Part 16

"I found this today." Jian held out a CD case. He watched Keesha closely, wondering if the group still had any meaning for her.

She accepted the CD and flipped it over. A frown darkened her brow for just a moment. Then, a lovely serene expression replaced it. "I looked for this for years after I left Philadelphia. A rare commodity you've got here complete with special memories of dancing together for the very first time."

"Should we put it on?" He glanced toward the hallway. "Will the music disturb Jacob?"

"Not hardly." She removed the disc and headed toward the stereo. "He's a heavy sleeper. Which track would you like to hear first?"

"Surprise me."

The sixth track opened with its haunting melody. She turned to him with a smile. "I think this one is my favorite, but all of them are great."

"I agree." He extended his hand. "Will you dance with me?"

"I'd love to."

Their bodies swayed as one to the hypnotic rhythm. One hand stroked the length of her back as the other kept her hand close to his heart. Jian closed his eyes and rested his chin against her forehead. For years, he listened to the CD and dreamed of a moment like this. Of holding Keesha within his arms again. Forsaking the outside world and existing in one where only the two of them mattered. Now, it was the three of them. A perfect unit.

"This is so nice," she whispered. "Maybe it's too nice. I'm a little afraid that it may come to an end."

"Don't ever think that," he said. "We're destined to get it right this time."

"Do you really believe that?"

"With all my heart."


Alex flipped through the folder for the second time in so many hours. For the last couple of days, he tried unsuccessfully to put his assignment into perspective. Befriending Dara Jensen was simply a mean to an end. The longing she evoked was just a part of the gig. He needed an opening and his subconscious chose a romantic one.

He grunted. The thought wasn't any more convincing than it had been when he first woke up. Whether he liked it or not, Dara was more than a case. She was a vibrant, beautiful, intelligent woman. One look into her wide, brown eyes reminded him of everything he'd forsaken in his role as a spy for hire.

How many people had he used to justify his paycheck? How many lives had he wrecked? How many souls had he tarnished?

He didn't apply notches to his belt. Instead, he drowned the numbers inside a bottle of vodka. But that wasn't enough to wipe out the guilt anymore. The dinners, walks and talks with Dara pushed him to the brink of something more. Something real and substantial that he'd never had.

The folder contained Dara's history up to the point where he insinuated himself into her life. Her life as the oldest of three children. Her determination as a clerk for Jack McCoy. Then, the few years in Port Charles as the ADA. He skipped through the time she spent with Michael Corinthos. Alex didn't want to dwell on her relationship with the mob boss. He also scanned her defense of Corinthos when the man had been accused of killing his wife. Alex dug through the documents until he located the photographs he'd already memorized. The sincerity on her face got him every time. He doubted his motives and if he was cut out to complete his assignment. He wanted this woman and not just for physical gratification. He wanted her love.

Was she worth giving up everything to pursue it?


"If you stare any harder at that screen, your eyes will cross."

Dara waved away Jerry's concerns. "I'm fine."

"You've been holed inside this office since the weekend." He moved behind her and adjusted the blinds. The lighting dimmed just a bit. "Rest your eyes for a sec."

"You're being caring and it's freaking me out," she said, half jokingly.

"It's the other side of my personality," he said. "It's usually hidden, but today it wanted to come out and play."

"Oh, boy. Now, I'm really getting scared."

"Very funny." He moved to stand in front of her. He rested his palms on her desk and leaned forward. "Take a break."

"I can't. I want this to be filed first thing tomorrow morning. My investigation is complete and my clients are safely hidden. Now, is the time to move forward."

Jerry held his tongue for just a moment. "You're ready."

She considered the words as a question. Cocking her head to the side, she met his stare. "Yeah. I am. The Jones' family is counting on me and I refuse to let them down. Rx has played games in the past and everything has been in their favor. Not this time. Enough is enough. They will pay for what they've done to that family and all the others. They won't get away with using people as guinea pigs. Not when I'm done with them."

He rose to his full height and ran a hand along his stubble-covered jaw line. "You are determined."


He shook his head. "But nothing. Stubborn determination has always been one of my best assets."

"Mine, too."


A surprise rendezvous with Dawn had Fox returning from lunch later than expected. He doubted if Skinner would mind the extra sixty minutes. The editor beamed when Fox turned in his article about the smear campaign ads for the upcoming Presidential election. He promised the first page for the piece and Fox couldn't be happier. With Walter Skinner in a good mood, Fox had time to continue his private investigation of Rx Limited and have an article prepared for whenever Dara filed the lawsuit.

The office he shared with Scully was unusually quiet. He expected a lecture for failing to return on time or at least a chill from her blue eyes. Instead, he discovered his laptop open and tufts of red hair peeking over the top of the screen.

I'll be damned.

He tiptoed behind her. Sure enough, the nosy reporter was hunting through his files like a crackhead looking for a fix. He reached over and slammed the laptop shot. She jumped a foot.

"Mulder! You scared me!"

"You little sneak," he countered. "What the hell were you doing?"

"I was just…um…" Red the same shade as her hair colored her face. "Well, Skinner wanted sources for your article and I was trying to find them."

"Bullshit." He stuffed his balled fists inside the front pocket of his jeans. If she were a man, he would have clocked her by now. "Get out of my chair."

She scrambled from his seat and hurried to her desk. Brushing her hair from her face, she tried to explain. "You'll find a voicemail from Skinner on your phone."

"He called my cell," he replied. "I gave him everything he needed to know." Fox glanced at his watch. "That must have been at least forty-five minutes ago. He told me he'd get back with you and let you know he got what he needed."

"He didn't," she said in a huffy tone.

"He did," he said, keeping his tone neutral and void of the anger he truly felt. "I've known him a lot longer than I've known you. If nothing else, Walter Skinner is thorough."

She looked away and began straightening her desk. "You were gone longer than an hour."

"Yep. I had a fantastic lunch with my wife." He plopped onto his chair and opened his laptop. He checked the history of recently viewed documents. Obviously, Dana tried to open his file on Rx Limited but was unable to because it was password protected. Good thing he listened to his gut. "If this partnership works, we have to trust each other."

She visibly flinched. "You don't trust me. You never have."

"You haven't given me reason to," he stated.

"What do you want from me?"

"The truth. Why do you have such a jones for Rx Limited?"

Her mouth dropped open. Outrage registered on her face. "That was supposed to be our story! You went behind my back on it. I have every right to know what's going on."

"No, you don't and I didn't go behind your back. He asked to meet with me alone. You knew that--"

"You never told me what happened," she interjected.

"I haven't had time."

Her eyes narrowed to slits. "You just want the glory all to yourself. I heard that you were selfish--"

"Now, wait just a damn minute. You went through my files and now, you're the injured party? I don't think so. We can share the glory. The fame isn't important to me regardless of what you've heard. It's always been about the truth. What's in it for you?"

Without waiting for her answer, he turned away and began research on his next article.