I OWN NOTHING! I own the plot, my OC Nera, and maybe a few others. Anything else is owned and operated by the creators
It was warm, the rain from the last few days leaving the air fresh. The morning sunlight glinting off her girlfriend's skin while she slept gave Amy the perfect opportunity to draw her. Classes wouldn't start for another week, so she was taking the time now that she wouldn't have then.
A shift told her that her model was waking up. Amy looked up to meet Lucy's dark chocolate eyes as they watched her.
"What are you doing up so early?" Lucy asked, glancing at the digital clock on Amy's side of the bed. It was only a little after seven.
Amy smiled, "The rain stopped, so I wanted to use the light before it came back." Her smile told another story as her gaze drifted over Lucy's sheet clad form. Lucy's eyes did the same before returning to Amy's.
"Really, so I wouldn't be able to tempt you back to bed. I better get up then." Lucy moved to do as she had suggested when Amy's arms moved to encircle her waist.
"I didn't say that," Amy whispered into Lucy's ear. It was several hours before either left the bed.
SEVERAL MONTHS LATER . . .
The annoying ring of the phone broke Lucy from her dreaming. She glared at the offending machine as Amy sleepily told her to answer it. Doing so, Lucy quickly sat up. She recognized the voice on the other end. She listened to the recorded message, dread filling her.
Amy sat up, not looking the look on Lucy's face. If she hadn't known better, she would have called it fear. Lucy didn't get scared; at least, she didn't as far as Amy knew.
"Who was it?" Amy asked as Lucy hung up the phone and sat staring at it.
"An old . . . acquaintance," Lucy said slowly, "a very old acquaintance."
"What did they want?" Amy asked, not liking the look Lucy had on her face. It was disturbing to see her fearless girlfriend looking so . . . afraid.
Lucy closed her eyes, knowing and hating the feelings of dread growing inside of her.
"Lucy, what is it?" Amy felt dread of her own begin to form deep in the pit of her stomach as Lucy still didn't answer her.
Two days later, a subdued couple walked through airport security and boarded a flight that was headed to San Jose, California from Barcelona, Spain. Lucy had refused to tell Amy anything besides that she had to leave. As much as Lucy had insisted that Amy not come along, Amy tagged along anyway.
The plane trip was quiet, almost no one on it except business men. Once in California, they were met by Scud, who was as surprised to see Amy as she was surprised to see him. He said nothing as he grabbed their bags and led them to Lucy's blue Caddy. Scud had kept it in the States, because, surprisingly, it was easier to track large shipments than it was people.
Driving towards the safe house, Amy watched as the scenery passed by. Lucy was doing much the same thing, neither woman willing to break the silence. Finally, Scud, tired of hearing nothing but silence, demanded to know why Lucy was risking everything to return to the one country in the world that had the most outstanding warrants for her arrest.
"Aislinn Letum contacted me two days ago," Lucy explained.
Scud brought the car to a screeching halt in the middle of the empty back road. Amy's seatbelt tightened as she was unexpectedly sent forward. Both turned to stare at the woman.
"The Dreamer of Death?" Amy's eyes had widened. Of all the villains she had studied at the D.E.B.S. Academy, Aislinn Letum was the only one to scare her. Unfortunately, she said this at the same time Scud cried out, 'your ex?' Lucy winched at both statements.
"Yes," Lucy told them, preparing herself for Amy's next question. Luckily, Scud didn't let Amy say anything. He was to busy freaking out.
"Letum contacted you? Why? What did she want? She expects you to do anything for her after they way she treated you?" His rant went on for a while as he actually got out of the car and began to pace. Amy stared at him in shock. She had never seen Scud act like this, not even when Lucy had once accidentally spilled coffee over his keyboard while he had been talking to Janet.
"Scud calm down!" Lucy yelled at him. "She didn't actually speak to me, only played me a recording." She closed her eyes, guilt and fear playing for dominance on her face.
Scud stopped his ranting. Amy turned her full attention to her girlfriend.
"A recording of what Lucy?" Amy asked softly.
"My cousin," Lucy said, looking up when a thump alerted them that Scud had sat down in shock.
"What does your cousin have to do with this?" Amy ignored the fact that Lucy had never told her that she had a cousin.
"How did she find her?" Scud asked, more to himself, "I did as you said; all proof that you were related is gone from public record. The only ones who know are us, your uncle and cousin. How did she find out?"
"I don't know, but . . ." Lucy paused, "I'm going to find out."
Aislinn Letum looked out of her window, smiling at the darkening sky. Her diamond had just returned to the country. She had been waiting for this moment ever since Lucy had disappeared after their break-up. She turned to look at the ten year old boy lying on the couch thrust up like a thanksgiving turkey. He looked so cute when he glared at her, since she had him gagged after recording him for Lucy.
"My, such a pretty site, don't you agree?" She walked over to him and caressed his face. It amazed her that only a few hours before there had been bruises there. Now they were gone, healed. She had heard of this from a rather crazy doctor that one of her men had stumbled across. Now that she was seeing it, she believed it.
The boy growled something unintelligible through the gag, still glaring at her. He fought against his bounds, dried blood flaking away from the healed raw spots. Aislinn merely laughed, petting the boy on his head.
"Don't fret so," she told him as if he were a baby, "your pretty cousin will be here soon to join you." She went on to describe how she would win Lucy back and what they would do once they were together again.
A man entered the room. He waited calmly for Aislinn to notice him. Once she had, he began his report. "Lucy Diamond arrived at ten this morning with her current girlfriend, verifying the rumors. They were picked up by her only remaining man Scud. As far as anyone can tell, they are heading to a safe house."
"Are some of the men following?"
"No, they lost the car once it turned onto the back roads." He winched at the glare she sent him.
"Did any of you think to plant a tracker on the car?"
"We were going to, but Scud never left it alone. The two women came out to him from the airport."
"Very well, have a team watch the turn where they disappeared. When a chance presents itself, place a tracker on the car." The man nodded. "Also, take this one back to his cell. Prepare him for the next recording." Aislinn smiled, "This one will be . . . graphic, just to make sure Lucy knows I'm serious."
The safe house was a small cabin. Scud followed the two women inside with their bags. Lucy thanked him and disappeared into the bedroom. Amy followed. Scud sighed. This wasn't going to be good. He left to get something to eat.
In the bedroom, Amy made sure the door was locked. She didn't want Scud or anyone else who might show up to disturb them.
"Why didn't you tell me-?"
"Tell you what? That I still had family? That I dated someone who people actually have a reason to fear? What do you want me to tell you Amy?" Lucy turned to the woman she had dropped everything for, anger apparent in every line of her body.
"Your cousin," Amy replied, "you told me about just about everyone else in your family. Why did you never tell me about her?"
Lucy sat on the bed, guilt replacing the anger. Amy cautiously slid in behind her and wrapped her arms around her. She could wait, but she couldn't stand Lucy acting so unlike herself.
"Nera is my younger cousin; actually she's my only cousin." Lucy smiled a little bit, "I was around twelve or so when she was born. My Aunt Rachel brought her over to meet us just after she was born, to meet the family. It was one of the few times that everyone was actually present without having to be threatened." Lucy took a few breaths. "Three years later, my aunt died and Nera's father didn't really want her having anything to do with the family business. I didn't see her again until my parent's funeral, two years later."
"What happened after that?" Amy asked, knowing that something was going to happen soon in the story.
"My uncle left her in my care, well, mine and Scud's. He had a date that same day with a woman that he eventually married. Nera cried for hours after he left, nothing we did made any difference." Amy grinned at the thought of her girlfriend faced with a child of only five or so. "Finally Scud, annoyed, threw a stuffed ball at her."
"He didn't!" Somehow, Amy didn't see Scud doing something like that.
"He did, and Nera stared at him in shock. Right before she threw it right back at him, calling him mean and demanding that he play at the same time. We spent the rest of the time playing games like that, or with me hitting Scud for various comments." Amy could imagine that part. "She ended up staying with us for a few days, something that happened a lot whenever her father was in town." Lucy sighed, "I thought my dad was a little distant at times, but at least I was always surrounded by people who I knew cared and kinda filled the void when Dad wasn't there. When Scud and I finished with the Schaffers, it became nearly too dangerous for Nera to be around me. I had Scud wipe any public record that tied us together. I didn't want anyone like the D.E.B.S. of the FBI going after her to get to me. I didn't want anyone going after her period."
"I understand," Amy replied slowly, "I wouldn't want someone to harm my family in order to get to me either. How did Letum find out?"
"I must not have been careful enough. Even when we were . . . together . . . I tried to make sure she never found out. Even when I was in hiding with just Scud and a few henchmen for company, I would email Nera every week or so to keep in contact."
"So that's why you didn't tell me about her?" Amy asked, wondering how she posed a threat.
"Old habits die hard," Lucy replied, "I was so used to not telling anyone that it didn't even cross my mind to tell you." Lucy huffed out a dry laugh, "The funny thing is that Nera probably would have actually liked you."
"Why is that funny?" Amy asked, unsure if she should be offended or not.
"Nera doesn't like a lot of people. If she ever thought about it, she would make a great villain, or a spy."
"That secretive, huh?" Amy asked, "Any reason why?"
"Now you ask an impossible question," Lucy told her, switching their positions so she could look at Amy, "I'm not sure even Nera knows why." That comment ended their conversation as they grew quiet.
Scud knocking on the door broke them out of their quiet states. The smell of the Taco Bell he had brought home with him drew them out of the room. Together they sat eating, Scud asking various questions on where Lucy wanted to start. A knock on the door caused them all to freeze. Scud stood up, pistol slipping into his hand as he motioned for Lucy and Amy to slip into the bedroom.
Answering the door, a rather bubbly demand for Scud to explain his disappearing act caused Amy and Lucy to both roll their eyes. Amy shook her head. Leave it to Janet to find a safe house that no one but present company was supposed to know about.
Scud, faced with an angry girlfriend, quickly tugged her inside, looking to see if anyone had followed her. "Janet, what are you doing here? I thought you were on a mission?"
Janet huffed, "We were on a mission, but someone beat us to the target. She left her calling card," she handed Scud a piece of black cloth with the initials A.L. sewed on it in gray thread beneath a coffin sewed in white. Scud paled at the sight of it.
"That still doesn't explain how you found this place," Scud replied, edging away from the cloth. At least Lucy had had something harmless for her calling card, something that hadn't spelled death for those that found it.
Janet shrugged, "I traced the last email you sent me. It came from the computer here."
Inside the bedroom, Lucy and Amy fought to keep their laughter silent. Again, leave it to Janet to do something no one was supposed to be able to do.
"Has she always been like this?" Lucy whispered, still trying to contain her laughter.
"Most of her stupidity act is just an act," Amy replied, not trusting herself to say anything else as she fought a new wave of laughter.
"Scud, why do you keep looking at the door?" Janet sounded miffed, "I wasn't followed, although Max and Dominique tried."
"I still don't like your two teammates," Scud replied, "I also don't trust them to not follow you anyway."
Janet huffed again, "We already know their back in the States Scud, we just don't know where." Scud looked at her and Janet quickly elaborated, "Max had me delete several shots of airport security and some files to hide it, so it's only the three of us." Now Janet sounded worried, "Please tell me you know where they are Scud, please?"
Sharing a look, the two women nodded. Together they stood and exited the bedroom. Janet squealed and lunged at Amy, who deftly caught her. Lucy rolled her eyes as Janet babbled almost none stop at Amy, asking various questions over what they were doing here. To Amy's credit, she only told Janet that it didn't involve anything actually illegal.
"Where did you find this?" Lucy asked, catching sight of the cloth lying where Janet had left it on the table among the remains of dinner.
"We found it at an old factory where an arms deal was supposed to happen. When we got there . . ." Janet paused, looking green at the thought of remembering what the scene had looked like. "It was a bloodbath. The only thing without any blood on it was that."
Lucy shivered. She recalled how Letum worked. It was one reason they had broken up, that and the broken arm she had given Lucy. Letum was good at hiding how she tended to deal with people, but everyone eventually slipped up. "Of course not. Letum never did like to get her calling card dirty."
"How did you . . .?" Janet started to ask, almost ignoring Amy's warning look.
"How many people?" Lucy cut her off; staring off into the distance at something only she could see.
Janet gulped, "We think maybe ten, but we're not sure. It was bad, and just as we left the CSI teams had just uncovered . . ." Janet had to stop as tears readily flowed down her face. Scud wrapped an arm around her, a sinking feeling in his stomach. No one survived Letum when she wanted them dead.
"Uncovered what?" Amy asked softly, not really wanting to know. She had read Letum's file many times, she knew her M.O. almost as well as Letum did.
"How many Janet, how many kids?" Lucy asked instead.
Janet held up a hand, quickly flashing a five and a three. Lucy looked at Amy, who had sat down. "Eight kids," Amy looked sick.
Janet nodded, "That wasn't even the worst thing. Two women were uncovered as well, both had been pregnant."
"Enough," Lucy said, "I don't want to know any more." She laid a hand on Amy's shoulder. Amy covered it with one of her own, looking green at the thought of what Janet and the others must have had to of seen.
Janet switched topics, or at least tried to. "Why are you guys here? There are still warrants out for you guys."
"Aislinn Letum," Amy said, knowing that Janet could fill in the rest.
"Oh dear," Janet sat down heavily, "why are you after her?"
"She has something of mine," Lucy told her, "we came to get her back." The story was then explained to Janet, who nodded in understanding.
The door burst open, causing all four occupants to turn guns onto the two intruders. Janet was a bit surprised because she hadn't even seen where Lucy and Amy had hidden their weapons. Scud looked at Janet out of the corner of his eye, they hadn't followed her.
"What are you guys doing here?" Max demanded, keeping her weapon trained on Lucy while Amy and Janet lowered theirs. Dominique lowered hers as well, fishing into her pouch for a cigarette and her lighter.
"I told you it was nothing," Dominique told Max, irritation mingling with her accent. She entered the cabin fully and occupied one of the empty chairs.
Scud sighed and lowered his weapon so he could pull Max inside and make sure that they hadn't been followed. He knew that the turn off was being watched. Luckily the cabin was supposedly so well hidden that only those who knew where it was could find it. Turning to face the three D.E.B.S., he glared at them, especially Max and Dominique.
"I hope you realize that the turn off is being watched," he told them, angry that his security measure were proving lacking.
Max snorted, "We noticed, we also noticed that they were asleep."
Janet blushed hard and they turned to look at her. "I didn't mean to use that much sleep gas," she told them, embarrassed that she had messed up on the dosage again.
"Actually," Lucy grinned, impressed, "that wasn't a bad idea. It means we have more time and less obstacles when we change safe houses." Janet beamed at the praise, glad she had managed, however accidentally, to do something right.
"What are you guys all doing here?" Amy asked, knowing that they would all be in trouble if anyone found out they had been in contact.
"We're not officially here," Max told her, pointing to the three of them. "Officially, we're all on leave after the last mission."
"That bloodbath was unsettling, but a perfect cover for this fiasco," Dominique added in.
"I thought you guys weren't going to return, what changed your plans?" Max glared at Lucy, as if it were all her fault. Technically, it wasn't.
"That is none of your business," Lucy spit at her.
"It is if it has anything to do with Aislinn Letum," Max bit back.
"Okay, enough," Amy stood between them, knowing Lucy wouldn't move past her and hoping that Max would do the same. "This is not the time or the place for an argument. Max, cool it. Lucy, please calm down." Both women glared at each other but backed off.
"You guys are going to have to leave," Lucy told them, "Aislinn Letum is only going to play with the D.E.B.S., just like she always has."
"We can't just let her get away with what she did!" Max bit out, getting ready to return her gun onto Lucy. She should have known Amy couldn't turn her legit.
"That bloodbath wasn't the first one, nor will it be the last," Lucy shot at her, "the last one she did before she went underground? It involved the death of six D.E.B.S., seven FBI, three CIA, and two NCIS agents, not to mention the several dozen innocents who were killed simply due to being directly related to the arms dealers and assessable at the time. Letum has no qualms when it comes to killing."
"I suppose you know her so well," Max glared at her, "what did you do, work with her?"
Lucy went silent, steel hard anger igniting inside of her. Amy was almost terrified, but suddenly some things about Lucy made sense.
"No, I slept with her," Lucy hissed out, hand reaching for her gun. Amy stopped her, a look and tug later they were in the bedroom behind a slammed door.
Max sat stunned into total silence. Scud glared at her, as did Janet. Dominique simply looked bored.
"Did you have to go and bring that up?" Scud demanded, remembering the state Lucy had been in after everything had happened with Letum. Now with the new situation, he didn't know if Lucy was going to survive it.
"I didn't know," Max said, angry at being blamed for the suddenly overemotional villain. Ex-villain, she reminded herself.
"Okay," Janet stood up, "enough. We're getting no where by fighting. Let's leave now and try talking about this tomorrow, after everyone has had some sleep and time to cool off."
The phone ringing broke the standoff they were in after Janet's words. Scud let the answering machine get it, blanching at the voice on the other end. He quickly turned it up so they could all hear it.
"My Lucy, I'm surprised at you. Befriending the D.E.B.S.? Whatever happened to 'A good D.E.B. is a dead D.E.B.'?" Soft laughter drifted over the phone. "I guess things change over time, even diamonds. Tell me Lucy, how did you like my last message?" Again with the soft laughter, "I'm sure you liked my little display at that factory, but then, you never were one for shedding blood."
Lucy and Amy came out of the bedroom, Lucy looked livid bordering on homicidal. Something told Max and the others that somehow, no one had ever seen that particular look on her face.
"What have you done to Nera?" Demanded Lucy, approaching the phone like a hunter might approach a wolf that he wasn't was dead.
"Why Lucy, you are there!" Letum said this as if she were surprised. Soft laughter again floated over the speaker. Scud quickly changed it over to the actual phone so the machine wouldn't cut Letum off. He began a search to trace the call.
"Answer my question," Lucy was barely controlling herself. Amy's hand kept her from leaping at the phone.
"Of course, your dear little cousin is currently just fine. He has such a nice little oddity about him, did you know? I can cut him all I like and a few hours la-"
"Don't you dare," hissed out Lucy, hands clenching as if she were holding her guns. Soft laughter was her only answer as Letum cut the line. Scud swore, the timer merely seconds from locating Letum's lair.
"Who's Nera?" Max asked at the same time Amy burst out that she thought Lucy's cousin was a girl.
Lucy sighed, all emotion leaving her as she collapsed boneless onto the floor. She wanted to curl up and admit defeat so bad that it wasn't even funny. Letum terrified her, and no one had ever survived when they challenged her. How was Lucy supposed to?
Janet took her teammates aside and explained why Lucy and Amy had risked returning. Just as Max was about to swallow her pride to apologize, the roaring of motorcycles came from the road. A brick, of all things, came through the window. Letum had used the call to find them.
Around the brick was tied a CD case and a black cloth. The black cloth was the same as the one Janet had brought with her when she had arrived. Amy picked it up, unwrapped the cloth and handed Scud the CD.
The CD proved to me Letum's next message to Lucy. Even Dominique paid attention to what came on the screen. After the 'show' was over, Letum appeared on screen.
"Your dear little cousin is still alive for now my pretty diamond, but if you want him to stay that way I suggest you come to me. You know the place, and you know how to come. You also know what will happen if you do anything else. I wonder . . . how fast could he heal from a bullet wound?" The screen went dark.
"She's even crazier that we first thought," said Dominique, who for one of the few times in her life was shocked.
"How old is Nera?" Max asked softly, betting on thirteen.
"She's ten," Lucy answered, for once without any anger or spite.
"No way," Max turned to look at the person who she blamed for taking her best friend away. "No ten year-old is that big."
"Nera was always big for her age, its how so many people think she's a boy." Lucy told her, looking at Max with a piercing stare that had Max stepping back.
"What was she talking about," Amy asked, meaning the place Letum had mentioned to Lucy.
Lucy shook her head. She wasn't going to chance anything. Instead, she gave orders to Scud. He was to take the D.E.B.S. back to their house. Amy was to go to the next safe house and stay there with Scud. Amy protested, not wanting to leave Lucy to Letum by herself. Scud was the same way. Lucy didn't listen. She would be damned if Letum did anything to her lover and her best friend.
Two days later, Lucy arrived, alone, at the top of the cliffs just outside San Francisco. It was a small, out of the way area where she and Letum had both broken up and often gone on picnics. It was a place Lucy had never wanted to return to. She much preferred the shoulder up in Washington D.C. where she had taken Amy.
"So you actually came alone." Letum appeared out of the shadows. A group of her goons were behind her, guns trained on Lucy. One was holding an unconscious Nera. He was the only one without a gun. Lucy could see the outline of his shoulder holster, so he did have one.
"You knew I would." Lucy replied, her eyes trained on Letum. Letum wasn't the only one who had come armed. Lucy herself had come heavily so, with more than just her guns.
"Of course, you always did have a soft spot for those weaker than you. Particularly if said people were important to you." Letum shrugged, "Luckily for me I took care of those problems long ago."
"What do you want from me Letum?" Lucy demanded, hand inching towards her nearest gun.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Letum motioned with her hand and three guns were now pointed at the unconscious Nera. "After all, surely you wish for your cousin to remain alive."
Lucy dropped her hand. She repeated her question. Letum smiled at her.
"Nothing much, just your help in . . . negotiating . . . the way to the Crystal of Spring." She smiled at Lucy. Lucy glared in return.
"Is that why you went through all of this trouble? Just so I would steal the most valuable gem next to the Hope Diamond for you? Why should I do a thing like that?" Lucy briefly glanced at Nera, knowing that Letum knew exactly what she was doing.
Letum smiled again, "Oh, I knew that just your cousin wasn't enough. That's why I took the liberty of acquiring someone even closer to your heart." Another motion and Amy, unconscious as Nera, was brought out. Lucy felt her breath catch. Letum had her, and she knew it.
"Let them go and I'll do whatever you want," Lucy promised, knowing that she was going to regret doing this.
"No, I think I'll keep them. Of course, I'll be keeping you as well. I have many uses for your skills." Letum dropped her hand and one of the goons aimed a shot at Lucy. She dogged, not hearing the next shot as a pinprick touched her arm.
Damn, she thought as she fainted into slumber, damn it all . . .
"Place them all in the cell," Letum commanded, watching as all three of her prisoners were tossed carelessly into the cell. "Be careful, I want them in one piece. After all, it is easier to twist someone's arm if it is not already done."
"But Boss, won't they try to escape?" asked the lead goon.
"They might," Aislinn admitted, "but I am looking forward to it. Did you check them all for trackers and such?"
"Yes Boss, every inch of them. The weapons are locked inside your safe. The trackers were destroyed."
"Good, return to your posts. Let's give them some privacy for now."
Later that night, Lucy groaned. She hated being drugged. It usually caused everything to be messed up. Blinking slowly several times, the dark room came into focus. Moving her arms, she was slightly surprised to find that she wasn't tied up. She felt for any of her weapons, not surprised to find nothing. She wasn't going to check her boots just yet, just in case they were being watched.
Moving around, she found that she wasn't alone in the cell. Amy was sprawled out next to her, a bruise darkening on her cheek. She felt anger flare. Letum would pay. Examining Amy, she sighed in relief. Amy was alright for the moment. Turning around, she felt around to see if anyone else was there. Hitting a smaller hand, Lucy sighed again. Nera was with them. This was a good thing. Feeling for any bounds, Lucy began to untie her cousin. Nera awoke while she was doing so.
"Get away from me!" She kicked out. Lucy caught her feet, still tied together.
"It's just me Nera; will you let me untie you?" Lucy spoke softly, hoping that Nera would recognize her.
"Lucy?" Nera was crying softly now, "please don't let her touch me again." She curled up to Lucy, wanting the protection Lucy had always provided her.
"She won't, not if I have anything to say about it." Lucy finished untying her cousin, wrapping her arms around her.
A few minuets later, Amy set up quickly. She came out of being drugged far faster than either of the cousins. "Lucy?" Amy looked around, remembering saying goodbye to her girlfriend and arriving at the house with Scud. She had gone outside to draw the view from the coast side of the yard . . . and that's where things began to go fuzzy.
Lucy woke up from her drifting, "Over here," she offered her free arm for Amy to curl up in, leaving one tightly around Nera.
"Where are we?" Amy dizzily made her way over to Lucy and curled up to her.
"One of Letum's holding cells. Probably in one of her warehouses, where it is exactly I don't know."
"How did we end up here?"
"It was a trap, she expected me to send you away to a different house. She was waiting to grab you in case Nera wasn't enough leverage." Lucy looked at the girl curled up on her other side. The welts and burns left by the gag and ropes were already healing. Lucy wasn't happy to realize that Nera was in dirty pajamas. How Letum had yet to realize that Nera was actually a girl she couldn't figure out.
"Who is the crazy woman exactly?" Nera whispered, tired but feeling safe for the first time in days.
Amy and Lucy both started, neither realizing that Nera had been awake.
"An ex of mine," Lucy admitted quietly, "someone I thought I'd never hear from again."
"Oh, is she the reason you went away for so long? I already figured out she was one of the bad guys."
Amy hid her smile. Nera probably didn't realize that a little over a year ago Lucy was considered one of the bad guys.
"Yea, she is," Lucy admitted, wondering what Nera was getting at.
"Okay," Nera snuggled in tighter to Lucy, "when can we go home?"
Lucy looked at Amy, not wanting to lie to her cousin. She didn't even know if the plan would still work.
"Soon," Amy answered for her girlfriend, "we can all go home soon."
"Who are you?" Nera eyed Amy warily.
"This is Amy, my girlfriend," Lucy explained, hoping Nera wouldn't freak out.
"Oh, she's not gonna hurt us is she?"
"No," Lucy smiled at Amy's shocked and blushing face, "Amy isn't going to hurt us."
"Ok," Nera drifted back into sleep, one hand drifting over Lucy's abdomen to cautiously touch Amy's hand that rested there. Amy changed its position so that her hand could hold Nera's. All of them drifted back into sleep as the remaining drugs in their system continued to fade.
"Are you sure about this?" Max demanded as she looked over Scud's shoulder, who was looking over Janet's shoulder as the woman traced the tracker they had placed on Lucy.
"It should, I mean, how many people ever look inside a persons shoe for a tracker?" Janet replied, typing in the commands that would activate the tracker.
"How about an insane woman and her idiot goons?" Max shot back, not really ready to rely on a plan thought up by a master criminal.
"Letum wouldn't even think to check," Scud informed the irritating girl behind him, "there would be too much of a chance that the tracker would be broken by the person walking around."
"So then why did we take such a chance?" Dominique asked, annoyed at the people clustered around the computer. Scud had forbidden her to smoke around his computers and she couldn't go outside due to the fact that if anyone found out about their involvement they would be court marshaled.
"Because it was the only shot we had of finding out where Letum is hiding." Scud replied as Janet let out an excited yip.
"The tracker's working!" She exclaimed, "Give me a few seconds," she typed in the codes quickly, giggling happily as a map of the warehouse district showed up on the screen. Soon they had the building where Letum was holding Amy and the others.
"So what now, we storm the place?" Max hoisted up her loaded gun.
"Hold on a second Quickdraw," Scud told her, trying to get her to lower the gun, "we follow the plan."
Max scowled, not happy with the plan. "Fine, but if this fails Lucy better have room for all of us in the getaway."
Scud nodded, hoping that it wouldn't come to that. He didn't think he'd be able to survive.
"I thought Squad 1 was removed from the Letum case." Ms. Petri said as she looked at the three young women standing before her. Her gaze was stern, unblinking.
"We were," Max agreed, "but we located information that Aislinn Letum contacted Lucy Diamond, bringing her back to the States along with Amy Bradshaw."
"Where did you get this information?" Now they had Ms. Petri's interest.
Janet spoke up, "Scud was contacted by Diamond a few days ago. He told me and I passed the information along." It was a plausible lie, one that Ms. Petri accepted.
"Very well, have they made contact?"
"Yes, Scud picked both Diamond and Bradshaw up at the airport in San Jose, California. According to Scud, Letum is after the Crystal of Spring, a heist that she needed Diamond's help in completing." Max continued.
"So one of the worst criminals in history was able to accomplish something that this and every other Intelligence organization failed to do," Ms. Petri didn't look pleased.
"Yes, well, it seems that Letum isn't calling in a favor. She has Diamond's young cousin held hostage, and now Bradshaw as well. Scud and Bradshaw were sent to a different safe house after the first was compromised while Diamond made contact with Letum. It was a trap, Bradshaw being taken just before the meeting started." Janet explained while Dominique handed Ms. Petri the CD Letum had sent Lucy and a tape of Amy being kidnapped.
"Scud gave us these as proof as to what he was telling us," Dominique said in her accented voice.
"Very well, play them." Janet did as instructed. They acted like it was the first time they had watched both videos. Ms. Petri looked sick at the thought of someone willing to shoot a kid just to see how long it took him to heal. "Has there been any further contact?"
Janet fidgeted, looking at Max so she could take control. Max did so.
"No, but Scud and Diamond both contacted us through Janet on a deal."
"What deal?" Ms. Petri looked suspicious.
"Diamond wanted a deal made that if she helped us to capture Letum, both hers and Bradshaw's names would be cleared. She thought it was fair since Letum is higher on the most wanted list than they are. Also, most of the Reynolds crime syndicate has been dismantled due to Bradshaw's influence. What's left is all legitimate, including a boat rental business in Spain and a small chain of art supply stores mainly around the U.S., Spain, and Australia." Max explained, showing surprise on the part about Australia as she 'read' it off the sheet of paper in the folder she held. In reality, she had already memorized it.
Ms. Petri leaned back in her chair. Lucy Diamond and Amy Bradshaw were two thorns in her side, two people who had made a fool out of her. Yet, for all that she tried to find them and bring them in, they escaped her grasp. Some how, she had her suspicions that the three young women in front of her had something to do with that, but she couldn't pen anything on them. However, an even bigger thorn was Aislinn Letum. Before she had disappeared, she had not only killed several of her girls, but one of her young nieces who had only graduated a few years before her death. Letum had also killed several of her friends from her days at the Academy. Truth be told, half the things that were on file about Lucy Diamond were overdone lies. Amy Bradshaw had been an excellent student, if a reluctant spy at times. Pride verses ridding the world of one of the most evil human beings ever born.
"Very well, upon delivery of Letum to prison I shall have a pardon prepared. However," She looked at the girls carefully watching their reactions, "if there is ever even a hint of either of them willingly partaking in criminal acts the pardon will be revoked for the both of them."
"Yes Ms. Petri," all three D.E.B.S. agents replied.
"Now, explain to me the plan that Ms. Diamond has given you."
Aislinn approached the cell. She stood and stared at the three people curled up in one of the corners of the cell. She glared at the blonde who was snuggled up on her diamond's left side. She should be the one curled up there, not some D.E.B.S. reject. She motioned to the three guards.
"Wake them up; I don't care how you do it. I want the brat and the bitch tied up on the tables. Chain Lucy to the wall so she can fully see what will happen to those she holds dear if she tries anything."
She stepped back to watch as the three were roughly awoken. One of the men suffered a broken nose; another was nursing a bite mark, while the last one had a sprained knee. What she wanted was still done however, as she knew it would be.
"You shouldn't fight so hard," she admonished them. "It only makes your punishment worse." Aislinn smiled at her prisoners.
"Don't touch them!" Lucy yelled, struggling against the manacles that had her trapped against the wall. She was inwardly cursing for not getting into her boots when she had had the chance. Now she would have to watch as Aislinn showed her what would happen if she didn't do what she wanted. Okay, she would admit that she missed stealing and being bad a little bit, but not enough that she would risk losing Amy. Aislinn was making sure that she did both.
"Ah, so alive this morning," Aislinn approached to touch Lucy's face. Lucy flinched away. Aislinn slapped her. "You should enjoy the show," she hissed as she grabbed Lucy's shirt in her fists and made the woman look at her, "or maybe I won't be so nice after I'm finished and place you in different cells."
Lucy quieted, settling for glaring at the women who held them all in the palm of her hand. The worse thing was that Aislinn knew it.
"Now that that's settled," Aislinn walked over to a large case were several implements she liked to use in her torture resided. One side was reserved for chemical compounds that caused different nerve reactions in her victim. The middle was for more conventional items like knives and other such items. The end was for a more permanent state. "Let's get one with our demonstration, shall we?" For the next several hours, all three of her victims screamed. Funny, she was only physically torturing two of them.
They were all in the same cell again. Aislinn had happily told Lucy that tomorrow they would start planning the heist before flouncing away and demanding that one of her goons start her bath while the others cleaned up her 'play area'.
The only thing Lucy could do, since a first aid kit seemed to be too much to ask for, was hold Amy and Nera, constantly telling them that she was sorry. Amy was worse than Nera, mainly due to Nera's strange healing ability.
"It's okay Lucy," Nera tried to smile through the pain whatever chemical Letum had injected her with worked its way through her nervous system. "It wasn't like you could have done anything to stop her." Winching as she moved her arms, she tugged until the sleeves of her pajamas tore off. This left her arms bare, revealing the scars that were still fading from past experiences in that 'play room'. "Use these on Amy," she handed the cloth to Lucy.
"How can you say its okay?" Lucy asked, helping a winching Amy wrap up the deepest cuts on her arms and one on her leg.
"I know you can get us out of this. Besides, at least she hasn't separated us." Nera curled up beside Lucy in a fetal position. "I don't think I could handle that."
Before Lucy could reply, Letum reappeared. "I changed my mind. Leave those two here, take Lucy to the cell next to this one."
Two guards came in and tore Lucy away from her lover and her cousin. Nera surprised them by lunging at the nearest guard's legs and biting deep into one of them. Her nails, the ones that hadn't been broken, dug deep into the man's legs as well. He screeched and dropped Lucy's arm as he tried to remove Nera from his legs. He ended up tripping over both the girl and his own feet. Lucy smiled as she tore her arm away and landed her elbow into the other guard's nose. Amy kicked his shin with her uninjured leg, causing him to unbalance and fall to the floor.
Letum, in shock that her two strongest guards had been taken down, jumped out of the cell door and slammed it shut. She screamed for her other goons and was soon surrounded. She screamed for them to control the prisoners. They flooded into the cell, three to each person. The other guards dragged their injured outside. Now that they were back under control, Letum was calm and back to her normal self. If being a sadistic homicidal maniac could be considered normal.
"Now that wasn't very nice," she admonished them as if they were all very young children. She turned to Nera, "You know, if you wanted, I could train you and you could join my group."
Nera stopped struggling against the oversized idiots holding her and seemed to be considering it. She then spit into Letum's face, "I'd rather dine with rats than to work for you. The rats actually have manners."
Letum slapped her, "Stupid boy! I should have killed you and left you for your precious cousin to find!"
Nera glared, the slap hurting more because of whatever chemical she had been injected with. "I'm a girl you idiotic sadistic homicidal maniacal bitch!" Lucy and Amy stared, neither expecting such an outburst.
Letum, angrier now, told one of the guards not holding the prisoners to strip Nera. Lucy and Amy both started to fight again, but the guards tightened their holds. Soon enough, it was either stop fighting or suffocate. Neither was willing to give Letum the satisfaction of their deaths. Soon Nera was standing naked in the hold of the guards. It was painfully obvious that she was indeed not male.
"Leave them here, but I want around the clock guards watching them. If they try anything, shot the blonde first, the little brat second." Letum turned and left.
The guards did as told. They locked the cell door, but left three guards with loaded guns watching them. However, instead of watching them, the guards turned their backs and began a game of cards.
As soon as they had been freed, Lucy had Nera gathered into her arms, obstructing the view for any guards that thought to check out her cousin. Amy snatched up the remains of Nera's clothing from trampling feet. The girl was shaking.
"I want to go home," she whispered, "I want my bed and my friends. I want Lulu and Scuds. I want my dad."
"I know," Lucy told her as she and Amy got the girl dressed, "we both know." She glanced at Amy who nodded.
"I counted twenty, plus the three from earlier and the two who tried to take you out." Amy replied to Lucy's look.
"Twenty-five, she probably has ten more or so around the perimeter. So that makes around thirty- five guards. Her usual amount, give or take two or three." Lucy muttered. Some things did change, luckily crazy people didn't.
"Why does the number of guards matter?" Nera asked, "It's not like we can get passed them."
"Actually, we are going to get passed them," Lucy grinned, "In fact, hopefully reinforcements are going to show up soon." She turned to look at the guards. They were still completely ignoring them. Just to try it out, Lucy yelled at them. Once she finally had their attention, she demanded a first aid kit. All she was told to do was shut up. She actually had to argue with them for a near full twenty minuets to get them to threaten to shoot her, instead of one of the other two.
Turning, she smiled at Amy, who nodded. Together, they brought Nera back to the corner they had been in that morning. Nera sat and watched as both her cousin and her cousin's girlfriend took off their shoes and began to actually dismantle them. When no one appeared to ask what they were doing, Lucy revealed that her boots were packing four slim knives, her lock picking kit, a blinking tracker, three cloth masks, and some small plastic tablets that she handled carefully. Amy's tennis shoes revealed four more of the slim knives, a different type of the small plastic tablets, and two small cans that had been in the hollow heels of her shoes.
"Wow," Nera whispered, amazed at the sheer amount of things that had been hidden in such a small space.
"I know," Amy replied, "It surprised me to the first time I saw it."
"How is this going to help us though?" Nera asked as she expertly handled one of the knives.
Lucy raised an eyebrow, "Something you want to tell me?" She looked pointedly at the knife.
"I like to carve," Nera looked down and blushed, "I know it isn't very womanly, but I love it."
Amy smiled at Lucy over Nera's head. They had had a conversation similar to this. "I think it's great that you have something that you love to do. I like to draw; in fact I attend art school in Barcelona."
Nera looked up, "Lacy wanted me to take drawing lessons, but the only thing I can draw are buildings and stick people. I like carving better."
"Then do carving," Lucy told her, "Lacy can go complain elsewhere." Nera smiled fully this time.
The rest of the time was spent in hiding the knives (they allowed Nera to keep two) and the other objects where they could be used. Once the guards were replaced, Lucy shifted just slightly too alert Amy to get ready. These guards complained that it was stupid to be watching over sleeping people. It was thanks to them that they knew it was around eleven at night.
Once the guards were settled in, again with cards, the three females acted. With the masks slid over their faces, Amy rolled one of the small canisters towards the guards. They had just enough time to look down before the canister began to admit sleeping gas. It was the same gas, in the same amount, which Jane had used before at the first safe house. Soon the three guards and anyone else within thirty feet of them who didn't have their faces covered were deep asleep.
Quickly moving before someone could come and check on what had happened, if anyone was actually watching the cameras (if there were any cameras), Lucy was at the door picking the lock. Within five minutes the lock was open and Lucy was shoving it opened. Amy couldn't really walk, so she was given a ride on Lucy's back. Nera could walk just fine for the moment, so she stayed close to Lucy.
"Now what do we do?" Nera asked.
"Now we open the safe and take back mine and Amy's weapons." Lucy replied, forgetting that Nera actually didn't know what Lucy had been.
"Weapons, like the knives?" Nera nearly stopped.
"Yes," Amy replied, "very much like the knives."
Lucy rolled her eyes at the picture hiding the safe. As a rule, you usually didn't use a picture of yourself to hide a secret safe. You also didn't hide it where everyone could see it. Mumbling to herself, she twirled the dial. Nope, Letum hadn't changed her combination. Normally people hated high school lockers. Letum had used her locker combination for the safe combination. The combination was also written on a slip of paper tucked into the back of the picture. Letum could be intelligent at the worst times, but she had the worst memory of anyone any of the three had ever met.
Nera stared as Lucy pulled out several guns still in their holsters. Two she handed to Amy and three were strapped onto herself. A boot knife and twin wrist knives were strapped to Lucy's wrists and right ankle.
Alarms began to blare throughout the lair, signaling the end for any need of stealth. Loading Amy back onto her back and grasping Nera's hand, Lucy made a run for the door and back into the hall. She was met with the end of a rifle aimed at her chest.
"I should have known you'd try something like this," hissed out Letum as she cocked the rifle. "Are you still sore after all this time? So I broke your heart, big deal!" She shoved Lucy with the rifle and the brunette stumbled back into the room. "Get the fuck over it!" Any sanity that may have remained was gone now, if there ever had been any to begin with.
Amy slid off of Lucy's back and dragged Nera behind her. If they were careful, they would be able to slip past Letum.
They weren't that lucky.
As soon as they moved, Letum had her rifle aimed directly at them. "I should have killed you both from the start! Without either of you, I could have gotten her to do whatever I wanted!"
Letum's turn of attention gave Lucy the opportunity to knock the rifle out of her hands. It clattered to the floor with a bang as it went off. Now Lucy had Letum's full attention. She told them to run. Amy nodded, dragging Nera with her. The small tablets and remaining gas can took care of the remaining goons that tried to stop them.
They made it outside; just around the corner stood a van with an open door with someone standing just inside as if it, and the person inside, were waiting for them. Gunshots rang out behind them and someone tugged them inside the van.
"Scud, what took you guys so long?" Amy asked, turning to go back inside to help Lucy. Scud grabbed her and pulled her back.
"We had to wait for your former boss to prove good on her side of the deal. Then we actually had to get here." He looked at her and her makeshift bandages. "Holy shit, what did she do to you guys?" He rummaged around for the first aid kit just as an explosion rocked the van.
"Never mind me; I have to go help Lucy!" Amy tried to pull away again.
"You can barely walk, neither of you are going back in there." Scud told them as Janet's voice came over Scud's headset.
"Scud, are they with you? We can't find them and the explosion just took out a quarter of the building." Janet sounded worried and sounds of fighting came over the headset.
"I have Amy and Nera, Lucy's still inside. Which part of the building?"
"The one nearest the van," came Max's voice. "Everything in that direction is burning."
"No . . .," whispered Amy, knowing Lucy had been in that part of the building. Nera seemed to have reached that same conclusion. She scrambled to try to get out. Scud looked at them and reached under the seat. He had hoped that it wouldn't have to come to this.
Two quick pinpricks later and both females were out cold. Scud sighed. Amy was going to kill him for this.
Lucy ducked as Aislinn fought her. They had made their way into the hall. Aislinn hit something on the wall that caused the building to shake. An explosion threw Lucy and Aislinn both. The debris blocked the escape route from that part of the building. Fire nearly surrounded them.
Aislinn crackled loudly, claiming that they were going to die together in the ticking time bomb. She had wired the entire building to explode in sections at random. Lucy's eyes widened. Fear that Amy and Nera hadn't made it out safely entering her heart. Anger at Aislinn Letum and everything that she had done caused Lucy's continued self-control to break. She roughly grabbed the crazy woman's arm and proceeded to drag her though any open areas she could locate. The fact that they continued to down gave Lucy hope that she could find a way out.
More explosions and fires broke out. Twice Lucy had to double back in order to get nearer to where she hoped the exit to be. Aislinn had made another change in demeanor, now acting like a fearful child before breaking into ranting on how they were never going to get out and such things. Lucy growled in annoyance. If she didn't actually need Aislinn to get Amy's name cleared, she would have gladly left her in her own death pit.
"Lucy, is that you," came a voice that was choking on inhaled smoke.
Lucy looked over to see Max half carrying Janet. "What ware you still doing in here?"
"Trying to find the exit," Max shot back, the bite taken out by a coughing fit. "We got caught in the last explosion."
Lucy nodded, tugging on the suddenly struggling Aislinn, who began screaming something about puppies. Max, already mad at the woman for starting the entire mess, tossed a piece of concrete at her head. Aislinn muttered something about birds before succumbing to both the smoke and Max's accurate throw of the chunk of concrete. Lucy groaned at the thought of having to carry the woman, but tossed her over her shoulder anyway.
They took the only clear path they could find. Moving air spoke of some kind of opening, so they followed it. Just as what would be the final explosion went off, they found an exit. They made it through just in time as the final standing parts of the building collapsed.
Ambulances were waiting along with fire trucks. EMT's were already approaching to take Janet and Letum from them as others brought blankets for Lucy and Max. Scud and Dominique however beat them there. They gave Lucy cover as she escaped into the van. She only barely had enough sense left to slip in beside an unconscious Amy before succumbing to her own sudden exhaustion.
Three days later found the three captives in Lucy's safe house. Nera woke up in a guest room while Amy and Lucy awoke to find themselves in the room that was actually theirs in the safe house. They had been unconscious for most of those three days. Amy hadn't killed Scud, mostly because she didn't want the trouble of having to hide the body.
Scud had been busy. Letum was currently in a padded cell, no one having any luck in getting through the haze that had surrounded her mind. It was decided, from the various Intelligence agencies files and confessions of the henchmen who had survived the cremation of the building, that she would receive the needle. It was both a final sentence and an act of mercy.
Scud had made sure the files were right where they needed to be, adding a few of his own that he had from when Lucy had been with the woman. Also, Scud made sure that any and all documents needed to clear Lucy and Amy from the Most Wanted list were right behind the other files. By the time the two women were awake, they were free. He had also contacted Nera's father, who had thought Nera to be safe at home for the last two weeks. Scud continued to let him think that. As far as Nera's school was concerned, she was with her father on a business trip. Lacy wasn't hard to manipulate, she had been under the impression that Nera had been at her friend's house.
For the D.E.B.S., things were going well. Ms. Petri was being praised for having assigned the girls to officially bring in The Dreamer of Death. The girls, once they had recovered from being in the fire and various small injuries that had occurred while on the mission, were awarded various honors and position offers. Unofficially, Lucy Diamond was the one to capture Aislinn Letum. The pardon was the reward there.
BACK IN THE SAFE HOUSE
"So when do we have to have her back?" Lucy asked Scud as he informed her on what they had missed while sleeping.
"The end of the week," Scud replied.
"So then what are we going to do?" Amy asked as she stretched out on the couch, content for the moment to just cuddle.
"I was thinking that we would go back to Spain," Lucy began, "after all, it's not like we actually have to hide anymore."
"But you still want to go home," Amy finished the thought, "good, I want to do that as well."
No one heard the door click shut as they continued to talk. Nera wiped the tears away. It wasn't like she had expected them to stay. Why would they? She looked down at the clothes she was wearing. Amy's friend Janet had taken her out to get clothing for her stay until she could go home. Lucy and Amy had gone along, mostly to placate Janet when Nera refused almost all of the clothing she chose. Still, it hadn't been the same. Now they were going away again. She went back to her room.
"You think she heard?" Amy asked later that night as they got ready for bed. She was talking about Nera's attitude during dinner.
"I know she heard," Lucy replied as she wrapped her arms around Amy's waist.
"What are we going to do?"
Lucy sighed, "I have an idea, that is, if you wouldn't mind staying a while longer."
Amy's reply left little doubt in Lucy's mind later that night as they drifted into slumber.
"Lucy?" Nera stuck her head in through the crack she had made in the door. When her cousin didn't answer, Nera sighed and turned to go back to her room. Nightmare or no, it looked as if she wouldn't be receiving any comfort from them. Her body might be able to heal at impossible rates, but her mind was more or less the same as anyone else's.
When she got back to her room, she was surprised to see a nightlight shining from a corner of the room. It was in the shape of a diamond with a note attached to it. Reading the note, she did as it said and went to the living room.
The living room resembled a cave, with the sofa bed pulled out and made up with so many pillows she wondered if there was going to be any room for anyone to sleep. Lucy was sitting up among the pillows, a half asleep Amy leaning against her.
"Nightmare?" Lucy asked, motioning to the open spot on the bed.
"How did you know?" Nera climbed into the bed, surprise widening her eyes at the sight of the stuffed cat sitting on the pillow.
"A good guess," Lucy replied as she watched her cousin curl up with Lulu, the stuffed cat she had had Scud go and retrieve that afternoon.
"Do you really have to leave again?" Nera asked, wanting to know as Lucy and Amy arranged themselves so they could lay down.
"Yea, we do," Lucy answered, "but things are going to be different this time. Go to sleep Nera, you'll see in the morning." Nera did so, no nightmares troubling her now that she had her protector nearby.
Two days later Nera was back in her own room. Lacy was complaining about her having been gone for so long and other such things. Lucy and Amy had departed already for the airport. Nera was alright with that. Sitting on her desk was a carving kit, next to a new computer set up. An email address was already in the open email document. She eagerly sat down and began to type.
Days later, the ex-criminal mastermind and her ex-spy girlfriend stretched out on the oversized lounge chair Lucy had pacifically gotten for that purpose. They had returned to Barcelona, welcoming the fact that this time they were there under their own names and legitimate passports.
"I'm glad that's over," Amy stretched out her arm where a bandage rested. Similar ones resided on her other arm and one on her left leg.
"So am I," Lucy agreed, guilt settling over her at the sight of the bandages. She had her own, but they were nothing compared to Amy's.
"Hey," Amy caught Lucy's attention, "no feeling guilty. You would have stopped her if you could have. You managed to stop her in the end, so no feeling guilty."
"I still should have stopped her before she managed to do anything to you, either of you." Lucy replied, beginning to pull away.
Amy tightened her hold, "Neither of us blames you." Amy felt a smile spread over her face. "With the way Nera tells it, you're a hero. A regular good guy."
Lucy rolled her eyes, "Only for you," she replied, "only ever for you."