On the Mountain by blackIrish_McBain

The sun also rises.  The morning.  John couldn't remember how the morning had been.  The days were melting into each other.  Evangeline was gone.  She was there.  She was dead.  She was alive.  Where was she?

Right next to him.  He had to stay in the moment.  She was the one who helped him with time.  She was the only one who stayed who she was. She was always Evangeline.  Bo would become his father sometimes. Nora would morph into his Aunt Maeve.  He could see Caitlyn so many
times, at every rescue, and he would get confused.  But Evangeline was always herself.  Always the light in the dark times of his life.  Even before he knew her, there was the promise of her.  When he touched her, he became real himself.  The sun also rises.

She always told him that.  The sun also rises.  Usually in the East, she would say, with a wink.

How had their day begun?  He couldn't remember.  He knew how he wanted the next day to begin.  And the day after that.  He wanted to see the shimmer of the sun fall over Evangeline's skin like champagne.  He wanted to lose his hands in the thick of her hair, the black curtain
of silk that had, of late, grown long, well past her shoulders.

John squinted as he saw the flashing lights of police cars as he came over the hill.
_________________________________________________________________________

Antonio had been enjoying himself at Todd's penthouse apartment.  He had almost forgotten the betrayal of his brother in the middle of such a rare moment: Todd had been joking with him, not at his expense. They were all in a happy mood Antonio, Todd and Killian having cleared Killian's name with the FBI.  Yes, Antonio could almost forget siccing McBain on his brother.

When he felt his cell phone buzz on his hip, Antonio was mildly surprised.  He hadn't expected a call so early.  When he looked at the caller ID, he got another surprise: it was Cristian.

"What did you do, Antonio?  What did you do?" Cristian screamed into the phone.

Antonio could hear the loud grinding of Cristian's truck.  He knew his brother was pushing the rebuilt engine to its limits.  Antonio asked where McBain was and what had happened to Evangeline.

"You thought it was me," Cristian said, with realization in his voice. "So did McBain, and God, Evangeline, she thought it was me."

Antonio looked over his shoulder to see if anyone was missing him.  He felt the fever of anxiety creeping up his neck into his face. Something was wrong.

"Listen to me," Christian yelled into the phone.  "The guy trying to kill Evangeline was a Santi.  McBain knows.  He's coming for you."

"For me?" Antonio muttered, his mind stumbling over the Santi name. "I didn't call I would never hurt Evangeline.  She knows that.  John knows that. "

Cristian cursed into the phone.  "Mami," he said.
_________________________________________________________________________

By the time Evangeline and John rolled up to Carlotta's house, Bo had assembled half of the Llanview Police Department there.  The swirling red lights of the unit cars lit up the brick cottage like an angry Christmas tree.

Bo had out his bullhorn, and Evangeline could see Carlotta peering out of the front window, her face contorted with fear.

On the ride over, Evangeline's emotions had run the gamut from understanding to outrage to grief and back to outrage.  Now, she wanted to cry.  She wanted to cry for Antonio and Carlotta, and even for Cristian.  Tears washed her eyes as she thought of the pain that had caused Carlotta to even consider this extreme.  The trails of saltwater that explored her cheeks were also for herself and John.

The plane crash and Carlotta's murderous intentions had blown apart the obstacles between her and her love.  There was a deeper peace between them, and Evangeline knew John would never let her go again.

Evangeline could see the good in this how she and John had benefited, how Killian's life had been saved but she knew John couldn't.  She knew he was in a dangerous place.  He might have killed Cristian had she not been there, and this blood feud between him and Carlotta might have gone into another lifetime.

Bo called to Carlotta once more, but she had withdrawn from the window.  There was no telling what she could be doing to herself, what tragedy was about to unfold.

Evangeline asked for the bullhorn.  In her peripheral, she could see Antonio's Mercedes barreling down the bumpy road.

"Carlotta, I'm coming in," she yelled before John could put his hand on the bullhorn.

She let it go, as John spewed forth each and ever curse word he'd accumulated throughout his life.  When he ran out of blue words, he was still adamant that she not be allowed to walk into Carlotta's without him.

"She's desperate, Evangeline.  I don't want you in there any more than John does," Bo agreed.

"It's not safe," John growled in frustration.  He walked around in a circle, putting his hands through his hair.  "It's not safe."

Antonio jumped out of his car.  He had left the engine running.  He tried to sprint to his mother's home, despite his crippled ankle, but he was stopped before he could get within a mile of his childhood home.  It took three officers to hold him back.  The veins in his neck were threatening to burst, when Evangeline ran over to him.  She pushed one of the officers out of the way and gripped Antonio's arm.

"Don't do this, Antonio.  Not right now.  Don't let Carlotta see you this way.  I'm going to help her.  I swear to you: I will make this right," she said.

"What is happening to my family?" Antonio begged of his friend.

Evangeline dismissed the remaining officers without any real authority besides determination and helped Antonio limp over to John and Bo's huddle.  All eyes turned to Cristian's truck as it bumped its own wild way down the road.  Evangeline took advantage of the distraction and
ran toward the house, all the way screaming for Carlotta to open the door.

John ran after her, almost catching her.  She stayed just out of his reach, getting inside the open door and then locking it before John could ram his way in.

"Carlotta, we only have two minutes, if that much.  John will break your windows and crawl through the glass to get me," Evangeline said, out of breath.

"I knew that.  I should have known better.  I knew that about him.  I knew he would rather die in your place.  I should have let him," Carlotta mumbled, turning over a butcher knife in her hand.

"Carlotta," Evangeline said, gingerly taking steps toward the older woman.  "Cristian and Antonio are outside."

"My boys.  Oh, my boys."

"I know you'd do anything for them.  And right now, they need you to come outside," Evangeline murmured, reaching out for her friend's mother.

Carlotta shook her head violently and pointed the knife at Evangeline. "Your boyfriend would find a way to punish them for what I've done," she said.

"No, he wouldn't.  I would never let John hurt Antonio or Cristian. He wouldn't want to.  He and Antonio have gotten closer during this time.  I promise you," Evangeline said, jumping back as Carlotta moved forward with the knife.

"I wish I could believe you, Evangeline.  You were always such a good girl.  I wanted you for my Antonio at one point," Carlotta said, her hand shaking as anger tinged her voice.  "But then you fell in love with that bastard who ruined my boys' lives.  He deserves to suffer for what he has done to my boys, and the only time I've ever seen him really suffer is when you were gone."

Carlotta's words hung in the air between them, as Bo issued a warning from the outside: Carlotta had one minute to come out with her hands up.  Bo then asked Evangeline to call out if she was alright.

"We're just talking, Bo," Evangeline yelled in return, never letting her eyes leave Carlotta's hand.

Carlotta began to whisper a prayer in Spanish.  When she finished her circumflex, she lunged forward.  Evangeline could feel the blade slice her upper arm, stinging like a vicious paper cut.

"Carlotta," Evangeline cried as she dodged another swipe. "Stop this. You can stop this.  I know you are a religious woman, that you believe in God.  This is against God's word," Carlotta put a foot up on the sofa, contemplating if she could make the leap in time, considering her bad hip.  She heard the plinks and tinks of breaking glass in her basement.  John McBain was coming.

"Say your prayers, Evangeline.  I owe you that much," Carlotta said.

Evangeline closed her eyes and spoke aloud, adrenaline not allowing her body to remain still.  She shook with every word.  "Dear God, please bring peace to Carlotta, as she struggles with her pain. Please bless her family, who will suffer so much "

"Stop it," Carlotta said, surprising even herself by interrupting a holy prayer.  But she couldn't bear Evangeline's kind words.

"Antonio and Cristian will suffer each time they think of you, each time they think of me.  No matter where they go, it'll be inside their hearts forever," Evangeline said, screaming as Carlotta managed to throw herself over the couch.  Evangeline had begun to bleed violently, as her arm got over the shock of being cut.

"God made the first move to take you from this world.  I'm only sending you home," Carlotta said.

She straddled a struggling Evangeline, pinning the young woman's arms with her aching knees.  Carlotta raised the butcher knife high in the air, as a single shot rang out.

Carlotta froze, as Evangeline screamed.  Both women turned their eyes to McBain, who was wearing thin streaks of crimson from scratching his way through the thick, storm window glass in Carlotta's basement.  He had the gun that had just shot through the ceiling leveled at Carlotta.

"Drop the knife now, or I will kill you right where you are," John barked.

Carlotta hesitated.  She looked at Evangeline and then at McBain.

"Please, Carlotta," Evangeline said.

The door trembled with a loud blow and then again.  The police were breaking down the door, and Carlotta was still frozen.

John inched closer.  "Your problem is with me, Carlotta.  I get that. Let Evangeline go, and I'll turn my life over to you.  You can do whatever you want with it," he said over the banging of the police ram.

"I've got your life beneath me," Carlotta said, shaking her head as she heard Antonio and Cristian calling for her.

"Don't let this be their last memory of you," Evangeline said.

"You want me to suffer.  You kill her, and I won't suffer at all. I'll go right after her.  I wouldn't waste another minute breathing when she's not," John said as the door burst open.

"John, don't say that," Evangeline said, feeling the drain on her energy.  She wanted to struggle, but she couldn't find the strength.

"It's true," John said, locking eyes with Carlotta.  "The only reason I didn't the only reason I'm still here is because I knew she wasn't lost forever.  I knew I could find her.  If I really feel her go from this world, I've got no reason to stay.  Carlotta, I wouldn't suffer for a minute."

Antonio and Cristian pushed through the team of officers who had their weapons focused on Carlotta.  Antonio told the men who knew him to put their weapons down.  When they wouldn't listen, he asked John to tell them.  McBain nodded his head, and the men dropped their weapons to their sides, though John would not.  Bo came in and ordered the officers to leave when he saw John's direct line of fire.

Cristian dropped to his knees beside Carlotta, who was already sobbing.  "Mami, give me the knife," he said.

She looked at her son with tears in her eyes.  "I don't know what to do," she said, her hands disquiet with fear. "I don't know what to do."

Cristian touched his mother's shoulder and the knife wavered a bit in her hands.  Antonio hobbled forward and peeled Carlotta's fingers from the knife.

McBain released Carlotta from his sights.  He looked at Evangeline. Her eyes were closed, and McBain could feel the panic come down on him. Blood gushed from her arm.

"Evangeline?" he called softly.

Cristian scooped his mother into his arms to make way for McBain's rush to Evangeline.  "Jesus," Cristian said.

Bo trotted to the door and shouted to one of the nearby officers to rush the paramedics to the house.  Bo bowed his head as he returned to the sight of McBain cradling his love in his arms.

"She's breathing.  We're breathing," McBain said to no one in particular.

Evangeline wouldn't stop bleeding.  McBain tried to think about what Michael would do, what his own FBI training had taught him, but he could only measure Evangeline's breaths.  They were getting more shallow by the minute.

"We've been beat up a lot these past few weeks, haven't we, baby," he whispered into her ear.  "You and me are gonna go away together.  We can elope.  I'll take the heat for it with Diana and Nora."

Cristian returned to Evangeline, having placed his mother on the couch to sit with Antonio.  He had torn a part of his shirt for a makeshift tourniquet.  "Mami must have had her knee on the artery to stop the bleeding before.  This will stop it again," Cristian said, tying the fabric around Evangeline's limp arm.

"I never meant for it to be like this. I'm sorry I made it like this. I'm sorry for what I've done to you and your family.  Tell your mother that I'm sorry," McBain said, holding Evangeline even closer to himself.

Cristian shook his head.  "You're not the only one.  We're all to blame," he said, moving out of the way for the paramedics.

McBain allowed Cristian to pull him back and release Evangeline so the paramedics could check her vitals and then move her to the gurney for transport.  Bo assured McBain that he would be to the hospital shortly, after placing Carlotta in the prison ward of St. Anne's.

As he climbed into the back of the ambulance to ride with Evangeline, McBain caught a glimpse of Carlotta in handcuffs, a cop on one side of her and Antonio on the other, Cristian directly behind them.  They all seemed to be moving in slow motion.  The doors to the ambulance closed
on the sad scene, and as McBain heard the siren wail, he vowed to the invisible angels who were always judging him that he would make it up to Carlotta and her family.

He reached out to touch Evangeline's stomach, as she lay under a sterile, white sheet, breathing with her as she gulped the oxygen from the mask covering her mouth.  "The sun also rises," he reminded them both.  "The sun also rises"