DISCLAIMER: They are not mine, I'm just rubbing them together to see what
happens. I have nothing except my fishing tackle, so don't sue me.
BETA READING: If you want to, please get in touch with me. PLEASE!! (English is not my first language.)
SPOILERS: Pilot and Doublecrossover.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Hello and Goodbye
By The Raven
Terri Lowell pulled up to the curb of an average, but nice looking suburban home. After switching off the ignition of the car she paused to look at the scene that was laid out before her. A striking dark haired woman was trying to herd a dog and two daughters into the house, while juggling with groceries and keys at the same time. The woman had not noticed the car as of yet, something which caused Terri a brief moment of consternation. It was obvious that the comforting air of safety that suburbia offered had dulled the keen edge that Terri new the woman had once possessed. Sighing softly, Terri opened the car door and stood up, instantly feeling the heat of the sun bear down on her and the stifling humidity of the season. She ignored it, willing the woman to look up and pay attention to her, before giving up and walking towards the driveway of the house. Now the woman did look up, and Terri did not miss the slight shadow of doubt that crossed the woman's features before she straightened out and jubilantly called out.
"Terri, how are you? What are you doing here? It has been a long time..."
Terri allowed a small smile to grace her lips before replying to the other woman.
"Yes I know Fari, a long time seems to have passed. I am sad to say that I am not here for pleasure, we have a situation and you need to be relocated immediately. There is reason to believe that your security has been compromised."
Terri felt a stab of regret at having to tell Fari the sad and frightening news. That regret turned into anger when she saw Fari's expressive face twist itself into an expression that betrayed her true feelings for a moment, before the woman composed herself and started to speed up the rounding up of dog and daughters into the house.
"Right now?" Fari asked as she struggled with the keys to her door, her hands shaking with nervousness that was not all because of the news she had just received. Fari finally managed to complete the task and now more chaos ensued as everyone and everything tried to get indoors at once. The dog managed to escape the grasp of the younger of Fari's daughters and the girl immediately went to go after the canine. Her mother's voice stopped her in her tracks, brooking no refusal or argument.
"Get him later, come inside now!" Fari was firm, but she could sense that her younger daughter deeply resented the order even as she complied with it.
Terri waited while the other woman got her children somewhat settled and could turn her attention completely to the bringer of bad tidings who, true to her nature, was waiting very patiently.
"Tell me what is going on!" Fari said. Her voice was controlled but at the same time tinged with a weariness that Terri could only imagine. Fari had been through this before. Her husband was a Syrian diplomat who had helped the CIA prevent an attack on Europe that would have cost many lives. In return the CIA had relocated the man and his family and provided them with security and new identities. The transition had been tough and demanding, more so for the family of course. It was not an easy thing to adjust to a new environment, country, culture and system, never mind having to do it because you were in fear of your life and probably destined to a life of hiding and running as a consequence of doing the right thing.
Terri shook her head minutely to bring herself back to the present. Fari needed and deserved an answer to her question.
"The birthday party that your younger daughter was at yesterday. There was a news group there due to a disturbance caused by a monkey. Your daughter was asked a question and as a consequence, her face and her voice were broadcast on TV. There are people looking for you, and we simply cannot afford to take the risk that your cover was blown. You have to start packing now, we will leave before nightfall." Terri tried to summarize into as few words as possible what the situation was, as time was of the essence. In other words, there was not time to waste.
Fari covered her mouth with her hand and Terri could see the sheen of unshed tears on her eyes. Instinctively Terri reached out to embrace the other woman, wishing to comfort her and protect her, though she knew that in the end, she could not, or at least not alone.
Fari accepted the embrace for some moments, clinging to the taller woman, and hiding her face for some seconds before collecting herself and pulling away. The two women looked into eachothers eyes and for some brief eternities the world stopped, and they remembered.
Terri Lowell looked at the documents before her, it was her job to forge and create new ones. Ones that would pass any muster and protect the people they were assigned to, the people whose names would be erased because of them. She found her job interesting and stimulating, and in just a few moments, the first of the 4 people in question would arrive to be scanned and screened, photographed and assessed. That would make the job of creating the new papers possible. Hearing a commotion in the hallway, Terri put on her professional mask and looked up just as the door opened. A dark and striking woman walked in, she had smiling eyes and even though she wore clothing that did not reveal her body, Terri's trained eyes could tell that she had a body to match her face. It was only the fact that Terri was a highly trained professional and that she kept her preferences and private life out of her work place completely that allowed her to seem like she was only mildly curious about the woman who was now walking towards her. Never mind that she was married, to a client of the CIA, and a highly classified commodity at that. However, Terri reasoned as the woman came to a halt in front of her, no harm in looking, as long as that's all she did.
"Hello, I am Fari." The woman intoned in perfect English, her accent somehow managing to wrap itself around Terri's libido instantly. Terri smiled and took the hand, and almost dropped it from the charge of electricity she felt course up her arm and into her body. Again, training made sure she simply shook the hand and introduced herself, an outsider would not have been able to tell that the charge of electricity had settled itself into her lower abdomen.
Terri invited the woman to sit, thankful for once that her profession meant that she could openly look at people, and scrutinize them down to minute detail. Over the next two hours, Terri reshaped the woman's identity, giving her family, history, education, work experience, and documentation that would become part of her new life. By the end of the two hours, Terri was finding it very hard to ignore her infatuation and her arousal at being in the presence of this woman. It also surprised her somewhat, as she was a loner, not prone to relationships of any sort, be they romantic or friendship or otherwise. The consequence was that it was a rare thing for her to feel this way and that left her feeling somewhat unbalanced, something that she would need to shake off, as there were 3 more member of the family to process today.
As the woman rose to leave, Terri's mouth found itself way ahead of her head, or for that matter, her better judgment and she heard her voice say.
"I have a 20 minute break before I process your husband. Would you like some coffee or something. We have been sitting here for over 2 hours now..."
Terri felt a blush rise along her neck and face and turned away, furious with herself and wishing for an earthquake to suddenly open the ground under her, so she could just instantly disappear forever. She was so absorbed in kicking herself for being what she thought was an utter ass, that she almost did not hear the woman quietly respond.
"Yes, I would like that Ms. Lowell, thank you."
Terri, who had been examining her feet as if she had suddenly discovered that they were made from solid gold, snapped her head up and looked into the midnight eyes of the woman standing before her. What she saw almost shook her from her professionalism completely, something that nothing had yet achieved in her entire career. Fari was boldly looking back at her, and her eyes clearly conveyed interest and, Terri was sure that she could also see a subtle shade of desire.
"Call me Terri..." She heard her voice saying as she fell under the spell of the woman before her and finally became to believe in love at first sight.
The women had then gone to coffee, and later, after the family was resettled, Terri had seen Fari a couple of times to make sure that she and her family were well situated and adjusting. The proximity of her job and Fari's family, made it almost impossible for there to be any privacy during these meetings, but the women had enjoyed themselves and talked while the world swirled around them. Quickly though, the demands of being in a new country and the weight of Terri's job, had meant that the blossoming friendship was been shelved and the women had stopped seeing each other all together.
Back in the present, the women stepped apart from each other self consciously, and ignored the feelings that the brief embrace had caused. There was not time for this now, Fari needed to pack the essentials and get her family organised, and Terri was here to insure that documents were destroyed and procedures were followed.
As Terri proceeded to confiscate documents, checking them off a master list that she had. A cleanup crew would go over the house later, removing anything that indicated identity, before packing it up and eventually Fari and her family would probably see the majority of it again. It would take time of course, but there was no other option available for the CIA or any of the people it protected. As Fari worked, Terri glanced outside, only to feel her heart stop for a split second.
"Fari, whose car is that?" Terri's tone cause the other woman to look up sharply and then outside. Even under Fari's olive toned complexion, Terri could see her pale.
"I do not know." She said simply, her voice flat with dread.
"Where are your children?" Terri said urgently, prodding Fari out of her trance. Fari ran out of the room and took the stairs to the ground floor 3 at a time. Finding her older daughter in the living area watching TV Fari asked her where her younger sister was.
"Outside, looking for the dog." The teen replied, her tone indicating that she knew something was going on but did not know what it really was.
Fari looked at Terri, fear glazing her eyes over, causing Terri to quickly reassure her.
"I'll get her, go to the basement, and stay away from all the windows."
Terri crept towards the backyard, not forgetting the strange car in the front yard and Fari's having mentioned that she had received a phone call earlier in the day asking if they had any monkeys. Terri was sure that the family had been made, now it was up to provenance and blind luck if they all made it out of here tonight. Terri opened the back door, seeing the little girl trying to coax the dog away from the edge of the garden, where the animal was furiously barking and growling. Moving quickly, Terri went to the girl, and spoke to her.
"Come on, your mother wants you inside." Terri carefully eased her hand around the girls arm, to make sure the child would not bolt and started to half drag the girl towards the house. The child complained bitterly, but Terri only had ears for the dog which was becoming even more agitated. Terri felt her body giving off what could only be termed as a very primal feeling, a long forgotten and long unused instinct or sense, telling her that she was being watched by a predator that intended for her to die. The thought spurred her on and quickly the girl was in the house and the back door was locked and latched. As she moved quickly, with her body crouched over, Terri heard Fari's voice in the front yard, and then she heard a gruff male voice, listening carefully, Terri could hear that the conversation was hot hostile, it was just tense. Moving quickly, she went to the front door to find Fari talking to her husband about the car. Impatient now because of the danger that she knew was just around the corner Terri spoke urgently.
"Come on, everyone inside, quickly!"
Her voice brooked no argument and the family started its untidy assent of the front steps to get into the house. It was then that the children started a riot of protestation, they could hear the dog. First the younger girl, who was easily restrained, made a lunge for freedom, her only goal being her precious pet, and then the older girl, perhaps remembering her almost forgotten childhood decided that she would go and rescue the animal. The larger child was not so easily restrained and the shouting and confusion that followed was suddenly interrupted by a gunshot. Fari's husband fell, holding his side and this alone achieved what everything else had not, silence. Terri spoke quickly and urgently.
"Quickly, get the children inside, now!"
With those words, Terri half carried the injured man into the house and locked the front door.
"To the basement!" Terri commanded breathlessly and her order was obeyed at once.
Once downstairs, the first priority was to staunch the man's bleeding. Fari could only watch helplessly as Terri bound her husband's torso with towels and duct tape as she tried to keep her children calm.
The older girl suddenly said.
"They will come in, nothing will stop them."
Terri looked up at the young woman and said calmly.
"No, they won't. We are safe for now. They will come later, when it is dark."
The words had a chilling effect on the group and then the tear filled voice of the youngest child spoke up.
"He's dead right?"
She was of course, speaking of her precious dog...
Terri finished her bandaging and propped up Fari's husband, trying to make him as comfortable as possible. She wiped her bloody hands on her pants and looked at the little girl.
"Yes, he is. However, as long as I have a say about it, nothing will harm you or your family. You just have to do as I tell you, and stay calm and quiet. Ok?"
Terri offered the terrified child what she hoped was a reassuring smile before turning to the contents of the basement and starting to formulate a plan of action. The lives of 4 other people and her own life now depended on what she could do and achieve in the 2 or 3 hours of light they had left. No one would come looking for her for a while yet, so she could only depend on herself.
Terri started to look around the basement her mind already in a scientific mode. She was a scientist by profession, trained to forge and duplicate just about anything, right down to the base components that it was made of, soon, a working plane started to form. Using nails and broken glass, household chemicals and a scattering of tools, Terri was able to create two crude shrapnel filled pipe bombs that she had set up in old coffee cans. After wiring them and setting their fuses she turned to the anxiously waiting family and spoke quickly, and quietly.
"It is vital that you follow my instructions ok? I want you to go to the back of the basement where there are no windows, where you will be safer from shrapnel and ricochet. You must remain quiet and not try to run anywhere until you hear from me. You understand?"
Terri looked each of the family members in the eye, waiting to see or hear confirmation from each of them.
"Okay, we need flashlights and I need a nine volt battery." Terri continued as the family started to move towards the designated safe area.
Fari's husband spoke up and said in a breathy pain filled voice, "There is probably a battery upstairs." The man then closed his eyes and Terri could see his mouth move in silent prayer.
Terri looked at Fari, allowing herself a moment to absorb the woman's beauty, before speaking.
"I will go upstairs and get a battery, you must lock the door after me, and do not open it until I come back. Ready with the flashlights?"
Terri addressed the second question to Fari's older daughter, who was next to the fuse box, ready to close the main breaker of the house. The girl nodded and Terri handed Fari a flashlight, looking into the woman's frightened, almost panicky eyes, trying to impart some strength to her. In any case, this would be all over within the next three quarters of an hour, whatever the outcome. At Terri's word, the basement and the house were plunged into darkness and Terri moved up the stairs to the first floor of the house. Fari's older daughter followed her and Terri could hear the catch of the lock as she crouched in the hallway. The house was dark and silent, and Terri could hear her heartbeat over almost everything else in the silence. It was dark outside, so the men who were going to kill them would be planning or already executing their attack, no time to sit around, it was all or nothing now.
Terri made her way into the kitchen, thinking logically. Phones often had batteries in them, and she recalled that the kitchen had a phone in it. She hoped that her memory would not disappoint her. As she looked around the kitchen, Terri cursed under her breath, there was a phone in the kitchen, but it was not battery powered. She started to deduct where another phone would be when she heard it. Glass breaking...
Stifling the urge to scream, Terri localized the sound, it was coming from the dining room, no more than 15 feet away. Berating herself for feeling overwhelming fear, Terri started a mantra in her head. 'You are a trained operative, you have people to protect, move!'
With that thought, Terri quietly opened a drawer, feeling around for a kitchen knife and when her hands closed around the handle of one she thanked her Guardian Angel that this time her luck had been true. It had been about 5 seconds since she had heard the glass breaking and the thought of the men coming in too soon spurred her into action. She moved quickly to the door, hiding in the shadow next to it, watching the hole in the broken glass carefully, waiting for the moment when she would strike and knowing that she would only have one chance.
A moment passed and Terri saw a black gloved hand enter through the hole, reaching for the latch that would open the door. Waiting and calculating, Terri struck at the last possible moment, pinning the hand to the doorframe with the knife in her hand. She figured that she had just bought herself a couple of extra minutes, but at the same time the fury of the man who was intent on killing them would be increased a hundred fold. As she moved quickly, ignoring the angry cursing coming from the door, Terri found her mind going down an almost philosophical avenue as she thought how life tended to be a double edged sword for the most part. The living area had a phone and Terri was now crawling towards it when she heard the gunfire shattering everything in its path causing reflexes seldom used to fire. Throwing herself at the phone and at the ground Terri was momentarily paralyzed with fear, the moment passed quickly though when the phone came crashing to the floor making what Terri thought was a deafening noise. This phone thankfully had a battery which Terri pried lose as quickly and as quietly as she could. Every moment she took getting back to the basement was another moment towards certain death. Finally with the battery in her possession she started to creep back towards the basement, mindful of any noises she made and any noises that the men might be making as they made their way through the house. The part of Terri's mind that was pure scientist observed with a degree of wry irony, that what had seemed like a lifetime, was actually no more than 2 or 3 minutes, the time since she had left the basement.
As Terri crept towards the basement door she felt the hairs at the back of her neck raise up and in a moment of terror, looked over her shoulder to see a man dressed in black turn around and spot her. It was now or never her inner voice yelled at her, causing her to lunge for the basement door while calling out for it to be unlocked. As she tore at the handle she felt rather than heard the man fire at her and for the umpteenth time that day, thanked her guardian angel as she fell into the doorway unscathed. They only had heartbeats to lock the door and get down the stairs before the men were at it, ramming the door with heavy bodies and the butts of their guns.
"Quickly, into the back, and keep your faces turned away!"
Terri ordered as she forced her hands to be calm and stop shaking, desperately preparing the wires to connect with the precious battery. The slight electrical charge would cause the homemade pipe bombs now strapped to the supporting pillars near the basement stair to go off. That was the theory anyway, reality would possibly prove to be a different thing. Terri could hear her heartbeat over the sound of the feeble doorway giving way and put forth her entire effort to concentrate on the sound of foot steps on the stairs. It seemed to take an entire decade for the man to descend the number of stairs needed for him to be in the blast radius of the coffee can bombs that Terri had so painstakingly jury rigged. Then, when the moment was correct, Terri touched the wires to the battery and at once the explosives went off, causing the man to scream as his face was shredded. They had less than a minute to get out of the house and to the car and that thought caused Terri to lunge to her feet and run to the family that she had so far succeeded in protecting. Grabbing the husband she told Fari to take care of her children and they lurched towards the stairs moving with an urgency that was almost manic in its nature.
The gods were with them as they made their way through the house to the front door and down the steps but it was then that the shots started, the other men in the house had found out what they were up to and were obviously hell bent on stopping them. Terri urged Fari to go to the car and get in.
"Keep your head down, move it!"
Terri could hear the strain in her voice as she all but shoved Fari's husband into the vehicle and clambered into the driver's seat. They were going to make it, Terri was now almost sure of it as she felt the engine turn over and turned on the vehicle's lights, what she saw then caused her heart to sink like it had not for the entire experience. One of the men was standing directly in front of the car with his gun poised and Terri knew that the caliber of the weapon was probably such, that they would not survive. The moment was frozen in time, and Terri saw her life flash before her eyes as her right hand sought Fari's instinctively. She felt the answering squeeze just as their assailant flew through the air as if launched from a cannon. Unable to comprehend Terri could only gawk out of the window as she noticed the second car that had hit the man. The relief she felt when she recognised the two men in the car as her colleagues almost made her throw up and the confusion on their faces upon seeing her and the bloodied man in the car with her almost made her laugh.
In the brief exchange that followed, the two men promised to take care of the house and call for back up and urged her to the hospital as quickly as possible. Terri had never been so happy to peel rubber from a car's tires as she was when she sped off, away from the nightmare that had been plaguing her for what felt like centuries by now.
It was late that night when Terri heard the door of the private waiting room that she had found herself in open. Turning, she saw Fari enter, seeing mirrored on her face the same fatigue that she felt in her body. Terri waited for the other woman to come closer and was silent, knowing Fari would speak when she was ready. The intimate space felt private and Terri could see Fari relax a little as she started to speak.
"He will be fine, the surgery was successful. As soon as he can be moved we will be relocated to a safe place, then moved permanently after that."
Fari's voice was quiet as she spoke and her hands sought out Terri's in reassurance and comfort.
"You should be safe within hours then, the CIA will take no chances with your family, that is a certainty."
The words sounded somehow inadequate and flat to Terri's ears even as she said them.
Fari's dark eyes looked at her, seeking to search her soul for some answer before the darker woman spoke.
"Will I ever see you again?"
Terri did not bother to conceal any emotions from the other woman as she answered.
"No, it is not safe. I am now known to the people who would hunt you so it would not be safe considering the circumstances."
Terri closed her eyes and concentrated on the feeling of Fari's hands in her own. The irony of seeming to have found the right person, only to have circumstance make everything so impossible was no lost on her.
When she opened her eyes, she found Fari standing in her personal space and felt the other woman wrap her arms around her. Terri took her cue and followed suit, enveloping the smaller woman with her arms and allowing herself to relax into the embrace. Without warning, Fari pulled her head back slightly from Terri's and just as quickly brought their lips together. Terri managed to overcome her shock after one or two heartbeats and returned the kiss at first tentatively but quickly with more enthusiasm. The feel of Fari's lips on hers quickly unraveled her mind and when she felt a gently questing tongue on her lips, she felt her soul shatter into a million glorious peaces. Terri opened her mouth to receive the other woman's desire and the connection between their mouths and tongues and also, between their bodies was enough to make Terri feel sure that she would faint. Fari's mouth tasted clean, and yet it was flavored with the unique taste of the woman in her arms, something that Terri would never forget, something that made her finally understand why poets write from broken hearts and why wars were fought for love. It was only the need for oxygen that separated the two women from each other, and they spent long moments looking into each other's eyes. Terri could see Fari unmasked, for these precious seconds, and made an effort to unmask herself in turn. It was the least she could do. Then, the spell was broken and the women stepped apart.
Fari turned and walked towards the door pausing just before opening it, she looked back at Terri, who was standing in shell shocked silence, one hand idly touching her lips in wonder. Fari spoke in a quiet voice, not wishing to break whatever was left of the spell that had been woven between the two women.
Return to Miscellaneous Fiction
Return to Main Page