John stood up from his chair, looking back and forth between Alcazar and Antonio. "Well, isn't this convenient," he said.

Lorenzo Alcazar pursed his lips and went to Evangeline. He touched Evangeline's shoulder, playing with her hair for just a moment, and his body language softened ever so slightly. He spoke to her in Spanish, telling her that he had been in Latin America, looking after the ill mother of his son Diego. Everyone had told him that she was dead and that the plane was a total loss, Lorenzo said, pulling Evangeline to her feet. Sure that Antonio was listening to their conversation anyway, Lorenzo switched to English.

"I just found out you were alive. I went by your home first. This was my second choice, your office," Lorenzo said.

Antonio grabbed John by the arm, before he could move to pull Evangeline from Alcazar's hold. John shook off Antonio, just as Lorenzo was letting go of Evangeline.

"Are you well, guapa?" he asked her, giving Evangeline the wry smile that reminded her so much of when they were younger.

Evangeline shook her head, almost laughing to herself at the way the universe was playing with her. Now, she could understand more fully why things always seemed so surreal to John. Perhaps it was Llanview that demanded such divine intervention and attention. She studied Lorenzo's face and pinched his cheeks. She would have tugged on the wide collar of his navy blue shirt, like she used to do, if she hadn't seen the steam coming from John's ears. She stepped back and smiled.

"I am well. Thank you, Lorenzo," she said, taking her seat again.

"As well as she can be with someone trying to kill her," John said, listening more to the devil on his left shoulder, more than the angel on his right. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you Mr. Alcazar?"

"John, don't let your temper get the best of you," Antonio said, his leg starting to throb.

"No, I didn't know anything about that, detective," Lorenzo said.

"Lieutenant," John and Evangeline said in unison, though neither of them laughed.

Lorenzo looked down at Evangeline and lifted her head up by her chin. "Now that I do know, you're coming home with me, and you'll be safe under my protection," he said.

Antonio hopped in front of a lunging John, though it hurt his leg. He groaned in pain and leaned on Evangeline's armrest. She jumped up to grab Antonio by the waist and sat him in her chair.

"John, back up! Don't you see Antonio is hurt? Look what you've done," she exclaimed, pointing to her friend.

John couldn't see anything. His vision was blurred with anger, and he certainly wasn't going to apologize to Antonio, who had put them in this unexpected position by keeping the information about Alcazar's plane to himself.

"She doesn't need your protection. She's with me," John said, his hands gripping his hips for fear of turning into fists.

Alcazar raised his eyebrows and smirked. "Oh, really, lieutenant. Is this how you keep her safe – bringing her to places where she is known to be regularly?"

"I've taken bullets for her. What have you done for her lately, besides put her in a plane that crashed?" John said, opening his shirt to show his wounds.

"OK, that's enough!" Evangeline yelled. "I can take care of myself! I pulled myself from that wreckage. So, don't talk about me like I'm a child."

Antonio had his hand over his eyes, trying to manage the pain in his leg. Evangeline squeezed his hand and asked him if he needed to go to the hospital to have his leg checked. He grimaced and said no, asking for the painkillers in his desk. Evangeline went around to the other side of Antonio's mahogany desk and retrieved two pills for him and a paper cup of water from the cooler in the corner.

"Thank you," Antonio said, chasing the pills down his throat with the water.

"Thank you," Evangeline said. "I'm sorry you were hurt while looking for me."

"Anything for you, Eva," Antonio said.

Evangeline walked to her love and stood before him. She stared into his eyes, until the veil of anger lifted a bit from the blue. Her fingers brushed over his bullet wounds, and he closed his eyes at her touch. She put her arms around him and her mouth directly to his ear.

"Thank you, my love. I know you would die for me, and I know I'm always safe with you. Let's get this thing solved so that we can be alone, no distractions," she whispered.

John nodded his head and relaxed. Evangeline could even see a hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth. He was remembering them at the safe house and how good she felt in his arms. Thoughts of her naked body stirred something in him, and he put his arms around her waist. The world fell away just then.

Alcazar looked over at Antonio and asked, "¿Están siempre como esto?"

Antonio nodded and smiled. "Siempre."

"No wonder he got shot," Alcazar said.

Evangeline coughed a small laugh and looked over her shoulder at Lorenzo. He had the slightest look of amusement on his face. She was sure she was the only one who could see it. She started to approach her old friend, but John wouldn't let go of her completely. She settled back into his arms, turning around in his grasp to face Antonio and Lorenzo.

"Lorenzo, is it possible that someone was trying to hurt you by doing something to your plane?" she asked.

Alcazar smiled at Evangeline's gentile euphemism. "You mean trying to kill me?" he said. "In my line of work, someone usually wants to hurt me."

"By line of work, you mean criminal enterprise? And its other criminals who want to kill you," John said, rolling his eyes.

"I mean what I say, lieutenant," Alcazar said, putting his hands behind his back. "Evangeline, as dear as you are to me, I don't think anyone would try to get to me through you."

Antonio cleared his throat. "That's what I was going to tell you before," he said, looking at John. "Whomever shot at Evangeline through the window knew it was her. The plane crash was an accident. Nothing happened to the commercial flight she was actually supposed to be on. I checked it out."

"Maybe it was someone who was upset that I came back," Evangeline said, thinking about the surrealism of Llanview again. "Someone thought divine providence had gotten rid of me, and he or she wanted to finish the job when they found out I had really survived."

"Perhaps the news coverage about your death and subsequent resurrection drew the person out of the woodworks," Lorenzo said.

Evangeline sighed. "We're back to ground zero again," she said.

"No, you're not," Lorenzo offered. "You have access to all my resources, including 24-hour bodyguards. Lieutenant, you can't be everywhere all the time."

John nodded. "I think Killian could use the guards more than anyone," he said.

Evangeline explained to Lorenzo who Killian was and what he had been through. The worry about Killian came back to her, and her face fell. They had endured so much together in such a short time, and it pained her to have seen Killian suffering. The scratches on his back were frightening.

"Lorenzo, do you have connections in federal court?" she asked, gently pushing John's arms away.

She took Lorenzo by his arm and took him into the hallway to discuss pushing Killian's case through the courts. She didn't want to wait another week for Antonio to present the case. Her instincts told her that whoever was after Killian was trying to punish him for what happened to Rajani. Her instincts rarely failed her.

Alone in the office, Antonio and John were silent. Antonio was seething. After all the things he had forgiven John McBain for – most principally, not telling him that his brother was alive and rotting in prison for no reason – McBain still did not trust Antonio. His therapist had helped him learn to control his temper. One of the techniques was to count backwards from six to one. Where John McBain was concerned, Antonio was going to have to count back from six hundred.

"I apologize, Antonio," John said, nearly shocking the teeth out of Antonio's mouth.

Antonio was still counting backwards. McBain accusing him of being in league with the likes of Alcazar brought to mind the torture he had endured over learning he was a Santi. Some people would always lump him in with them, but he didn't think McBain would be one of those people.

John stole a look at Evangeline through the door. She was hitting her hands together, as though she was making a case. Alcazar was standing in front of her, hands behind his back, his head tilted. He was listening to her every word. John was proud of her. She was so smart, much more clever about life than he. But he could see patterns, where she could not, and he could smell blood like a hound.

Though he was reluctant to admit it, Alcazar's guards would make a difference in cracking the case. John's mind would not be split anymore between protecting Evangeline and solving this mystery. He was going to find the person after Evangeline, and he was going to kill whoever it was.