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Sweeping Down the Plain
Bricktown Canal, Oklahoma City, OK -
Kate Todd leaned against the railing and looked down at the water. They had cleared all the pedestrians from the sidewalks and dozens of open-air restaurants stood empty along the banks of the concrete-lined canal. She crossed the footbridge and touched her earpiece. "Rosefern to Rockwell. Location is secure. Crossing to the other side to check out a few of these buildings."
"Confirmed, Rosefern. Stay in contact."
She reached the other side and walked briskly along the promenade. Several buildings were vacant, one or two showing signs of occupation and all of them devoid of human life. She was about to contact Rockwell again with the all-clear when she spotted movement at the far end of the boardwalk. "Rosefern to Rockwell. There's a grain of sand in the clockwork."
"Confirm, Rosefern. Grain?"
"One," Kate said as she moved to the cover provided by a building. "I'm going in. Stay on the radio."
The woman was sallow-skinned, her midnight hair caught in a breeze and swirling around her head. She was wearing tan trousers and an identical jacket; possibly a uniform. Kate pulled her gun from the holster and moved as the woman rested her hands on the railing. "Secret Service!" Kate called. "Leave your hands on the railing and do not move!"
The woman tensed but did as instructed. "You do not understand," she said. Middle Eastern accent, Kate guessed. Not Iraqi. Israeli, maybe. If she was Palestinian, she could be Hamas... The woman continued, "I am not here to..."
"Quiet," Kate said. She scanned the rooftops. The woman was standing out in the open, brazen as hell... or bait. She grabbed the back of the woman's jacket, exposing herself as little as possible, and pulled her back to the wall. "You have people watching me?" she asked.
"I am here alone," the woman said. "I am Officer Ziva David. I am Mossad. I have identification in my right pants pocket."
Kate spread Ziva's legs with a sweep of her feet and said, "Hands against the wall."
Ziva complied and hung her head. When she spoke again, her voice was hard, perturbed. "I assure you I am unarmed."
"We'll see," Kate said. She cupped her hands under Ziva's armpits and brushed them down swiftly. The clothes she wore flattened with no tell-tale bulges, but the jacket was bunching under her palms. She pulled the jacket back and repeated the move over Ziva's t-shirt. She stepped closer and cupped Ziva's breasts with both hands.
"Is this... standard... operating... procedure...?" Ziva asked. She turned her head slightly so Kate could see her smile.
"Face forward," Kate said. She stepped back and put her hands on Ziva's hips.
"Come on, spank me," Ziva said.
"Shut up," Kate said. She knelt and swept her hands down the outsides of Ziva's legs. Nothing in her boots, nothing strapped to her leg. Kate ran the back of her right hand up the inside of each leg before she stood.
"You missed a spot," Ziva said. "A spot a man would never have missed..."
Kate pressed against Ziva's back and slipped her hands down Ziva's arms. She gripped her wrists and wrenched her arms behind her back. "You are making a grave error," Ziva said.
Kate pulled her handcuffs from her belt and clapped one ring down on Ziva's wrist. Ziva twisted at the last moment and got her hand against Kate's back. She pushed and sent Kate reeling into the brick wall she'd just been spread eagle against. Kate blocked her face, saving her nose but not the palm of her hand. She spun around and kicked at Ziva as the other cuff ring closed around her own wrist.
Kate kicked, hitting Ziva in the side and folding her in half. Kate rushed her and Ziva slammed her head into Kate's stomach. They grappled, linked together by the thin chain of Kate's handcuffs, and slammed into one of the vacant tables of a nearby restaurant. Kate reached around with her unencumbered hand and grabbed her gun as she went down. "Stop!" she hissed.
Ziva hit Kate's wrist with the palm of her hand and twisted, flipping Kate onto her back. She pounced on Kate before she could stand, straddling her hips. "As I said." She pulled her identification from her pocket and showed it to Kate. "Mossad. I am on your side."
She flipped the wallet shut and returned it to her pocket. She tightened her thighs and put her hands on Kate's shoulders, forcing Kate's hand up at an awkward angle. "Perhaps you are not who you say you are." She slid her hands down and cupped Kate's breasts. "Are you carrying any other weapons, Secret Service?"
Kate struggled and ended up pushing herself harder against Ziva's caress. Her own hand, linked to Ziva's, brushed down the curve of her breast and she shuddered. "I am of no concern to you," Ziva said softly. "Stay out of my way... and we need never see each other again." She rested her hands on Kate's belt buckle, hooking her fingers under the leather.
"Fine," Kate managed.
Ziva smiled. "Good. Now we trust one another."
"The key is in..."
"Feh," Ziva scoffed. She hit the cuff with the heel of her hand and it fell open. She stood and took Kate's hand. Kate stood and Ziva stepped close. Her breath was warm against Kate's neck and she slipped her hand around Kate's waist. She ran her hand up Kate's back with the pretense of brushing off any grit that had gotten there during the fight, but ended up caressing her.
Kate tried to act nonplussed and failed. "Even if you are Mossad and that's not a fake ID, you don't have jurisdiction here. Turn over any information you have to the Secret Service and..."
"I am not here for Mossad," Ziva said. "I am merely one of their officers. My business here is personal. With any luck, there will be no need for violence or law enforcement." Her eyes locked onto Kate's lips and seemed distracted there for a moment. When she turned her eyes back to Kate's, she said, "Do you believe I am of no consequence?"
"No," Kate said, looking into the woman's dark eyes.
Ziva smiled. "Good." She kissed the corner of Kate's mouth and stepped back. She started to walk away and then said, "Oh. Secret Service?"
Kate looked up.
Ziva pulled a knife from the front of her trousers and smiled. "Where I had this hiding? No man would have avoided exploring." She poked the tip of her tongue against her upper lip and turned on her heel.
President Bush shook hands with several patrons and marveled at the water taxis as they plied through the crystal clear water of the canal.
On a rooftop, out of sight from the Secret Service, he paused and felt the air shift. He smiled and said, "Ziva."
"You are not going to do it."
He smirked. "I had to make the effort. You know that."
She walked up to him and took the rifle from its case. She checked the load, saw it empty and lay it back down. "One of these days, it will not be a bluff, Ari," she said.
"And what then, little sister?"
"Then, I will kill you," Ziva said. She turned and left the roof.
Ari chuckled in the silence she left in her wake.
Kate went into her hotel room without turning on the light. Hotels were the same in Oklahoma and DC and Siberia for all she knew. She shed her jacket and gun, reaching for her cell phone when someone grabbed her from behind. An arm went around her waist and a hand clamped over her mouth.
"Do not scream," Ziva whispered in her ear.
Kate sagged slightly and didn't scream.
Not until later.
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