradually growing more urgent.
Jae wandered down the long path to the dock and boathouse, two steaming mugs of coffee and a plate with bagels in hand. He saw Sarah cock her head as she sat on the dock, hearing his approach, probably even tracking his position. He didn't bother trying to be stealthy; it never was a good idea to startle a bionic woman. Sarah turned and their eyes locked as he walked calmly down the dock, the weathered wood platform bobbing on the water with his movements. He stopped and looked down at the ghost that had haunted him for the past few years.
"Hi handsome, miss me?" Sarah looked up at her former lover, trying to gauge the man's mood. He had brought food, so that at least boded well. Snorting, Jae smoothly sank down and sat beside her on the dock, sliding a mug her way. She smiled and took the offered coffee and snagged a toasted bagel slathered with butter and preserves from the farmer's market in town.
"I always loved watching the lake wake up." Looking back out into the mist, she sipped the dark brew and sighed, content for the moment
Jae had remembered exactly how she liked it, black with lots of sugar. He'd always said it was like her, strong but sweet. He smiled now, remembering the time he'd actually said that to her, the goofy grin she had before pouncing on him and tickling him until he took it back. He met Sarah's hazel eyes as she once more turned back to face him, trying to find the girl he loved somewhere inside this alien woman.
"I always loved watching you wake up." Jae murmured sadly.
Becca Sommers stretched in her cozy bed, feeling the tightness of her sunburn pull on her shoulders. It had been a great day on the lake yesterday, once she'd finally found her balance on the stupid water-skis.
As much as she gave Jaime a hard time about the whole working thing, she actually liked her friends and Jae's place was a bit rugged but nice. It was quiet here by the lake. She needed quiet right now.
Becca lay on her stomach, pillow clutched under her chin and stared outside, watching small birds dodge and dive at the feeder hanging by her window. She felt like that a lot recently, constantly on the move, never really sure where to set down and rest. Besides, if she stopped she'll have to think and she didn't really want to do that either.
Becca knew she really needed to though, about her new friend April and how she wanted to handle it. The school year was almost up and she would be heading to her father's for the summer. She didn't want to go though. Things were much more interesting in San Francisco.
Becca couldn't stop the smile that bubbled to the surface as her thoughts shifted to the other girl, but she wasn't sure what she wanted to really do about it. Mostly she just felt like an idiot. She knew she needed to talk to Jaime about it all. After all she must have had to deal with it before taking that step with Ruth. Right?
God! Then why did it still feel like no one knew how she felt
"I can't stay Jae. I just had to see you this weekend, on our special anniversary " Corvus smiled wistfully at the memory, the look in his eye as he pulled the trigger, putting her down like a rabid dog, ending her misery. Or so she had thought, but it had really only been the beginning. Sarah ran a hand into Jae's dark hair, enjoying the crisp feel of it under her fingertips before continuing.
"I just wanted to remind you that I'm still here and that there are no hard feelings. After all what are a few bullets between old friends?" Sarah leaned forward and kissed Jae's cheek before he pulled her into a hug.
"Tell me..." Jae murmured softly into her hair, breathing the scent of her in, knowing she could hear him, needing to hear her say the words even if it was for the last time. "Tell me Sarah."
Sarah shook her head and pulled away, slowly standing up, knowing she had to go for both their sakes. She couldn't be who he needed her to be. Not anymore. That girl was gone and she wasn't sure she wanted her to come back. Their time together was over, and she knew she needed to say goodbye.
"The moral of this story is to always burn the body, just to make sure " Corvus cocked her head, the look in her eyes bleeding to something dark and far away. She flashed him a bright smile, trying to take the sting out of her words, before striding down the dock and disappearing in a blur into the forest.
He stood and stared after her, his mug of coffee cooling.
"I love you too, Sarah."
"You've never been fishing?" Ruth glanced beside her as she buttered some toast in Jae's well appointed kitchen.
"No, and oddly I've still lived a full life." Jaime sassed, bumping her hip against the older woman. She spooned some scrambled eggs out of the frying pan and onto one of the waiting plates on the counter. "Sorry but the whole cold wiggly smelly thing just doesn't appeal to me at all."
"I'd love to go Ruth. Jaime is such a princess!" Becca piped up from the other room, pouring orange juice into the glasses on the small dining table.
"Hey!" Jaime's eyebrows descended as her sister headed into the kitchen and Ruth snickered before getting The Look from Jaime.
"Shut up, you know it's true." Becca snagged a piece of bacon from one of the plates on the counter, before taking them to the table in the other room, handily evading the tea towel launched at her head.
Jae came into the living through the sliding patio door from the back deck, sitting quickly at the set table. "I thought I smelled something good around here!"
"Ah, and here we thought you were still getting your beauty sleep." Ruth dropped the plate of toast onto the table and sank down onto one of the chairs.
"Nope, gassing up the boat and finding my fishing poles. Eat up ladies. The fish are calling our names " Jae popped open a bottle of ketchup and squirted a blob on his plate.
"Yeah, not so much." Jaime sat down as everyone tucked into the food. "I think I'll just go for a quick run and hang out on the deck with my book."
"Alright, but you don't know what you're missing." Jae smiled at his young protégé. He made a mental note to look at her squeamishness at some point and discuss it with Ruth as a potential liability in the field, but today was not that day. Today was for fun.
"It's ok, she's high maintenance but we like her that way." Becca reached over and stole a piece of bacon from Jaime's plate, eyes sparkling with mischief.
Jaime glared at her sister over the rim of her glass of orange juice for a moment before smiling, enjoying the feeling of family washing over her. This weekend had turned into one of their best outings together and she was going to enjoy every moment of it before something came along to ruin it.
Jaime was a blur as she jogged, weaving around the trees in the forest following an old trail, probably one Corvus had made when she lived here with Jae. She had passed the shooting range and the entrance to the underground bunker Ruth had told her about. The windmill and solar panels had been tastefully hidden away back behind the log home. A nuclear bomb could go off and they would be self sufficient here for years.
Jaime just shook her head. Berkut employees were so weird. At least as the current freak de jour she seemed to live a normal real life. She needed it to cope with the rest of her surreal life. Her eye suddenly flashed into combat mode, bringing up a visual menu of scrolling information, her body suddenly on alert reacting to something, silently screaming defensive tactics that Jaime struggled to get a handle on. Jaime jumped as something big dropped down in front of her.
"Morning sunshine." Sarah Corvus in all her leather clad glory stood to her full height and smiled warmly at the startled girl.
"Fuck!" Jaime just barely stopped her automatic defence manoeuvre programs from taking over her body as her heart nearly leapt out of her chest, thundering from the fright.
"Maybe later, thanks." Sarah Corvus cocked her head to the right and started to circle the younger woman. "So how've you been? As you can see, I'm still alive and kicking, no help to you."
"What do you want Sarah?" Jaime knew it was an old familiar tune but she need to buy some time to think. Even if she patched into Berkut with her streaming visuals this instant they would be of little help. Biting back her panic, Jaime started to consider her contingency plans.
Jaime suddenly realized this might be the opening her boss had said to look for. Jonas Bledsoe had been working with her, planning a secret undercover operation that wasn't quite ready. At this point, Jaime wasn't sure they could afford to wait for her to get up to speed. After all, Sarah Corvus could be like a dog with a bone when she wanted something. And Berkut wanted to know just as desperately what Corvus was up to. A warm hand trailing across her shoulders pulled her back to the here and now, and the very real threat circling her.
"I wanted to know if you'd changed your mind about helping me out. I know Daddy Anthros would love to meet you." Sarah watched as her words hit the woman, curious but not wanting to show it. She knew she had the brunette on the line, now she just had to slowly reel her in.
Jaime meanwhile stood motionless. Dr. Anthony Anthros, Will's father, was involved somehow with Sarah again? This was just going from bad to worse. Jaime concentrated and activated her link to Berkut. It was time to call in the cavalry.
Nathan stirred his box of Chinese take out with his chop sticks trying to find another piece of chicken lurking at the bottom of the container. He looked up as Monitor 15 blinked to life and Sarah Corvus came into view.
"Oh, shit." Dropping his feet down from off his desk, Nathan grabbed the phone, hit the speed dial, and started anxiously checking that the computer was recording the visual stream for analysis and that all systems were at optimum. Finally the phone picked up.
"Jonas? Jaime just came on line "
"Dr. Anthros? Do you know where he is?" Jaime needed to kill more time, maybe lure Sarah away from the house and then head back again. Give Berkut a chance to respond or send help, even just warn Jae or Ruth what was going on. It was her only real option at the moment. Maybe she could get Corvus to slip up about Anthros in the meantime.
"Yes, Tony has been most helpful these last few months since his early release." Corvus ran her hand across Jaime's shoulders before trailing down her right arm, her bionic arm.
"Escape from a high security prison you mean." Jaime turned to face the smirking woman. Corvus leaned closer, Jaime stood perfectly still waiting for something to happen.
"Puh-tay-toe, puh-tah-toe." Corvus whispered softly in her ear before leaning away again, watching carefully for the brunette's reaction.
Jaime felt a shiver slide through her body at the close contact. Damn the woman oozed sex appeal and she knew how to use it. Seeing the narrowing of Sarah's eyes, she realized that Sarah had noticed her reaction.
"I'm sorry Sarah. My answer is still the same and now that Anthros is in the mix, I don't think it's safe for me. I really am sorry." Before Corvus could even think of a reply, Jaime turned and disappeared into the forest.
"Son of a " Sarah ran her hand through her hair and sighed, looking down at her heavy leather boots. "I knew I should have worn my Nike's "
The boat rocked slightly in the morning sunshine. Jae sat at the bow with his depth finder dipped into the dark water, fishing hat covering his eyes as he dozed with his pole in his hand. Sitting at the back of the boat was Ruth and Becca.
Once the worm had been finally placed on the hook, the worst part was over. Becca continued to cast out into the water and reel in. Ruth was a bit more patient with a bobber keeping her lure afloat. She was just enjoying the peace and the lap of the water against the side of Jae's boat.
After several deep dramatic sighs, Becca's obvious need to talk set off Ruth's therapist bells and she started to plot the best way to get the girl to open up. No milk and cookies around to help her this time. Ruth raised an eyebrow as she suddenly flashed back to their midnight discussion last week. Becca had mentioned a friend then maybe that was what was still bothering the girl.
Glancing over Ruth noticed how much Becca looked like Jaime when she was trying to solve a problem. Her heart clenched a bit at the how the youngest Sommers girl had slipped inside her walls too, how they had become her family. It felt damn good.
Bionic legs moved her through the under brush, around boulders and deeper into the dark woods as she tried to elude her pursuer. Diving behind a moss covered log lying in a shallow hollow, Jaime stopped for a quick breather, checking her internal GPS knew she had just about come full circle back to Jae's home.
"Come out, come out wherever you are!" Sarah Corvus' taunting sing song seemed to echo from all directions. "I know you're here, I can feel it. I can feel you. I just want to talk to you Jaime. Honest."
Jaime rolled her eyes. Like anything coming out of that woman's mouth could be trusted. Jaime could hear the growing frustration in the other bionic woman's voice. "Come on Jaime, you owe me that at least "
Jaime hung her head, letting the guilt wash over her as she tried to figure out her next move. Timing was important and the other woman was quickly closing in on her position. She still had to lure her back to the lake and hope that someone would be there to help soon. She heard something definitely getting closer, coming from her right. She started running through the forest again.
"Come on Jaime, I won't let anyone hurt you." Corvus stopped. "Well, not much " She muttered under her breath. She knew Jaime was close. It was almost like a scent in the air, a buzz in her brain she could follow if she just concentrated hard enough. Picking up on light footsteps running she turned and triangulated the position.
"You're headed back to the lake. What are you up to now?" Corvus grumbled and started after her prey. This little conversation was far from over.
Ruth sat in the sun, sleepy and peaceful on the boat seat. She could almost feel Becca's gaze on her and knew it was time to say something to her.
"Just talk to her Becca. She'll understand more than you think." Ruth lazily started reeling in her line waiting for the girl's reaction. Becca just stared at her a moment and then smiled.
"How do you do that?" Becca cast her line out again, watching the lure shimmer in the bright light before sinking into the dark water.
"What?" Ruth smiled softly.
"Always know the right thing to say to make me feel better?" Becca started reeling in her line again, happier than a minute ago.
Ruth looked out across the water briefly before turning back to the girl. Becca was so like Jaime it was easy to read her sometimes. No need to give up any secrets though.
"Didn't I mention I'm psychic?"
Jaime could just make out the water sparkling between some of the trees as she ran through the forest. She paused briefly to try and figure out which way would be the best route back to Jae's cabin. Stretching her senses, she could hear music faintly playing in the background, most likely the radio she'd left on the deck.
Crashing noises in the dense underbrush behind her reminded her of the danger she would soon be in. At least Becca and Ruth would be safe on their fishing excursion with Jae and if she didn't check in on time they would all be alerted that something was up.
Jaime decided the time had come to stop and end this now. If Sarah wanted to fight it was time to bring it on. She only hoped that Jonas had been able to contact them somehow. Breaking free from the forest Jaime jogged past the small cabin that was Jae's boathouse, and plopped down onto the small porch and waited.
Staring out over the lake as she slowly caught her breath, Jaime knew it would be inevitable for the hunter to find her prey. In fact if her multi million dollar hearing wasn't playing tricks on her, she was about to have a visitor. She didn't even jump this time when Sarah Corvus dropped onto the steps beside her.
"Sorry I'm late." Sarah pulled open her black leather jacket and retrieved her pack of smokes from her inner pocket. "There's nothing like a little Sunday morning jog through the forest to get the juices flowing." Tugging her Zippo lighter from her jeans, she flicked it open with a sharp clink and lit her cigarette. Taking a long pull, she exhaled, relaxing before glancing over at the younger girl.
"So what the hell was that all about? You know you can't out run me." Sarah stared hard at the other girl, who just ran a hand through her long dark hair and looked everywhere but out across the water. Suspicious, Sarah turned to the lake, adjusted her vision ranges and found the small boat, tucked into a bay on the far side of the lake, fishing poles glinting in the sunshine.
"Ah, dear sweet Becca. Of course." Jaime visibly stiffened beside her as Sarah smiled slightly, raising an eyebrow. "Relax, I wouldn't hurt a hair on her head Jaime. Although I am surprised you've let her bar hop with that sexy new girlfriend of hers."
"What?" Jaime just turned to stare at the blonde, the words not really sinking in properly, not making complete sense. Jaime didn't want to hear this, and certainly not from Corvus.
"They were pretty cute too. The two of them, dancing Tuesday night at well, that's not important now is it. It is San Francisco after all. I was all set to buy her a drink and get reacquainted when they disappeared." Sarah smirked, her eyes narrowing as she decided to twist the knife just a bit more.
"What?" Jaime said again, the burn of anger twisting at her guts, shaking her head in disbelief.
"Your sister's pretty cute. You know, I wouldn't mind showing Becca the ropes " she leered and ducked just in time as Jaime's fist hit the post behind her with a solid crunch of crumbling wood. Chuckling, Corvus did a forward roll and came up on her feet, ready to play. Once she had found the right buttons to push, it had almost been too easy.
"Shut up you sick freak. She's just a kid." Pulling her fist from the splintered post, Jaime turned to face the blonde. How the hell did the other woman know more about Becca's life than she did? Surely Becca would have talked to her about this? Her mind ran back through various conversations with Becca, looking for clues, hints of what the truth really was. Meanwhile she circled Corvus, looking for an opening.
If Sarah wanted a fight, Jaime was more than willing to oblige, having had about enough of the cocky blonde. There are some lines that can't be crossed, some things that couldn't be forgiven. And Becca was definitely one of those things.
Ruth sat comfortably in the afternoon sunshine, letting her fishing line bob away on the lake surface. This had been such a good weekend. Glancing over she saw Jae patiently going over the basics of casting a line again with Becca. The girl was like a sponge around the man and he seemed to genuinely like the youngest Sommers.
Becca was a smart girl that was sure. Her troubles with inappropriate computer use and the resulting court order to prevent her from "accidentally" gaining access to her school records seemed to point to a lot of untapped potential in the girl. If she could channel all that for good uses, the girl could be quite brilliant.
Ruth started reeling in her line very slowly. She and Jonas had already discussed the possibility of bringing Becca into the Berkut advanced studies program once she was old enough. It would be a good fit from what Ruth had seen in the girl so far. Becca was bored at school and that was half of the trouble she was getting into there. Ruth privately wondered what Jaime would think. It might open the door for her to finally tell Becca the truth.
Glancing over her right shoulder Ruth looked at the log home nestled across the lake, wondering what her lover was up to. Probably just kicking back and relaxing on the deck again. She smiled to herself and cast her line back out onto the calm water.
"What's the matter Jaime, jealous of your little sister?" Corvus smirked, enjoying this little match. It had been awhile since she had recalibrated her fighting programming properly. And if it showed the girl just who was really in control around here, well, so much the better.
"Leave Becca out if this. This is about you and me." Jaime would deal with Becca later. Finally finding an opening she relaxed and let her programming take over, lunging at the older woman. Swinging her right arm she connected hard with Corvus' arm, deflecting away and ducking down as Sarah's left hand just missed her head. Jaime stood and jumped back, Sarah's right fist swinging past her face. That had been close.
"You're so possessive of my attention Jaime. Whatever would Ruth say?" Sarah relished pushing a few more buttons to piss her off even more. They always had so much fun when they played together.
Seeing her mouth press tight with anger, Corvus took advantage of the emotional distraction and sent a kick flying to Jaime's left leg. The blow was solid, forcing Jaime to stumble backwards fighting for balance, as Sarah continued her attack with a vicious left hook. Seeing it coming, Jaime met it with her own right hand block, starting an intense but brief arm wrestle for control.
Corvus twisted her stance in towards the other woman and forced their entwined hands down, then quickly spun around with her right hand, grabbing Jaime's other arm and flipping her. She stood and watched pleased as Jaime arched gracefully through the air, landing with a hard crunch of splintering wood on the small boathouse porch.
Ruth's BlackBerry rang and she pulled it reluctantly from her duffle bag. Jae looked at her concerned, both knowing that calls on a weekend off weren't usually good.
"Hey! We had a no cell phone rule this weekend " Becca complained bitterly.
"It was the only way I could get away this weekend, if I was on call." Ruth thought on her feet quickly. Glancing at Jae she turned to give her full attention to the call as he distracted Becca with more fishing techniques.
Jaime shook the cobwebs from her head and rolled back to her feet, growling at the smirking woman pacing before her.
"Can't keep your hands off me, can you Sommers? Not that I can blame you. You should have someone younger and stronger in your bed"
"Shut the fuck up." Jaime ran at Corvus, kicking at the woman's body but was deflected by a right hook. She ducked again as Sarah's left arm swung above her head and then stepped up to block the following right fist slamming lightning fast into her body. A flurry of fists and blocked hits was followed by a knee to Sarah's ribs. She didn't even see the left upper cut to her jaw.
Her head snapping back, Jaime saw stars come crashing down as she lurched back, her programming screaming defensive tactics at her to move. In no shape to listen, Jaime tasted blood and dropped once more onto the small deck, before everything spun and faded to black.
Corvus pulled a cigarette out of her jacket and flicked open her Zippo lighter with a quiet clink, trying to ignore her shaking hands.
"Berkut sure doesn't build them like they used too "
Nathan winced at the force of the last blow to Jaime's head. Monitor 15 showed black screen. He ran a quick computer check and looked up at a worried Jonas.
"She's out boss. I think the blow also took out the streaming visual connection. I'm trying to patch back in, but I won't know for sure until she's conscious again."
Jonas nodded tersely and relayed the information into his cell phone.
Ruth stared at the boathouse across the lake a knot of worry tight in her stomach as Jonas updated her. Corvus had already killed too many people in her life, Ruth would be damned if she would lose Jaime too. She turned back to Jae, her game face falling into place, suddenly all business and in control.
"Jae we need to head back to shore. Now." Ruth's calm flat careful tone spoke volumes. Jae didn't hesitate and they quickly started pulling their fishing lines in.
"Aw, Ruth come on!" Becca whined as Jae secured their poles and started up the boat motor.
"Sorry Becca. I have to get back to work right away. There's a situation in progress that needs our immediate attention." Ruth grabbed onto the side of the boat as Jae turned them slowly towards the other shore, and then gunned the motor.
Sarah Corvus sat and looked out over the lake and mountains strangely at peace, watching the smoke from her cigarette drift lazily away. Trapped beneath Corvus' lean form, Jaime slowly squirmed as she regained consciousness, trying to gather her strength, waiting for an opportunity to gain the upper hand.
"Have you played yourself out yet Sommers?" Sarah smiled before rolling off the younger girl, and standing in one smooth movement. Jaime sat up and checked her jaw, Corvus' left jab having been quite effective in taking her down. She wiped the blood from her lip and stared menacingly up at the first bionic woman, reminding herself that first doesn't necessarily mean the best.
"It's beautiful up here. I used to come here years ago, it was our getaway. I helped build the hidden weapon bunker and fallout shelter, put up the wind mill generators. We could live here self sustained for years." Sarah's hazel eyes burned bright with memories before slowly bleeding away to the present realities.
"Then, things changed. Everything changed." Sarah stared off into the distance, distracted by her darker thoughts. "You know they come up here every year on the anniversary of the night I went off line." She took a slow drag on her smoke and turned her attention back to the present and the dangerous brunette sitting on the small deck at her feet.
"It's sweet in its own pathetic sort of way. So I've been coming up too, after all it's my anniversary too." She tapped the filter on her cigarette with her thumb and watched the ash drop, scattering in the light breeze from the lake.
"Sometimes I'll just come up and keep an eye on Jae. I worry about him y'know. I'll hide out in the boathouse loft and just watch over him." Sarah's hazel eyes darkened with sadness as she tossed her cigarette to the ground and stepped on it. "He did what he had to, I know that. Now I do what I have to. It's not good or bad, it just is."
Noting the other woman's distraction, Jaime seized the opportunity and moved suddenly, scrambling back across the small deck to try to gain some distance between them, catching Sarah's attention.
"Where do you think you're going?" Corvus swiftly grabbed Jaime's ankle and pulled her closer before dropping on top of the wiggling girl, rolling her over and pinning her to the deck. She could smell the sweat and the earth mingling with something uniquely Jaime. It was most distracting.
Corvus knew she wanted Jaime to resist just a little. She liked it when they struggled at first, besides it never lasted long. Smiling down at her supposed foe she found the stubborn look there oddly adorable. Their bodies pressed tightly against each other, panting as they tried to catch their breath, Sarah was quite enjoying herself.
"Now why would I want the girl when I could have the woman, hmm?" Corvus dipped her head to whisper softly into Jaime's ear, letting one hand trail across Jaime's body, across toned abs, before fingering the waistband of her track pants, thrilling at the slight hitch in breath at her caress. "God, this is so much better than anything your sister could offer me Jaime."
Sarah ran the tip of her nose lightly along Jaime's soft cheek before returning to pant hotly into her human ear. "Then again, we haven't even begun to explore everything you can offer me yet, have we?"
Jaime felt an answering throb pull low in her stomach. The damn woman somehow knows all the right buttons to push. It scared her as much as it turned her on.
"Sarah, get off me." It was barely a whisper, embarrassingly filled with fear and arousal, but Jaime knew Sarah would hear it.
"Your eyes say no but your body says yes!" Sarah rolled her hips against the younger woman beneath her, grinding slowly against her, feeling her trapped body respond. She effectively made her point when Jaime moaned softly.
"Stop fighting me Jaime " Sarah brought her mouth a hairs breadth away from the full lips below her and waited for Jaime's decision. "Stop fighting this."
Sarah knew the ball was in Jaime's court. It was Jaime's choice now how this game was going to be played. Sarah had said and done many things in her day, but she always respected her adversaries. Either they would move forward together, or she would destroy her. Regardless Corvus knew she would get what she needed in the end.
Jaime meanwhile hesitated, her mind racing. Ready or not, this was it. After their confrontation in New York, Jonas had known this day would come, had been working with her for weeks secretly on various scenarios, but she didn't feel even close to being prepared for his special undercover assignment.
Jaime had thought she would have more time, to bring Ruth on board and get Becca squared away. But the time had presented itself and despite her real life responsibilities, she knew what Jonas would want her to do. What she had to do.
Decision made, Jaime cautiously closed the distance between them, finally tasting the soft mouth above.
Nathan tapped at his keyboard running the reboot procedures for the fourth time. The remote diagnostics indicated that Jaime was finally conscious and her heart rate was at elevated levels, normal combat parameters so he wasn't too worried about her. However the visual stream was toast. He knew it was pointless, but still he kept trying to reconnect to Jaime.
Jonas paced back and forth, impatient for results.
Nathan just shook his head as they failed to connect again, the fatal exception error message making it clear just how offline the system was. Monitor 15 remained dark and Jonas simply sighed in frustration.
"Do it again."
Their kiss wasn't gentle, but it wasn't punishing either. Tongues clashing and stroking as Jaime's strong hands were released and she tentatively explored the leather clad curves pressing seductively against her. Pulling slowly apart foreheads resting together, trying to catch their breaths, Jaime looked deep into Sarah's pleased hazel eyes.
"What about Jae?" Jaime looked away, guilty of betraying her mentor and friend. Long graceful fingers brushed over her full lips, slipped under her chin and tipped Jaime's head back up.
"He is my past. You my dear are the glorious future. Imagine what we can be together, an unstoppable force." Sarah dropped another soft kiss on the lithe brunette's unresisting lips. Pulling back she knew she needed to broach a few tough topics herself.
"What about Ruth?" Sarah eyed Jaime as she squirmed, visibly torn. She knew they might as well face these demons now. Corvus was no fool, she knew she was so very close to turning the girl to their side. She could almost taste victory but she would have to step carefully through this emotional minefield first.
"Listen Jaime, if I could have deep feelings about anything, then I'm sure I'd be feeling guilty as hell right about now too." Sarah ran a hand through the long dark hair, trying to soothe the other woman. "But they don't understand what it is to be like us."
Sarah grew silent, moving off the girl to sit on the small boathouse deck, to give her prey some space, but glancing over to make sure the girl was listening. This was the big sell.
"I have someone you really need to meet and it's not Will's father." Jaime looked up at that and Sarah knew she almost had her. Sarah watched as Jaime sat up, intrigued.
"There is another one of us."
Jae cut the motor just before getting to a secondary dock in a small hidden bay he had set up for just such a covert back entry to his property. Vigilance and paranoia pays off some days. The boat coasted smoothly and silently into position. Jae looped a rope over one post and Ruth had the other one at the front quickly secured.
"Cool, you can't even see this little dock from your house." Becca grabbed her gear and soda from the cup holder and waited to hop out of the boat.
"Get Becca to the house and start her packing. Protect her at all costs." Ruth murmured to her friend.
"It's Sarah, isn't it?" Their eyes locked and Jae knew he was right. He ducked his head and went to help Becca from the boat.
Ruth pulled her piece from the duffle bag and checked how many rounds were in her Glock. Snapping the ammo back into place, she knew she would need all the help she could get where Corvus was concerned.
Jaime blinked, confused with this new information. Jonas must not know about this other person.
"I can't reveal too much, I don't' know if we can trust you yet." Sarah glanced up at the confused brunette to see if she was taking the bait.
"What the hell are you talking about Sarah?" Jaime's mind was trying to digest what Sarah was trying to get at. "Who is this we?"
"Do you really think that they would start this little Frankenstein project with a woman? Look at the macho testosterone world we deal in Jaime. I might be the first bionic woman, but I'm not the first bionic person that stepped through Berkut's damned lab doors."
"Who is it?"
"I can't." Sarah pulled away slightly from the soft caress. "I've already said too much. Come with me and meet him. He can tell you his own story."
Jaime ran a hand through her hair, frustrated as her life pulled her in two very different directions. She needed time to figure this all out, and to find out more about the mystery man before she just disappeared with Corvus and how Berkut figured in all of this. She was no fool where the underbelly of the company she worked for was concerned. Just what version of the truth was Sarah telling her and what would be the official sanitized version in Berkut's records. She had some investigating to do. Jaime made her decision.
"I have to go back Sarah. Becca is supposed to stay with our Dad for the summer. Let me see if I can set that up sooner, I need to make sure she is safe and then then I will go with you."
Jaime caught Sarah's jaw, turning so their eyes locked, making sure she was clear. "You have my word, Sarah."
They both heard someone coming, time was running out. Growling, Sarah once more claimed the soft full lips before her, taking what was being freely offered. They clearly heard a gun cock from the far side of the deck.
"Get the hell away from her or so help me God I'm going to shoot you and this time they aren't going to find enough pieces to put you back together again." Ruth snarled, her Glock aimed at Sarah's head.
"Well, well, well." Sarah looked at Jaime and lifted an eyebrow. "Momma Bear's a bit grumpy."
In the tense silence Corvus reached out with her mind and felt a tentative mental connection with Jaime flare to life. It was like shouting at each other across the Grand Canyon at the moment mind you, but with time and practice Sarah knew it would be an incredible asset.
I'll be in touch again soon.
Jaime frowned at the unexpected connection but nodded slightly as Corvus looked across to Ruth and slowly stood upright, tilting her head and smiling grimly. "Of course, you know me. See a bear. Poke a bear."
Ruth felt the gun kicked from her hands and a backhand across her jaw but saw nothing as Corvus moved in a blur and disappeared before she could squeeze off a round.
"Ruth, are you ok?" Moving to help steady Ruth, Jaime was by her side in an instant.
"This isn't over Sommers " echoed deep from the dark forest.
It had been a long uneventful drive home. After unpacking and laundry, they had all headed to bed early. Becca had gone to sleep pretty quickly, Jaime realized as she stretched her hearing parameters out into the dark apartment. No tapping of laptop keys or iPod music bleeding into the night. There was just gentle snoring and Ruth moving around in the washroom.
Ruth. Jaime sighed knowing that they should still talk about earlier today. Updating Jonas over the phone that the situation was over had calmed everyone down. Meeting up with Jae, Ruth had quickly filled him in as Jaime and Becca packed up their gear. Jaime knew there would be a complete debriefing on Monday and she wasn't really looking forward to it. There was still so much she didn't know about Berkut or her co-workers really.
Jaime turned down the blankets, her mind still whirling with questions and hopped into her side of the bed waiting for her lover to join her. It had been a long draining weekend and Jaime had so much to think about. Monday morning would bring with it a mission to find out the truth, and who was telling what version of it.
Ruth stepped into the bedroom and quietly clicked the door shut. She had been a bit reserved and quiet since finding Sarah Corvus kissing her at the boat house. Jaime smiled remembering the fierce look on Ruth's face. Jaime felt the bed dip as Ruth slid under the blankets and was a bit surprised to find the woman's warmth suddenly beside her.
"Ruth, I " Jaime started, wanting to clear the air, to try to somehow explain away the kiss with Corvus. Ruth placed a finger over her soft full lips, effectively stopping all conversation.
"I don't want to talk about it, not at the moment anyway. Right now I just need you. Is that ok?" Ruth's hazel eyes had paled to gray in the darkness, her need plain to see.
Jaime nodded silently, sliding a hand up and around the cords of Ruth's neck, tugging slightly to bring her lover closer, answering the question in the most direct way she could imagine. Their lips met, quickly becoming demanding and rough. Breaking apart for much needed breath, clothing was quickly stripped away leaving just bare skin and naked desire. Jaime leaned forward, gathering Ruth in her arms and nuzzled into the baby fine blonde hair along her temple.
Ruth meanwhile ran her fingers along her lover's toned body, moving to cup the delicately flushed breasts, enjoying how they filled her hands. Rolling Jaime to her back, she straddled her young lover's hips and focused her attention once more to the sweet body below her. She squeezed and pulled slightly, the nipples stiffening further and pressing against her palm as she continued the sensuous massage. Ruth dipped her head, licking and nipping her way down Jaime's now squirming form. Flicking and pinching, she rolled Jaime's erect nipples until they were rock hard before sucking the puckered flesh into her hot mouth.
"Oh, God " Jaime moaned low in her throat and arched her back, her hands grasping her headboard and holding on for dear life. She desperately wanted to touch Ruth, to run her fingers into the short blonde hair, holding her closer to her breast but was worried about losing control and hurting the older woman.
"Please Ruth, I want " Panting, Jaime lost her train of thought as she watched Ruth release one nipple with a wet pop and move to the other neglected side. Her clit started to throb in time with Ruth's persistent attention to her breast.
"Oh, baby, I know " Ruth husked, easing herself back from Jaime's tempting breasts and sliding up to claim the brunette's full lips once more. Slowly she started to rock against the writhing body below, brushing her own nipples against her younger lover's.
"I love you so much " Jaime whispered against the tender mouth before Ruth claimed her full lips in a crushing kiss before reluctantly rolling away.
Ruth moved down to spread long elegant legs, her hands sliding along the creamy inner thighs, creating room to snuggle down between them. She spread her fingers out over Jaime's flat toned stomach, drawing them across the hollows of her abs. Long fingers trailed down, tickling through the damp dark curls at her lover's center and across the swollen lips. A trail of moisture clung to her fingers, evidence of Jaime's obvious arousal. Warm air brushed against Jaime's damp curls and she couldn't stop the low growl in her throat as the lithe brunette arched closer.
"Fuck Ruth " Jaime writhed with desire, needing so much more from Ruth. She let her human hand run through Ruth's short blonde hair, to help guide her to where she needed her to be. But Ruth just looked up over the soft curve of Jaime's belly and the message was pretty clear. Ruth was running this mission, which Jaime realized was just fine by her. Throwing her head back into the pillows, Jaime tried to relax and let Ruth have her way with her.
Smiling, Ruth dipped her head and ran her tongue across the stiff clit begging for her attention. Her moan of pleasure vibrated along Jaime's tense body. Humming with satisfaction at how wet and ready Jaime was, she kept gently sucking on the stiff nub, sinking long fingers in deep, stretching and filling, claiming her as her own. Finally she started to pull back, before filling again, and again, slowly building an irresistible rhythm.
The accompanying rattle of the headboard only emphasized the bucking of Jaime's hips, as she arched to meet the penetrating caress of her focused lover. Moaning and needy, she tried desperately to match Ruth's pace, meeting her thrust for thrust, straining to pull her in deeper.
Making a sympathetic sound at the back of her throat, Ruth curled her fingers and found the spot she had been looking for. Jaime's body started to tense beneath her hands, as if dancing on an edge, waiting to tumble over. Capturing the swollen clit once more with her lips, Ruth flicked hard with the tip of her tongue, pushing her finally over the edge.
Shuddering, Jaime bucked hard, her body crashing against Ruth's intimate touch. She barely recognized the breathy cries coming from her own mouth, as she exposed everything to her sweet lover. She felt Ruth suddenly tense against her, pleased that the older woman's own orgasm was following close behind.
Their racing hearts finally slowing, Jaime blinked as Ruth moved back up the bed, tugging the duvet over their cooling bodies, before pulling her nearer to lie together on the bed. Capturing the kiss bruised mouth, Jaime liked the taste of herself on Ruth's lips.
"Mine " Ruth murmured, before sighing softly and burrowing against Jaime's neck.
Jaime weakly put her arms around Ruth, holding her close and tried to catch her breath, fingers lazily tracing abstract patterns along her lovers bare back. Jaime's heart clenched, overflowing with love for the blonde. She didn't know how she'd survive this mess but she would refuse to lose this wonderful woman from her life. Feeling Ruth start to drift to sleep, she held her tighter, whispering softly into the night.
Chapter 2: What a Tangled Web We Weave
Monday morning, Jaime sat alone in the Berkut headquarters boardroom, watching operatives hustle past the single glass wall that opened up to the hallway. The long narrow frosted windows along the other wall let in some light, but mostly the room was pretty dark and gloomy. Only the bottom lit glass boardroom table that dominated the room shed some light and the various wall mounted plasma monitors that were blinking and streaming with the latest information. Swivelling from side to side in her high backed leather chair, Jaime tried to think what her next step should be.
"So, you had an eventful weekend." Nathan sassed as he wandered into the room, coffee mug and laptop in hand. Jaime simply smiled at her friend as he dropped down into the seat to her right.
"Any luck reconnecting to my streaming visual cortex? I've been online since 7am." Jaime watched as the computer tech popped open his laptop and navigated his way through a maze of information to check the remote diagnostics.
"Nope, not even a blip on the screen. I'll have to take a closer look at your ear and eye modules and see if we can figure out what damage has happened. Corvus throws a pretty mean punch." Nathan took a sip of his coffee and watched Jaime spin in her chair, obviously distracted about something. "Hey, what's up with you bright eyes? I'll get it all worked out, don't worry."
"No, it's not that " Jaime glanced over at her friend and weighed her options. Maybe he would be able to tell her something about the history of the bionic program here. Or point her in the right direction to look in if nothing else.
"Nathan, how long have you been here, working for Berkut?" Jaime blurted, noticing Nathan's eyes widen a little with curiosity before he turned back to his computer screen, madly tapping away at something beeping and needing his attention.
"Five years. Why?" Nathan looked over at her suspiciously before another beep captured his attention again.
"I know Corvus was the first bionic woman, but were there any other test subjects, before that?" Jaime lowered her voice somewhat as she finally got to the point. Nathan paused in his typing and stared at his friend.
"Jesus Jaime, where the hell did that come from?" Glancing at the open doorway to the boardroom, Nathan lowered his voice and leaned closer. "Are you trying to get me banished to nights permanently? If Jonas finds out " He didn't finish his thought; it was too scary to contemplate. He looked at the determined look on her face, realizing that one way or another Jaime would get her answers.
"Alright, I'll tell you what I know, which isn't much. There have been no other bionic operatives since I've been here, or that I had clearance to know about if there were anyway. Corvus was the golden child as far as I knew. There were rumours about super soldiers and some military project that went south before Berkut got totally behind the bionics program but that was all I ever heard." Nathan moved away suddenly as more staff started to arrive for their meeting.
"And that, my dear Jaime, is how a bill becomes a law." Nathan raised his voice slightly so the newcomers could hear him. Jaime tried not to smile at his blatant topic change and squeezed his arm in silent thanks. He went back to typing on the laptop. "You should ask Ruth " Nathan murmured under his breath knowing that Jaime would still be able to hear him.
Jaime nodded slightly and watched him prepare a video file for their meeting. She knew he was right of course, and she hated it when he was right. She was just reluctant to push Ruth about it, especially with her past history with Corvus. And now with the added insult of finding them in that kiss.
Jaime's stomach churned with guilt about that. Ruth seemed to think Corvus had been forcing herself on her, and Jaime had just let that perception continue. She wanted to talk to her about it, explain what was really going on, but she needed to have a chat with Jonas first. As if her thoughts had conjured her lover, she looked up to see Ruth stride through the open doorway.
Jaime did love the cut of that dark suit on her and couldn't stop the appreciative smile. She even found the slight shiner barely visible under Ruth's makeup somewhat dashing. Ruth greeted her with a lopsided grin, before coming over to claim the empty chair to Jaime's left. There was no time for conversation as Jonas entered the room, closing the glass door behind him.
"Morning everyone. Lets get to it people."
Sitting at the head of the table, Jonas opened a folder and waited for the rest of the team to settle down. Pulling a small black remote from his pocket, he flicked the bank of monitors along the wall all to the same visual feed.
"We have a situation in progress so we will skip the run down on the Corvus incident this weekend for now. Jaime, I'd like to see you at 11:00 hours for your debriefing." He waited for Jaime to nod, not missing Ruth's slightly raised eyebrow of surprise at not being included in the meeting. The door behind Jonas swung open and Jae quickly entered and sat at the only empty seat left at the table, mumbling his apology to the group.
"As I was saying, we've just received some important intel that needs our current attention. If you will all turn your attention to the monitors." Jonas stood and wandered over to the wall mounted plasma screens. "Run it Nathan."
Jaime watched as Nathan tapped his laptop and started streaming the grainy black and white video security footage. A group of five armed men dressed in fatigues were opening the back of a tractor trailer. One man was on the ground in a dark puddle of what Jaime assumed was his own blood, looking very dead. The back doors swung open and the men pulled out several heavy crates. One of the men cracked a crate open with the butt of his rifle. Several shiny bars of metal glittered inside. The men excitedly loaded the crates onto a pump cart and pulled their prize off screen before the video feed stopped. The Berkut Group logo once more flashed up onto the monitor and they turned their attention back to Jonas.
"That was last night. The thieves made off with over 17 million dollars worth of silver bars. Our newest patron wants us to investigate this little group and try to recover his fortune. The official authorities are investigating as well, but our client wanted a little better service than he's been receiving from the Feds."
"We were luckily already attempting to infiltrate this small terrorist cell working out of Portland, and we now have a man on the inside. He's not privy to the major players yet but we have received a message from him that there is another heist planned for later this month. We need to gather as much on this as possible and move on it. Early analysis indicates that it's a terrorist cell trying to raise funds."
"American banks don't deal in precious metals. What would a terrorist group want with that much silver bullion?" Jae mused from the far side of the table.
"What countries do deal in precious metals?" Ruth wondered aloud.
"Switzerland or England to name a few. Canada looks to be the closest " Nathan replied as he ran a quick search on Google.
"Point is our client deals in precious metals and his cargo has been taken." Jonas began to outline the mission. "We need to set up an assault group to go in and retrieve the silver before it leaves this country. Jae I want you to organize a black ops team to infiltrate "
Jaime's eyes glazed over a little as the meeting progressed into the technicalities of the job, profiling the suspected terrorist group, trying to ascertain who was behind the crimes and why. She looked over at Jae. The poor man didn't look like he had even slept since she had last seen him and here he was running the new mission.
Jaime jumped as she clearly heard a voice call out. She looked over at Ruth, as the voice had been female, but she was taking notes and intent on Jonas's plan. Jaime looked around the room and realized that no one else had noticed it either.
Jaime we need to talk. Soon.
Jaime grew still. It was Corvus. How in the hell was she able to do this down here in the bowels of Berkut HQ? Jaime leaned back in her chair and tried to focus on the voice in her head, to that area at the base of her skull that she could almost feel a tickle, an itch she couldn't scratch inside her head. She concentrated on her response, envisioned an invisible line connecting her to Corvus and mentally pushed it out to her.
"Jaime, are you ok? Your nose is bleeding." Ruth leaned closer, concerned. She pulled a tissue out of her pocket and handed it to Jaime who dabbed self consciously at the small trail of blood.
"I'm fine. I was just trying to reboot my visual cortex again." Jaime whispered back. Ruth didn't seem completely convinced but turned her attention back to Jonas.
Friday, 9 pm. The south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Come alone.
I'll be there.
Jaime glanced at her watch. She really needed to discuss this all with Jonas now. It was getting serious quickly and she knew now that she didn't have time to check out Sarah's story on her own. At the end of the day it all came back to who did she really trust. The only person that Jaime knew without a shadow of doubt that she believed in was Ruth. She trusted the older woman not only with her body, but with her mind and her life. Hell, even her sister's life. And if Ruth trusted Jonas and Berkut then that was good enough for her.
Jaime also desperately wanted to bring Ruth into the loop and get this situation under control. No mission was worth screwing up what she had with the older woman. If Jonas wanted her to move forward with this mission, then Ruth needed to be brought on board.
Suddenly she looked up and realized that everyone was dispersing and the meeting had ended. Jonas and Ruth were quietly discussing something and glancing at her. Nathan snapped his laptop closed and leaned over to her.
"Don't look now Jaime, I think you're in trouble " he teased. She raised an eyebrow and simply smirked back. "Swing by later and I'll hook you up to all my new toys and see if we can find a brain in there somewhere " Nathan just dodged the swat aimed at his shoulder and scampered out of the room back to his lab chuckling to himself.
"Jonas I really think " Ruth was arguing her point but Jonas was obviously not listening to her.
"Ruth. We can discuss this later in detail I promise. First I need to talk with Jaime." Jonas turned to look at the approaching brunette.
"Jaime, head on over to my office for debriefing. I should be there in a few minutes. Jae, may I speak with you a moment?" Jonas walked away from the two women and cornered Jae at the far end of the room.
"That went well " Ruth grumbled to herself, so much for being included in Jaime's debriefing. Jonas was up to something, she could feel it. The two women wandered out into the hallway together. She glanced at Jaime and smiled. "Try to stay out of trouble for a little while will you?"
"I can't have any fun around here!" Jaime sighed dramatically before smiling back at the older woman. "I'll see what I can do, but no promises." Turning she headed down the hallway towards Jonas' office.
"Trouble. Definitely trouble " Ruth watched her lover walk away, admiring the view until she disappeared around the corner. "Luckily I'm very good at handling trouble..."
Sarah Corvus made her way out of Berkut's HVAC ducts, bolted the vent screening back into place and removed the photo of the area from in front of the closed circuit security camera. It was almost too easy. She jogged over to her white Shadow Spirit Honda 750 motorbike parked in the lot across the street and dug into her leather jacket to find her cell phone. Flipping the phone open she hit speed dial and listened to the tinny ring twice before the other end picked up.
"I've made contact. I'm meeting her Friday at nine."
"Excellent. I'm counting on you to pull this off. Don't disappoint me again Sarah." The warning in the deep accented voice came through loud and clear.
"I've got it under control." Sarah tried to ignore the veiled threat, focusing instead on the shake in her hand. She really needed another shot of Anthros' vile serum but she would hang tough as long as possible and not give in. Jaime had to help them soon; her time was seriously running short. "You just make sure that Anthros is ready for us."
"Don't worry Mein Liebling, Tony is already at the Farm. Keep me posted though. Jaime may require my personal touch."
Sarah shivered at the seductive tone of his voice, the way his German accent threaded through the words, she could almost feel him in her mind again, his hands roaming her body. It still amazed her how easily the man could turn her on. And then she noticed that the phone line had gone dead.
Flipping her phone closed, Sarah realized that Jaime Sommers was not necessarily someone she wanted to share. With anyone.
This could all get very complicated, and dangerous, if she wasn't careful.
Jaime dropped into the comfortable chair in Jonas' office. She hadn't really spent a lot of time alone in here and now took the opportunity to look around the sparsely decorated room. Not for the first time she wondered who had designed this dark dingy complex. Apparently someone very depressed.
Jaime scanned over the personal items on Jonas' desk. She knew her boss was a widower and that his daughter was now sixteen, but seeing the old family photo, the three of them happily smiling in the sunshine, it really hit home how his life had changed too in the last few years. The small framed photo beside that was one of a surly looking teenager. It had to be his daughter. She smiled recognizing the long suffering expression on the young blonde girl's face, it reminded her of Becca.
If she decided to do this, Jaime was glad at least that she wouldn't need to worry about Becca. Luckily her exams were starting next week and then Becca was on her way to see their Dad, the two of them going on a trip to Colorado together for some hiking, camping and canoeing. Becca was already moaning about the lack of phone signal she would have out there. Jaime knew it was the safest place for her to be while she did God knows what.
Jaime heard the office door click shut and she turned as Jonas entered the room and tiredly slid into his leather chair behind the desk.
"What a weekend." Jonas sighed and stared at Jaime for a moment. She wasn't really that much older than his own daughter and almost as much trouble. Almost. "Ok, I've debriefed and read Ruth and Jae's reports, so I know the basics. Start at the beginning and don't leave anything out."
Jaime looked once more at the old photo of Jonas' family and thought about her own little family forged out of difficulties and trauma. Her long night of tossing and turning boiled down to whom did she trust and if she went for it, how would this undercover assignment affect them?
Her eyes locked with Jonas' and she made her final decision. She needed to see this thing to the end, for everyone's sake and that meant trusting her gut. And right now her gut was telling her to spill it.
"Corvus made first contact and tried to convince me to leave with her." Jaime waited for a reaction but Jonas simply sat perfectly still, fingers steepled in front of his mouth. "I know we've talked about taking the opportunity if it ever came up and all the scenarios we've been running just in case it ever happened again. Well, she's offered to take me to Anthony Anthros so I can help them."
"If we can get both of them back under control..." Jonas smiled to himself at the thought of taking down both major security threats. Getting Tony Anthros back was a very high priority for his superiors. "When did this all happen?"
"It was before I linked to Berkut and after that I thought you were picking it all up during the fight we had afterwards." Jaime hesitated a moment before dropping the final piece of information. There would be no turning back from this now, she had made her choice. For better or worse she would become a company girl through and through.
"She also said that there's another one of us." Jaime arched an eyebrow in surprise, watching as Jonas turned pale before her eyes. It would have almost been funny in any other circumstance. Jaime waited as her boss just stared at her in obvious disbelief.
"It can't be he's dead." Jonas stood and started pacing.
It suddenly all made perfect sense. Everything that had been happening over the last few years all lead back to one man. Who else had intimate knowledge of how to hack into Sarah Corvus' programming, forcing her on a rampage, having her kill almost every single scientist involved in the Bionic program? Resurrecting the woman for his own unknown purposes. He clearly was behind orchestrating Anthros' escape from the super max security prison. Even Corvus' dogged attempts to get Jaime to leave Berkut. He has been systematically attacking and sabotaging Berkut missions, botching communication ties and satellite link ups, stranding Berkut operatives.
Jonas' mind reeled as he realized that he had even gone so low as to poison innocent villagers with nerve gas developed by Berkut. Stealing and selling flash drives with Jaime's bionic schematics, putting her at risk. Someone has been at war with Berkut, and now Jonas finally knew who.
Jaime wondered briefly if she had made a mistake. Jonas obviously knew much more about this than she had suspected. It's hard to play the game when you don't really know the rules. Still, Ruth trusted the man like a brother and she would believe in that. Finally catching his eye again, she tried to drag him back to the here and now
"What the hell is going on Jonas?" Jaime's tone must have finally done the trick as the older man stopped his pacing.
Jonas looked hard at the girl trapped in the middle of this mess. To hell with security clearance, she deserved the truth. He could debate the semantics with his superiors later.
"Steve Austin was the first bionic man." Jonas wandered back over to his chair. This mission had just gotten a whole lot more complex and he needed to think. "Well, the first to survive the process anyway."
"So Corvus is telling the truth?"
"It all happened in the cross over, when Berkut brought Tony Anthros over from the military and solidly got behind his bionic program. Tony had said that the military were too restrictive. They had wanted super soldiers and with funds suddenly needed to continue the fight in Iraq, there were budget cuts to his pet project. The military declared it a failure and mothballed it. It probably didn't help that his test subjects kept dying. He said that they were rejecting the bionics and that the anthrocytes needed more tweaking. Only Steve Austin had endured, his body somehow adapting and staying strong. I only met the man once before things went horribly wrong."
"What happened?" Jaime was almost afraid to ask. As if it wasn't bad enough to think she could turn into a version of Sarah Corvus, she now knew that there could be even worse consequences and she needed to know what had happened to the others of her kind.
Jonas fiddled with a pen on his desk, before finally grabbing his keys and unlocking a desk drawer. He pulled out a thick file and handed it to the girl. If she was putting her trust in him, helping Berkut to finally get the bastards, then she would know the truth. All of it.
Jaime flipped open the file and started scanning through the secret military case photographs. They made her stomach turn. Men horribly disfigured, limbs ripped from their bodies. Bionic body parts were scattered everywhere, physically yanked out, removed by the recipients themselves. Jaime swallowed hard and wondered grimly what her own future held.
"No one at Berkut was aware of the problems the military bionic subjects had. The photos speak for themselves, they pulled the bionic systems and components right out of their own bodies. No one is exactly sure what happened and then the program was mothballed." Jonas took the file back. No need for Jaime to dwell on these poor souls. He would protect her as best as he could, but there were no easy answers as to what had gone wrong with the first test subjects. Sighing he slid the file back into his drawer and continued.
"Sarah had just begun the program and had come over to us with Anthros. Austin was a little unstable and growing more agitated as time went by and it had been decided to keep them separated. But Tony Anthros secretly introduced them, even let Steve help Sarah learn how to use her new body. Tony later said they seemed to click on a certain instinctual level and he had high hopes to team them in the field together."
Jaime flashed back to her own experience when her eye and ear came online, the fear of the unknown gripping her until Sarah was suddenly there talking her through it. A part of her was glad that Sarah had some help too.
"We think now that his anthrocytes were breaking down, affecting his mind like the other bionic subjects who pulled themselves apart. But we're not really sure. My personal theory is that his former German Secret Service training kicked in somehow. I only found out later that Austin had resigned from the Geheimdienst and had originally been on contract to the government as a hot shot test pilot. When one of his test flights crashed, what was left of the man was sent to the lab. He was Tony's first true success." Jonas sighed and locked his file drawer.
"He went offline and tried to take as many of our men with him as he could. He said he was tired of being a slave, ranting about how he was better than all of us. He stole a helicopter and was blown out of the sky over the ocean. I was assured that there was no way anyone could have survived the explosion. I knew I should have tried to find the body " Jonas just shook his head. He should have known better.
Silence filled the room. Jaime didn't really know what to say, she just knew that this was suddenly a lot bigger and more dangerous assignment that she had originally thought.
Ruth looked up from pouring her cup of coffee, watching a dishevelled Jae enter the staff room. Pouring cream and slowly stirring she waited for her friend to come over and pour his own coffee.
"You look like shit." Ruth sipped at the strong brew.
"I love you too Ruth." Jae grabbed his mug and they headed over to an empty table. "Is she still in there with Jonas?"
"Yeah." Ruth sighed, a little worried. "He didn't want either of us in the meeting which was weird. I think something is up."
Jae nodded and leaned back in his chair wishing he had something stronger than coffee to drink at the moment. It had been a rough weekend and he felt guilty that Sarah was causing so much trouble again. Some day he'll make sure to burn her body himself. She'd want it that way.
"We'll find out when he's ready." Jae quietly sipped his coffee.
Ruth ran a hand through her short hair and stared hard at her old friend.
"I know. That's the part that worries me."
"She contacted you in the meeting! How in the hell ?" Jonas ran a hand over his head in frustration. Somehow Sarah had penetrated their headquarters and was talking to Jaime under his nose. It was incredibly nervy and a part of him admired the balls it took to do it.
"It's like a mental communication. Somehow through my bionic implants, I don't know how. Did Will never talk to you about it?" Jaime flushed with anger again at the mess her fiancé had gotten her into. Even microwaves come with instruction manuals.
"Will didn't talk about a lot of stuff I'm discovering." Jonas sighed and tried to focus back on the mission at hand.
"I'll meet with her and go undercover, but I want to bring Ruth and Jae on board as soon as possible so we have a plan. Nathan wants to check my module links too and then I'll be online for when " Jaime noticed Jonas didn't have a pleased look on his face. She had a sinking feeling that the other shoe was about to drop. "What Jonas?"
"There's a complication that I haven't mentioned yet. I was hoping that there would be more time and I'd have taken care of it, but " Jonas looked up grimly. "There's a mole at Berkut."
Jaime leaned back in her chair. This wasn't going to be good at all, she knew it.
"You have to look like you've gone rogue Jaime. I need Ruth to react naturally to your defection. Same with Jae and Nathan, no one must know about it. You must not reconnect your streaming visuals to Berkut. You need to stay completely undercover, reporting only to me.
"Jonas, no! I can't do that to Ruth. Not after everything she's been through with Sandy." Jaime didn't even want to think about how this would screw her relationship up.
"I don't know who the leak is Jaime. Your defection has to be very real to everyone here or your life will be in serious danger." Jonas leaned forward on his desk, trying not to show his deep frustration over the situation.
"More than it already will be you mean?" Jaime all but snarled. Jonas leaned back and sighed, understanding her very real worries. He hated putting Ruth through an emotional ringer and putting Jaime out there before she was really ready. Unfortunately they no longer had the luxury of time.
"Jaime, I promise as soon as I am able to I will tell Ruth. But until we know who the mole is, I can trust no one. And you are sworn to secrecy." Jonas didn't like having to play the game this way but his hands were tied. Hopefully Jaime would eventually realize this.
Jaime looked down at her hands, the right one flexing as if ready to hit something. She needed to do this but at what cost to her real life. She wondered what Ruth would think about all this, what she would want her to do. She'd probably want the mission to be successful. It didn't make her any happier, but Jaime made her decision.
"Let's do it."
Becca quickly turned the heat down on the stove as her stir fried beef simmered away. Jaime would be home any moment and although a part of her dreaded it, she knew that it was time to talk to her older sister. Still, she jumped a little as their apartment door opened and Jaime wandered in.
"Wow, something smells fantastic!" Jaime dropped her gym bag at the door and headed over to the kitchen. "I could smell it down the hallway."
"My world famous teriyaki stir fry." Becca beamed at her older sister who snagged a strip of beef from the pan.
"Ok, what did you do?" Jaime smiled and pulled a couple of sodas out of the fridge.
"Hey! Can't I just cook a great meal to enjoy it?" Becca saw the sceptical look and raised eyebrow and chose to ignore it. "Shut up, it could happen."
"Right. You stick to that story, sis." Jaime started pulling plates out of the cupboard as Becca found the cutlery and put them onto the small dining room table. Coming back to the stove, she scooped out the rice and stir fry and they both headed over to the table to eat in piece.
Becca squirmed a little trying to come up with the best way to bring up the topic of her new friend. Jaime just watched her and waited. Ruth had hinted that Becca needed to talk to her about something but stubbornly refused to go into it. Jaime didn't really want to bring up what Corvus had said during their fight but it had given her a big clue as to what might be bugging Becca.
"So, what's new and exciting at school?" Jaime speared a piece of beef and tried to get the girl to open up a bit. It had been a while since they'd had a deep talk and a wave of guilt washed over her. She was such a bad parental unit.
Becca took a deep drink of her Diet Coke and decided it was now or never.
"Well, actually. I've been meaning to talk to you about my friend April."
"Your chem lab partner?" Jaime asked, worried there were new issues with a classmate for her to have to deal with on top of everything else.
"Yeah. We've been hanging out a lot lately and well," Becca paused, trying to figure out the best way to put it. "I think I'm beginning to like her."
"Well, she's nice isn't she? Why wouldn't you " Jaime was confused.
"No, you don't understand. I mean LIKE her, like her." Becca wondered how many shades of red she had just turned.
"Oh. OH!" Jaime finally clued in. This was the girl Corvus had seen Becca out with! At least she hoped so anyway. "Really?"
Becca merely nodded silently. Why was this so hard to do? She glanced up from her plate to see Jaime's wide grin.
"Is she cute?" Jaime gently probed. Her sister was more like her than she thought.
Becca's smile grew as she thought of the petite blonde. She remembered dancing with her at the bar last week, how April moved and the feelings that had swept over her. It was the same but different. It was still a little weird to think about a girl this way, but at the same time it felt right too.
"Yeah. I think so anyway." Becca shyly glanced down and played with her food. Jaime simply nodded her head and kept eating, waiting for whatever else Becca wanted to say.
"And she's so smart, and funny." Becca's appetite was coming back now that she had taken the plunge and told Jaime. She dug into her meal with more gusto than a minute ago. What had she been so worried about?
"So, when can I meet her?"
Oh, shit. Becca's fork stopped halfway to her mouth. She hadn't thought that far ahead.
Later that night, Jaime lay in her big bed alone. Ruth would be off site tomorrow and would be heading out early so had stayed at her place. She missed the warmth of Ruth beside her, and it was obviously something she was becoming very addicted to. Even though she liked having her own space, a part of her longed to have the blonde with her night and day. This mission was not going to bring that about any time soon.
Sighing, Jaime flicked out the light and fluffed up her pillow trying to get comfy. Tossing and turning for a while, she finally settled on her back and stared up at her ceiling. Worries about the undercover assignment were bothering her, so many thoughts raced through her mind. She didn't even realize she had grabbed her cell phone until she heard it ringing on the other end.
"So you couldn't sleep either?" Ruth's tired voice soon came through the line, making her smile.
"Nope. I miss your snoring." Jaime teased. She waited for the usual come back. She wasn't disappointed.
"I do not snore." Ruth continued to deny the truth. Jaime just smiled wider, enjoying the familiar argument.
"Right and I don't hog the blankets." Jaime said as she tucked the blankets around herself, snuggling down into the cocoon of warmth. Ruth's long suffering sigh said it all.
"So how did things go with Becca?"
"Better than I expected. She's interested in a girl and I think it's freaked her out a bit actually admitting it." Jaime flashed back to her own slight panic attack when coming out to Becca about Ruth. "It was fine. I'm not sure we'll be able to meet her friend April before Becca flies out next week."
"No rush. Becca might meet someone new over the summer anyway. I'm just glad she finally talked about it." Ruth started to yawn, making Jaime yawn too.
"I should let you get some sleep, you're up early tomorrow." Jaime said quietly, feeling calmer and more settled now that she'd heard Ruth's voice. "Love you."
"I love you too. Night." She could hear the smile in Ruth's voice as the line went dead.
Jaime switched her phone off and put it back onto the nightstand. Rolling to her side she ran a hand across the pillow on Ruth's side of the bed. When did it become Ruth's side? Jaime smiled to herself and let herself sink into contented sleep.
It was turning into a long frustrating week and Jaime started to grow anxious for Friday to arrive already. The secret meetings with Jonas going over strategies was driving her nuts, and keeping secrets from her friends and family was not fun. Jonas was starting to see potential threats everywhere and Jaime simply didn't want to believe anyone she knew was the mole.
By Wednesday afternoon Nathan had poked and prodded her to within an inch of his life, and finally realized that they simply needed to harmonize the new frequency of her streaming visual feed to the Berkut computer systems. Once Jaime was certain she could transmit again to Berkut she quickly disconnected the link and Nathan's mood plummeted, his apparent failure upsetting him. She felt bad having to deceive him but she knew it had to be done. Jonas smoothly reallocated Nathan to another assignment for a bit to distract him from what was really going on with Jaime.
When Friday finally arrived it was a scorcher of a day. At lunch with Ruth on the patio of their favourite restaurant, Jaime had casually mentioned that her friends were in town and had planned to get together to go clubbing and catch up. Inside she was already anxious to meet up with Corvus and wished for the millionth time that she could talk to Ruth about it.
Friday's daytime heat turned into a cool damp evening. Jaime would much rather have stayed in and snuggled up with Ruth on the couch watching a movie. Her days of a happy home life would soon be coming to an end and she wanted to savour every moment while she could. Instead she had lied and snuck out into the night to her secret rendezvous. She knew Jonas was right and it was time to step the mission up a notch.
Jaime parked her Saab in the South West parking lot and made her way along the sidewalk to the bridge. She knew the pedestrian sidewalk closed at 9 p.m. but she sped past the security gates, a blur of colour the only thing the cameras would pick up. Jaime slowed her pace as she approached the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Stopping beside the tower, she looked around, Corvus no where to be seen.
Sighing, Jaime leaned against the rail and stared out over the ocean. It still annoyed her that Ruth was being kept in the dark. It was hard to lie to the woman. Not only was she excellent at reading people, she could easily pick up the smallest changes in the way Jaime acted. It was endearing and irritating as hell sometimes. All in all it was very hard to keep a secret from the woman.
Jaime had tried all week to not dwell on how it must have hurt Ruth to see Sarah kissing her on Sunday. What made it worse was she knew that that would just be the tip of the iceberg and that there would be a lot more damage to her relationship very soon. A flood of guilt and sadness washed over her.
"What the hell am I doing " Jaime whispered to the moon slowly rising over the water. Movement above her caught her attention, and she turned just in time to see Corvus drop down from the lowest cross beam of the tower and land with cat like grace on the sidewalk below.
"I wonder that myself all the time beautiful." Sarah Corvus sauntered forward, the clink of her Zippo lighter opening followed by the flickering flame igniting her cigarette. "I'm glad you came."
"I gave you my word Sarah. I won't go back on that." Jaime leaned against the metal rail and watched the blonde move closer, slowly taking a deep drag on her cigarette. Exhaling, the smoke lazily circled the other woman's head before the breeze caught it and pulled it away into the darkness. Jaime swallowed hard as Corvus finally stood beside her, staring out over the railing, watching the fog starting to make its way across the water.
"I love the view from here. If the suicide barriers they are planning actually go through it will really distract from it." Sarah took another long drag. Jaime turned around and stared out at the view as well. "Did you know that this bridge is the favourite place to commit suicide in America, maybe even the world?"
Their eyes locked and Corvus smirked at the girl before taking her cigarette and flicking it over the rail. The two of them watched the small glow and minute trail of embers fall away, bionic eyes tracking the velocity, distance and projected trajectory with estimated wind speed, before it disappeared into the water below.
"It's time for you to take the plunge Jaime. The old you died that night in that wreckage wrapped around a pole. When she died, the old rules went with her. It's time to join your true family now." Corvus stared hard at the girl hoping she wouldn't need the syringe in her pocket to put the girl out and force her to come along.
"Sarah, I don't know " Jaime sighed and looked back over the water, the moon starting to cloud over.
"Do you think Berkut is the only game in town?" Sarah snorted, watching Jaime's reactions carefully as she turned to frown at the blonde. It was time to make her point and see if Jaime went for the bait. "Think again sister. There are a lot of deep pockets out there. A lot more people we can help, if we work together."
Sarah glanced at the obviously torn girl and switched her tactics a little.
"Were you able to find out any more about the man I told you about? Or did Jonas just erase him like they make all their dirty secrets just disappear? Were there any reports on how they worked with him, helped him deal with his bionic replacements after the fireball of his plane crash all but destroyed his body?" Sarah watched as Jaime just looked down at her hands. The sad truth was hitting home. Berkut was just using her, just as they had used all of them.
"His name is Steve Austin, and he wants to meet you Jaime." Sarah's eyes locked with Jaime's before she continued.
"He was Anthros' first creature, the first bionic man. The military and Berkut used him up and spat him out. It's what they do y'know. You're just the latest weapon at their disposal. He was the first of us to break free. Steve Austin is fucking amazing after all the shit Berkut did to him. His vision, his destiny, it's ours too Jaime. We need to go to him now if you want to survive, if you don't want to be just another meat puppet of Berkut."
Jaime blinked at the obvious passion Sarah had for Austin's plans, his agenda. It was almost like a religious zealot preaching insane doctrine. She needed to tread carefully here now, and not look too eager to join them. Jonas had thought it best to play a little hard to get. Here's hoping he was right.
"I need more time think about this all and get my life in order. I told you that at the lake Sarah. Becca is almost done exams and then she's off to visit our Dad for the summer. It will be easier for her to just stay there with him when I disappear. She'll be safe and I can focus on this, on us, with a clear head. I need to make a clean break and then I can come with you to see Anthros, to get this all under control. I can't promise you anything else."
Sarah stared hard at the girl, fingering the syringe in her leather jacket pocket. Jaime seemed sincere. Hell, the woman always seemed sincere and innocent. She was looking forward to rubbing some of the glow off her halo. It would be so much better for all concerned with Jaime willingly going along with them. Austin would just have to understand. Decision made, Corvus smiled and nodded her agreement with the plan.
"Fine." Sarah slipped a card out of her pocket pushing it into the brunette's hand. Leaning closer, she could hear Jaime's heart beating faster, feel her breath puff warm against her cheek, before gently tasting the soft lips one more time. Time seemed to stop, as long fingers started to thread their way into her blonde hair and their kiss deepened. Gradually Jaime pulled away, panting.
"Slow Sarah. I need to go slow " Jaime stepped back, guilt churning at her stomach.
Corvus just smiled. Patience was a virtue, one of the few she still possessed. She could wait. Nodding silently Corvus disappeared once more into the shadows and the night.
Ruth's eyes popped open as she heard her bedroom door click shut, all of her senses going on alert. She slid her hand under the edge of the mattress and felt the comfort of the cold steel of her back up gun. Quickly formulating her plan of attack against the intruder, a heavy sigh and the sound of clothing being removed gave away the intruder's identity.
"Jaime?" Ruth released her grip on her weapon and rolled over as the bed dipped down on the other side of the mattress and her blankets mysteriously were pulled away from her. Smiling she moved closer to the warm body now occupying her bed.
"I missed you." Jaime happily found herself in Ruth's embrace, nuzzling her cold nose along the warmth of the other woman's neck. "You know I can't sleep right without you. I left Becca a message that I was here if she needed us." Jaime's voice sounded half asleep already.
"Night baby." Ruth whispered into the long dark hair, idly stroking through it. Kissing the top of her head, she noted the scent of cigarettes and a vaguely familiar perfume. Before long Ruth felt the girl drift off, long soft breaths warming the sensitive skin along her collarbone, happy that Jaime was safe in her arms again.
If she was honest, Ruth knew she would sleep better now too. Snuffling into the soft dark hair, she smiled to herself. She was turning into such a softie. Her eyes blinked, then shut and she quickly followed her lover back to sleep.
It had been over a week. He had held strong and not given in to the urges, the strange thoughts entering his mind. He knew what he was doing is wrong, but he couldn't stop himself. Eventually it was like a fire in his brain, a tingle that grew white hot, driving him to his knees if he resisted. It happened before and it will happen again. Just like he somehow knew he will forget about this all again until the next time and it made his stomach turn with frustration and despair.
He stepped out of his car into the bright afternoon sunshine and walked to the bank of pay phones outside the shopping centre. He didn't even have to think about it, the phone number was programmed into his head. He struggled with himself trying to resist the urge, the silent command to grasp the handset, fighting with himself not to punch the numbers. He heard it ringing and waited for the man with a German accent to pick up on the other end. He knows who will pick up, just as clearly as he knows that he will forget this all again.
"It's me." The man ground out as he has been programmed to do.
"Good, you're right on schedule. What do you have for me today?" He can hear the smug smile in the accented voice. Anger flashed through him but still he replied.
"Berkut has an inside man on the silver job." He spat out, disgusted at his weakness. He wished he could pull out his piece and stop himself, but he can't.
"What is his name?"
"Dekker." The phone line went dead, the dial tone buzzing. Slowly the phone is hung up and the informant disappeared into the afternoon shopping throng, a white fog shrouding his mind. Soon he won't even notice the missing five minutes of his day.
Becca reluctantly finished packing her bag. This totally sucked. The last week of school had flown by and she had finally finished her exams and now she was being shipped off to the wilderness with her hippy dippy father. She still questioned the wisdom of this little summer adventure. Zipping her large duffle bag closed she heard a knock at the apartment door.
Dashing out of her room, Becca turned the music down a bit, then whipped open the door and stared, pleasantly surprised.
"April!" The tall blonde girl stood before her, adorably shuffling her feet from side to side. Becca couldn't help the grin that came to her face. Grabbing the girl by the arm, she tugged her into the apartment.
"I know you're heading out soon. I just wanted to see you one more time before, you know " April shrugged her shoulder and looked down at her boots.
"I know " Becca smiled and softly kissed the tall blonde. They didn't even notice the door opening. A loud cough took them by surprise and they sprung apart.
"I sure hope you're April." Jaime smiled, enjoying her sister's embarrassment as she walked further into the room.
"Flight leaves in an hour ladies, we've got to get a move on." Ruth closed the door behind her and stopped short at the surprised girls standing in front of them.
"April, this is my sister Jaime and her girlfriend Ruth." Becca finally found her voice and tangled her fingers with the other girls, and received a gentle squeeze for support.
"Would you like to come with us to the airport or ?" Jaime offered. Becca's dark eyes lit up and April smiled.
"I just gotta call my parents and make sure it's ok first." April flipped open her cell phone and hit the speed dial, stepping into the kitchen to speak with her mom.
Ruth and Jaime exchanged a pleased look. Smart, polite and respects her parents rules. What the heck did Becca see in the girl? They both looked at Becca, who merely rolled her eyes and smirked.
"Don't start. Either of you " Becca shook her head and went to grab her duffle bag before the tormenting and teasing really began. It was going to be a long ride to the airport.
Becca turned as April hung up her cell phone, and beamed happily at her, nodding that she could go. Her stomach did a little flip flop and Becca sadly realized that the ride actually wasn't going to be nearly long enough.
The plane had taken off on schedule and April had been returned home. Ruth had been dropped back at her place, another lie told to keep her off the trail of what was really going on. If Jonas was right then tonight could be it.
Earlier that morning Jaime had called the number on the card Sarah had given her. Corvus had picked up on the first ring, sounding sleepy. She had given her instructions, telling her to pick up a package at the reception at the Regency Hotel at 8 pm. Jaime looked up now at the old hotel and wondered what awaited her inside.
Jaime soon made her way down a long hallway, her leather boots silent in the thick carpeting as she left the elevator on the 17th floor. The envelope that had been left waiting for her at reception held a key card for the room at the end of the hall. Sliding the card through the reader, the door lock clicked and she slowly pushed the door and cautiously entered the room.
"I wasn't sure you'd come." Sarah Corvus sat in a black leather club chair facing the panoramic view of San Francisco.
"I wasn't sure I'd come either. How did you know? "Jaime walked deeper into the room and stopped to stare down at the blonde.
"I can't give away all my secrets now can I? At least, not yet " Sarah lifted an eyebrow and poured more wine into her glass and filling a second one for Jaime. Sliding down into the other soft leather club chair, Jaime took the offered drink and tried to relax a little.
"To new beginnings." Sarah's eyes narrowed and she waited, pleased when Jaime smiled back. Their glasses met halfway with a delicate clink before they each took a drink.
"I've done some digging and haven't come up with much on your so called mystery man. I'm beginning to doubt that he's real." Jaime carefully watched Sarah's reactions, trying to gauge her response. She needed to gain her trust if this mission was to be successful.
"Oh, he's real all right." Sarah gracefully rolled to her feet and strolled over to the balcony door. Sliding it open Jaime felt the warm night air flow into the chilly hotel room, and she stood to follow the blonde outside onto the long balcony. A movement to the right caught Jaime's attention and she startled to see a man standing there.
Ruth flicked through the channels on her television set and sighed. There was nothing worth her time on it seemed although Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals looked tempting. Someday she would retire and really get into cooking. She liked losing herself in the simple pleasure of following a recipe and playing with ingredients to create amazing meals. In another life she often wondered if she would have made a good chef.
Slipping her dark rimmed reading glasses on, a hard fought concession to getting older, Ruth grabbed the latest psychiatric journal and tried to get back into an article she had been trying to read earlier. She put it back down again after reading the same paragraph for the third time and still didn't know what it said.
She sighed and checked her watch. Jaime had said that she would be out with her friend Amy until quite late. It still amazed her how easily she was slipping back into domesticity. And although she liked her own space, when she was on her own, a lot of the time she missed being with Jaime.
She wondered what her dark beauty was up to as she tucked her feet up under her and tried to settle into the latest recipe Rachel was whipping up.
"As you can see I'm quite real." Steve Austin stood very still, trying not to spook the girl. He wasn't sure yet how sincere she was to their cause. Unfortunately only time would tell. In the meantime, he would just have to trust his gut and Sarah's judgement.
"Jaime Sommers, this is Steve Austin." Sarah sauntered over to the railing, stopping midway between the other two.
Jaime stepped forward and extended a tentative hand to the large man. He didn't look insane, but then again neither did Sarah, so that didn't really mean much did it. He smiled kindly, glancing momentarily to Sarah, before taking Jaime's offered hand and shaking it
"It is very nice to finally meet you in person. Sarah speaks very highly of you." Austin stepped back to the railing watching Jaime very carefully. She would be an excellent addition to his little army, and if things worked out she could very easily fit into his personal life as well. His eyes raked down her lithe frame and moved back up to meet her bold stare. An excellent addition indeed.
"I'm afraid I cannot stay long this evening. We have some unfinished business to take care of before we rendezvous with Tony Anthros and begin the work on upgrading all of our anthrocytes and bionic interfaces. Sarah will fill you in along the way. I just wanted to meet you. I'm sure this is the beginning of an amazing era. Berkut won't know what hit them." Steve's eyes seemed to gleam a little unnaturally.
"Whoa, I only signed on to help with the bionic upgrades " Jaime started backing up a little, not wanting to come across too easy to the other side. Play it cool Sommers. Jonas had warned her she might have to prove herself to them, complete some tests of her loyalty. She only hoped she could pull it off.
"Mein Shatz," Austin's voice softened as he moved closer to the skittish woman. "As I'm sure dear Jonas has drilled into you, you are carrying millions of dollars worth of their equipment in your body. I don't think they will take too kindly to you just disappearing with it, despite the fact that it's your body. Funny thing, like our transplants make you their property now too. Isn't it annoying?"
Jaime had to admit it was. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Sarah smiling, enjoying the show. Sarah was as much a kept minion as Jaime was with Berkut, didn't she realize that? Jaime turned her attention back to the tall man. He was certainly different than she expected.
He was tall and rugged looking, his German accent attractive and interesting. She could tell he was strong from the build of his body, and even if he wasn't bionic he would be hard to beat in a fight. He was checking her out just as curiously.
She felt Sarah come up beside her, and drape an arm across her shoulders, her breath hot in her ear sending shivers down her spine. Damn the woman.
"Tell your masters to go fuck themselves Jaime. You're one of us now." Sarah glanced up at Austin, his eyes growing dark as he watched her nuzzle along Jaime's earlobe. Join us.
Jaime took a step back, away from both of them. It was overwhelming, the closeness and intimacy of the whole thing, right down to the seductive caress of Sarah in her mind. Her thoughts raced with where this could lead to, the searing flames of desire licking through her veins. She took a calming breath and took another step back, just missing the shared look of understanding between Austin and Corvus.
"It's a lot to take in, you know." Jaime quickly got her hormones back under control. "I said I would join you, to help get our bionics worked out and I will. Becca is with my dad now and I just need to finish off a few things, pick up some stuff and then I can go with you."
Sarah glanced up at Steve, before smiling back at Jaime. In unison they raised their glasses, Steve's voice calm and reassuring.
"In that case, welcome to the family Jaime."
Her bags were packed, fridge cleaned out and lights turned off at her apartment. There was only one more thing to take care of. Jaime sat outside Ruth's small house, dreading what she needed to do next. Each step to the door shattered another piece of her heart. Unlocking the front door, she entered and made her way into the living room.
"Ruth?" Jaime hated herself for what she was about to do. The blonde looked up at her from her spot on the couch, concerned eyes following her movement across the room.
"Hey, you're back early." Ruth smiled up as Jaime leaned over to give her a quick kiss.
Jaime didn't move away though, instead running a hand along Ruth's soft cheek, her thumb outlining the full bottom lip. How she longed to lift the woman into her arms and take her to bed, one last time. Jaime blinked away the tears threatening to fall. This was so hard.
"What's the matter?" Ruth stood slowly, finding herself pulled into a much needed hug. Something was wrong with Jaime, it practically poured off her in waves. Ruth ran a hand into the long dark hair and waited for her to speak.
Jaime smiled sadly and shook her head, before leaning forward, gently kissing the soft lips before her. It wasn't with a searing hunger like the wave of lust that had hit earlier that night at the hotel but with a much deeper emotion, with all the passion beating in her heart and love living deep in her soul. Ruth pulled back to take a much needed breath, but didn't pull her body away, instead holding on tighter to the quiet brunette.
Right now Jaime felt that she could tell Ruth anything and she could make it all right, fix the problem, and show her the way to go. There was still so much to be said, so much to tell her lover, but she knew she couldn't. She cursed Jonas, as a flush of anger at the whole unfair situation rushed through her, before Jaime was once more distracted by the woman in her arms.
Screw it. The mission could wait a little while longer. Jaime needed to say good bye to Ruth properly.
Ruth's hands stroked and caressed the length of Jaime's back, the natural strength of months of training flexing beneath her fingers. Up and down the crisp fabric, hypnotic and seductive. Jaime dropped her head to the older woman's shoulder, lips finding their way to her neck, pressing light kisses there. Ruth's head fell back with a groan, exposing even more skin to the soft lips.
Jaime was almost satisfied to just continue to nibble on Ruth's neck, enjoying the twitch of the erratic pulse point under her lips and the feel of the low growlly moans vibrating against her. Somehow though Ruth had managed to work Jaime's shirt out of her jeans and slipped her hands underneath, exploring tight abs before finally finding full aching breasts.
Gasping at the touch, Jaime needed to feel the older woman naked against her, the thrill of skin on skin. Reluctantly Jaime pulled away from Ruth, lost for a moment in the desire blazing fiercely through her. She absently grabbed the hands exploring her body as she moved away.
"Ruth?" Jaime's voice hitched, memorizing the beauty standing before her. Ruth's skin was flushed, head tossed back with her eyes still closed, lips parted and panting. At the sound of Jaime's soft words she opened her eyes, hazel had paled to warm grey with want, her body shivering with need.
Without much thought, Jaime slid her hands down around Ruth's back to her legs, and lifted her effortlessly off the floor. Ruth smiled softly and slipped her arms around Jaime's neck, holding on as they made their way to the bedroom. Dipping her head down, Ruth captured the tender lips before her and briefly stopped their momentum, the sweet distraction obviously affecting Jaime's concentration. Kicking the bedroom door open and finding the bed, Jaime finally leaned forward and gently laid her on the duvet.
Quickly pulling her cell phone and other items out of her pocket to place carefully onto the nightstand, Jaime seductively slid her short leather jacket off dropping it to the floor, and then started popping her shirt buttons open. Jaime soon found Ruth's hands once more on her, helping to slide the soft material from her shoulders and dragging the offending clothes off her body. Jaime lowered her head to kiss Ruth, keeping just enough room between them for her bra to be unclasped and dropped to the floor. Her jeans and panties quickly found their way to the same pile on the carpet.
Leaning over Ruth, Jaime started to unbutton Ruth's blouse, slowly twisting them open one at a time to reveal the older woman's body. Not soon enough the last button was undone and she spread the soft material wide. An open shirt, splayed across the bed, white lace bra and an evil grin beckoned to Jaime. She committed the image to memory, knowing that she would want to remember everything about this later. She didn't want to think about that now though. Now she just wanted to make love with Ruth.
Stretching out, Jaime started to place soft kisses along Ruth's strong jaw line, making her way to her sensitive earlobe as her hands explored the soft curves below her.
"You have way too much on. I thought we were going to work on that hmm?" Jaime rasped hotly, pleased as Ruth arched against her with a moan. Sliding a long naked leg between Ruth's she pressed against her, feeling the heat of her arousal even through the soft denim jeans. Strong hands wrapped around Jaime's waist and pull her down even tighter against her lover. Ruth's soft chuckle sent a shiver across her skin and she rolled them slightly, tugging the blouse off the older woman's shoulders kissing her way over the newly exposed skin. With one hand she unclasped the white lace bra and slid it from her lover's body.
Jaime's hands caressed the soft skin of Ruth's breasts, watching the nipples grow stiff with the touch. Dipping her head for a quick kiss to each one, she moved down the toned abs to find the offending zipper to Ruth's jeans. Moving quickly she soon slid her thumbs under the waistband and pulled off the remainder of Ruth's clothes. Inching down the blonde's body with the jeans, she let them fall to the floor and then took a long look at the toned body waiting for her touch.
"You are so beautiful " The words were whispered but neither was sure who spoke them.
Jaime hesitated a moment longer then once more stretched over Ruth. Skin on skin, breasts pushing against each other, legs tangling together, Jaime felt waves of desire course through her body her need so strong. Her brain seemed to melt down as Ruth first gently then more demandingly kissed her, claiming her as her own.
Ruth's hands were suddenly everywhere on Jaime's body. One hand is cupping the gentle swell of her breast, a thumb teasing and rolling her hardened nipple. The other hand is at the small of Jaime's back, long fingers tracing abstract patterns along the slope of her butt cheeks. Involuntarily her hips started to rock, gently thrusting against Ruth, needing more contact.
Ruth rolled Jaime to her back, breaking their kiss, starting a trail of nips and licks down her torso. Writhing beneath the onslaught, all Jaime could do is moan and watch the blonde head move along her body. Her hand runs across tight abs to caress a hip before brushing across a muscled thigh. Jaime's hips thrust up, searching desperately for some kind of contact.
"Please Ruth," Jaime whispered, soft and needy. Her body throbbed, quivering with anticipation, Ruth's teasing hands and demanding lips skimming across her skin driving her passion higher. She watched helpless as Ruth settled between her long legs, hazel eyes dancing with passion before her fingers disappeared lower, slipping into the wetness found there. With a gasp, her body tensed, hips jerking up as Ruth ran a thumb across her stiff clit.
"God Jaime," Ruth murmured, slipping two fingers in very slowly stretching and filling, penetrating deep. All else was lost in Jaime's moans as Ruth added another finger and started to build their pace.
Jaime clenched the bed sheets, desperate for her release. With the last shred of her thinking mind, she moved her bionic hand to grip the headboard, making sure it was well away from doing any possible harm to Ruth in the throws of passion. Sinking back into the heat of the moment, she watched mesmerized as Ruth's blonde head dipped, then bucked hard as the hot wet touch of her tongue flicked against her clit before being gently sucked.
Body arching, Jaime gasped for her breath, calling out into the night. All too soon the first waves of pleasure washed over her, her body vibrating with unspent energy. Ruth's long fingers continued to thrust deep inside, slower than before, letting Jaime catch her breath again. The light pressure soon built, her body once more twitching with need. Without warning, Ruth's fingers curled, finding that spot she knew Jaime couldn't resist. Brushing the needy clit with her tongue at the same time, she easily pushed Jaime over the edge again.
Scattered senses starting to calm, Jaime lay limp, aware that her arms were once more filled with Ruth, whose soft kisses seemed to help center her again. A satisfied sigh escaped from the kiss bruised lips and Ruth chuckled, obviously pleased with herself.
"I didn't wear you out, did I?" Ruth nibbled a sensitive earlobe.
"Oh, no " Jaime murmured. "I'm just plotting my plan of attack."
Rewarded with a soft snort or amusement, Jaime gathered her strength and ran her fingers through the short tousled hair, nuzzling along the soft tufts and breathing Ruth's familiar scent in. She was going to miss this. A lot. She squeezed tighter, afraid of what her future held for her. She needed to touch, taste and have this woman.
Reversing their positions, Jaime stared down at her lover, admiring how great Ruth looked beneath her, naked and wanting. She could feel her moving, searching out contact, needing her touch as much as Jaime wanted to. She let her hand run the length of the toned body, watching the warm hazel grey eyes grow dark with desire. Her touch was light and teasing, like butterfly wings fluttering across the sensitive skin and Ruth pressed against her hand needing more.
Jaime thrilled to the low throaty moans, watching Ruth's reactions to her touch. Finally unable to resist any longer, she lowered her lips to her neck first, her tongue licking a hot path down before sucking a bit of tender her skin into her mouth. Moving slowly she finally reached her breasts, taking a stiff nipple into her mouth, tugging and teasing her, before switching to the other side. Ruth's hands dragged through the long dark hair, holding her right where she wanted her.
Jaime smiled against the soft skin, as Ruth put her hands on her shoulders and encouraged her downward with gentle pushes. Taking the hint she started to move down, trailing small kisses across her ticklish stomach. When she finally felt the blonde curls against her chin, Ruth's hands immediately wrapped into her hair pushing her to where she needed her to be the most. The scent of her desire reached Jaime and she could no longer hold back. Looking up over the swell of her stomach, she could see Ruth's upper body arched in anticipation, her eyes closed tight, waiting.
Soft moaning filled the air as Jaime moved the last few inches to answer the pleas for release. Her tongue slid into the slick wetness, that simple touch setting her own body on fire once again. She pressed against the hardness, the stiff nub needing her attention and she was rewarded with a growl of pleasure as Ruth pushed her hips up into the touch. Jaime's tongue slid around enough to put her lips around the clit and start to suck.
"God Jaime, yes " Ruth hissed as Jaime moved lower and pressed her tongue into her opening, hips jerking violently upwards.
Jaime ran her hands along muscled thighs to find Ruth's hips, pressing her down onto the mattress to keep her right where she wanted her. A few shallow thrusts with her tongue and Ruth was thrashing and moaning incoherently. Finally licking a searing path back towards the throbbing clit, she moved her hand, silently hoping that Ruth wouldn't jerk upward too much. Taking the stiff clit back into the languid heat of her mouth, Jaime sucked and eased her fingers deep into Ruth.
Immediately Ruth started to clench around her fingers, pulling them greedily further inside. Her hips bucked erratically, dancing along the edge, desperate for Jaime to tip her over to the other side. Jaime held on until finally Ruth exploded, twitching and writhing against her. She didn't stop her movements until Ruth calmed, then gently pulled away. Jaime placed her head on the soft stomach, watching it rise and fall with each breath, enjoying the intimacy of the moment.
Feeling gentle tugs at her scalp to move, Jaime kissed her way back up her lover's flushed body, before curling tight beside Ruth, tossing her leg possessively over the older woman. Snuggling closer, tears started to well again. Jaime didn't want this to end, but she knew it was time.
"Hey, what is going on with you?" Ruth murmured concerned, wiping a slowly falling tear from Jaime's cheek. "You know you can tell me anything "
"Trust that I love you, no matter what happens." Jaime whispered against the older woman's lips. "I'm so sorry."
Jaime pressed her lips to Ruth's, rolling slightly to grab the auto injector Corvus had given her from the night stand. Ruth just had a moment for confusion to cloud her hazel eyes before Jaime injected her, the heavy drug quickly knocking her lover unconscious. Holding Ruth's limp body tighter, she snuggled for a few moments more, eyes growing bright with unshed tears before she pulled away, tucking her carefully under the covers.
Dressing quickly Jaime hesitated and then pulled Ruth's old 49's t-shirt from the laundry hamper. Pressing it to her nose she could still smell suntan lotion, car polish and Ruth. It was coming with her. Picking up her cell phone she dialled a home phone number she now knew by heart.
"It's me. I'm on my way. Ruth's work laptop is here, I'm taking it to them." She listened closely before speaking again. "Understood." She sighed as more tears welled, and she knew this was it. Her time had finally run out.
"Take care of my family Jonas," Jaime whispered into the phone, as she looked down at her unconscious lover. "I need something to come home to."
With that she shut off her cell phone and dropped it to the nightstand, her last link to Berkut severed and left behind. Cupping Ruth's cheek and running her fingers into her soft hair one last time, Jaime placed a final kiss on the sweet lips and stood. Taking what she needed, Jaime left the small house, locking the door quietly behind her.
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