Chapter 26 - Death Owl v. The Killer Shrimp

The room in the Chemdyne Research Facility was all too familiar. The last time he had been here he killed his first man. Now he was looking at a man that hated him and would kill him when the 'game' was over.

"Welcome Jake. I see you remember where you saved your wife's life."

"It's not easy to forget the place where you kill your first man."

Smiling with evil glee, Dumont pulled Jake's wife in front of him to use as a shield. Dumont caressed her ear with the muzzle of his gun. "You know this is where she's going to die."

Her eyes widen with fear and pleading. The tight gag was hurting her cheeks and the wire binding her wrist was digging deeper into her flesh.

"I want her to live Dumont. How… What do you want?"

"First, I want to make sure you're not armed or wired."

Jake pulled his shirt up.

"Not good enough Foley. Take your shirt off." Dumont's smile is pure evil as he ordered Jake to also drop his pants. "No Foley, leave them around your ankles. It'll keep you from doing something stupid. Now turn around."

Completing the turn, Jake asked, failing to sound emotionless, "What now Dumont?"

"Beg. I want to hear you beg for her life!"

"Dumont… Sir… Please allow her to live. She is everything to me. The first time I saw her I was hopelessly in love. There she was, freshman year in Georgetown, standing in line for her room assignment in our dorm. I was staring at her and began to feel faint." He lowered his head and laughed, "I had forgotten to breathe. Kevin thought I was an idiot, and then he saw Jenny. It took me eight years but that first kiss left me disoriented."

"Do better Foley!" Dumont ordered just before he ran his tongue up the side of her face. Shoving the gun muzzle into her cheek he ordered, "Freeze Foley! One more step and she's dead! You've got no chance Foley – I am that much smarter than you!"

"I used to think that you were Dumont, then I married a genius. You are nothing Dumont! A savant at best..."

Dumont's two shots grazed Jake's ribs. "Next time Foley, right through your wife's head!"

"Alright, alright." Jake gasped, "First let me tell you a few things about my wife. She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. She's smart and compassionate, loving and passionate. She thinks of others before she thinks about herself. I love her Dumont. But there is one thing I want you to remember until your dying breath, Dumont – my wife… is a brunette."

Dumont is stunned as Sarah is yanked from his grasp by Diane. Looking at Sarah he doesn't see Jake's right hand reach into his shorts and flash toward him. Nor does he feel the two rounds of X10 buckshot enter his temple. As he lies on the floor, he saw Diane embrace Jake. His last thought on this plane of existence is, "Jake married Rachael Leigh Cook?"

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Jake stood over Dumont holding Diane as Sarah approached, wide-eyed she asked. "How did you…?"

Jake just bowed his head.

"Sarah," Diane began, while fastening Jake's belt, "this man is guilty of the theft of millions of dollars world wide, the theft of classified research, tampering with government computers and attempting to crash a jet liner."

"And he would have killed me. Why did he hate Jake so much?"

"Jake," Diane paused to hug Jake harder, "is the only person to best Dumont. And he's beaten him every time."

Jake turned so he doesn't have to see Dumont's corpse.

"Jake made his first kill here?"

Diane nodded.

"This wasn't his second kill was it?"

"No." Diane admitted rubbing Jakes back.

"Jake…" Sarah said, and then moved in front of him. "Jake, thank you. He would have killed me, and you… and Diane. Thank you for saving my life, both times." Feeling like he needed to hear more she added, "I trust you." Stepping forward she embraces both Jake and Diane. "I trust you both."

"It was my fault he grabbed you."

"Jake, he was after Diane."

'Thinking' to Diane, he asked, "How do I get out of this?"

Diane bit her lower lip and 'thought' back to him, "Allow me. I need to reinforce my 'cover' anyway."

"Alright Sweetheart."

"Sarah," Diane began, "remember me telling you about my self-defense training with Jake and Kyle?"

"Sure, right after your problem with Steve, right?"

"That's right. What I didn't tell you is that the training never really stopped."

"So you are an agent?"

Diane hugged Jake. "I am a research doctor, who cannot talk about her very rewarding career. I would have been safer than you were; I should have been able to defend myself."

"Sarah," Jake started, "there was a mole in the NSA, she hated me. It is obvious that she gave Dumont misinformation in the hope that we would kill each other. How you were confused as Diane, I don't know."

"I do," Sarah related, "He came to the door dressed as a delivery man. When he asked for Diane Foley, I said yes, thinking all he wanted was for me to sign for a package."

"Now I feel guilty."

"You didn't do anything wrong Diane. How did you find me so fast? And if Diane's not an agent, why did she come with you Jake?"

"Speed, when Karen saw that you were missing she called me. Diane and I were stopping for a corndog she was craving; we followed the tracker in your locket and one of our satellites read only two heat signatures. Diane was supposed to hang back."

"When I saw what was happening I knew I could get behind him."

Giving Diane a wink, he turned to Sarah. "That's what happens when you marry smart people, you get the good with the great"

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After the debriefing at Fort Meade, Jake settled into the car seat and let Diane drive. The day had been good, the evening had been a nightmare; now to deal with taking another life… he didn't know how…

Looking over at her husband, Diane frowned. The fact that Jake never accepted the loss of life at his hands as easy helped reinforce the knowledge that she had married a man she could be proud of. But each life ate away at him and she could see the signs of the strain it bore on him. Even though it would be no cure, with a little luck he would find some solace in her arms. The fact that time and love would bring him closer to himself was of little comfort to her. Hopefully their new baby girl would help, giving him more to live for.

As she steered the car into their driveway, she made a decision. With the car turned of, she moved over and sat on his lap giving him a kiss. "I love you Jake."

"I love you too Diane."

"Promise me one thing?"

With sad eyes nearly full of tears he responded, "Of course."

"You will talk to someone about this."

"I don't trust…"

"I understand Jake, after Dr. Benton none of us are very trusting of psychiatrist, but if you don't it is going to eat away at you and eventually Dumont will have his revenge by making you lose everything you love. I love you and will always be your wife, but if you start pushing me away no matter how hard I fight and claw for you, you will push me away; and with me goes our child. In the end however, it is up to you. If you aren't a part of this coupling we will not be a couple – your choice."

"You can be tough Mrs. Foley."

Kissing him tenderly, she stroked his cheek, "A title that I plan on keeping because it sounds so sweet."

Smiling, almost laughing, Jake wrapped his arms around her. "What would I be without you?"

"Not as happy…"

"Like Jerry Reed's song said, 'When you're Right you're Right'."

"I thought the song was, 'When you're Hot, you're Hot'."

"Thank you, you're pretty hot yourself."

Laughing into his shoulder, "That was pretty bad."

Hugging her close Jake whispered, "This is nice, but let's go see our progeny."

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Sunday afternoon had been relaxing, even with Seymour there. Jake hadn't burned the ribs, much and Diane's mother's Potato Salad recipe had been perfect. Best of all, Nora Lee hadn't been fussy.

After the guests had left, Jake was putting the leftovers into the fridge when Diane came into the kitchen. "Nora Lee is asleep."

Smiling, Jake dropped the last of the paper plates into the trash bag and tied the end in a knot. "I'll take that out after Sarah is through with the back porch."

"What's she doing?"

"Timing Seymour to see how long he can be quiet."

"What's the bet?"

"If he can be quiet for five minutes he gets to decide where they go on a date."

"They are going out?"

"She likes him. I don't think its love, or lust for that fact, but she does like him."

"Well, it can't be any stranger than… I can't think of anything stranger."

"How about," Jake said pulling her to him, "a brilliant, beautiful, genius doctor falling for a computer geek."

Hugging him hard, she put forth, "Or a handsome, intelligent, super spy falling for a lab rat."

Hearing the back door open, they kiss then separate.

Sarah stepped to the door and smiled, "You two look just like two teens that almost got caught making out."

"Well…" Jake started.

"Don't bother Sweetheart, just claim the fifth."

"Listen, um…, Seymour and I are going to a movie. I'll be back… later."

Diane stepped forward and took Sarah's hands in hers. Leaning forward she whispered, "Are you…?"

"No, no… It's just as friends."

"What movie are you going to?"

"A special screening of 'Bringing Up Baby'. He knows more about Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant than anybody I've ever met."

"Well go have fun. There are plenty of leftovers if you want to come back here to eat."

"Yes mother."

Open mouthed, Diane stared at her friend.

"I'm just kidding Diane. It's a generous offer."

"Not really." Jake said from behind them, "She'll just eat a green salad tonight, so she will be pushing potato salad for a week."

"You know a green salad sounds good."

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The next week was easy on the Foley's:

Sarah was firmly ensconced into her new home, complete with coy pond and over done security system.

Karen was busy doing background checks of potential nannies for Nora Lee.

New Executive Director Skerritt was giving Lou more responsibilities in anticipation of her future promotion. While he didn't particularly like Jake, he at least seemed content to allow the team to do what they do best.

The new Chief Director, Carissa Carol who had spent the last ten years heading the code breaking division, seem genuinely intrigued and excited with Jake's abilities.

Kyle and Fran moved in together, clandestinely.

Jake was finally allowed to let go of his apartment over the deli.

And Diane kept having this craving for corndogs.

C'est la vie

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In a dark back room in an old Sorority house near the Georgetown campus, a scared blond woman faced a cloaked figure.

"What did you learn?"

"Nothing." She answered timidly.

"How long did you live with them?"

"For nearly five months."

"And in all that time you saw no evidence of classified material or equipment."

"Nothing. They are just an average couple with a new baby and are very much in love."

"You aren't protecting them are you?"

"No ma'am, I gave you my word and I've lived up to it. There is no evidence in the house that they are more than a normal couple."

"Alright, you may go."

"Yes, Momma Lou."

As she exited the house through a dark side door, two figures stand unseen in the shadows. The taller of the two put its arm around the other and they shared their 'thoughts'.

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THE END

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