Follows The Price of Mistrust
But there is
Another kind of evil that
we must fear the most, and that is the
Indifference of good men
CHAPTER ONE: A Peace Attempt
"Easy lad, you aren't going to do no one any good if you pass out on the floor."
Liam Mason smiled gratefully as he felt a strong hand grasp his shoulder. He felt like he was going to throw up. The hand gently guided him down to the hardwood floor.
"Damn, Liam, you're pale," a second, younger voice exclaimed.
"Have you been drinking? The older man scolded. "It's a fine thing when I have to present my boys to these fancy pants three sheets to the wind."
"We weren't drinking Da!" Brady exclaimed.
"Don't lie to me boy! I always know when yez all fluthered up" Liam listened to the banter between the two men. The elder was pushing into his early sixties, and beginning to show his age. The most obvious sign were the grey hairs that were beginning to take over the once golden curls. Not for the first time, Liam noticed that the man's limp was becoming more pronounced. The old man had been kneecapped almost fifteen years ago when he was arrested for the fourth time by a British constable. The officer had tried crippling him by shooting his kneecap, but had only been partially successful.
"We weren't drinking Uncle Murphy," Liam sighed, pulling himself to his feet.
"I'm alright," he stated when the two men gave him worried looks.
"Somebody who looks like he's just seen the Dullahan isn't alright."
Liam smiled at the reference to the mythological Irish monster who could only be scared of by gold.
"Just nerves. I never thought Dicky O'Shea would agree to meet with us. How many years did my father..."
"I know," Murphy agreed, with a smile of understanding. "The hostilities are never going to end, but maybe we can stop the bloodshed. O'Shea and the Unionists finally look like they're going to listen."
"Like hell they will! Those fucking bastards are worse than the Brits! Why don't they all just go back thier bloody country already and leave us alone!"
Murphy hit the eighteen year old on the side of the head.
"Oww," he whined.
"We aren't sending you to the Queen's University so you can learn to talk like some bumbling idiot," Murphy growled. "You're supposed to be getting an education."
'But they..."Brady protested.
: "The Brits and the unionists have tried to negotiate with IRA on many occasions," Liam answered. "But the blokes wouldn't listen. We're just as guilty as they are on most occasions. It's time we initiate a lasting peace."
"But you blew up that peeler's house," Brady continued to protest. "That's sure not going to create peace."
Liam and Murphy exchanged looks. The elder looked down at his feet.
"Flanagan was an exception," Liam answered.
"Why?" Brady pushed. "He did something to our family, but nobody will tell me what!" He walked to the front corner of the building, looking for something.
"The time will come my son," Murphy answered with a sigh. "But now let's change the subject to what we are going to talk about with O'Shea." The man sat down in one of the pub chairs and leaned over the counter. He pulled some pieces of paper out of his pocket "There are elections coming up, if we can get these men into...."
Liam wasn't listening. He heard footsteps walking down the cobblestone road. Murphy continued to explain things to his son, but his nephew's complete attention was drawn to the street. He saw the familiar glint of steel shine from the corner of the window.
"Get down!" Liam yelled.
The small tavern erupted in gunfire and shattering glass as bullets hit the bottles of whisky,
Murphy grabbed a hold of Liam's shirt collar and basically threw him over the bar. They both took cover behind it. He crouched down lower as the bullets whizzed past his ears.
"Brady, get over here!" he called.
The eighteen year old was huddling underneath the corner of the window.
"Da!" he yelled. "I've got a gun. We could..."
"No," Murphy and Liam yelled at the same time.
"Hold on Brady, I'm coming to you," Murphy yelled over the bullets.
He never got the chance.
Liam watched in horror as his uncle started to rise. In a split second, his body jerked back and slammed into shelves of glasses. He landed on the counter and fell over the other side. A growing red spot was already staining his uncle's dirty brown jacket.
"God, NO!!!" Liam didn't recognize the voice that escaped his lips.
Liam looked up to see the look of hot anger spread across Brady's face. He saw his younger cousin reach into his pocket.
"Brady, don't...." Liam jumped over the bar to stop his cousin. He landed on his knees and began crawling as fast as he could.
The younger man was standing in front of the window, ready to fire. Liam was halfway across the floor when Brady's body went rigid. The young man took a few steps backwards and collapsed on Liam, sending him face first into the hardwood floor. Brady's head hit the ground, the bullet hole in his left temple only centimeters away from Liam's eyes..
Liam lay still for several seconds. A cold fury burned inside him. He looked at the gun that hand landed near Brady's still hand. Without a second thought, he started firing out the window. The fact that the bullets had stopped went unregistered
:"Liam," a voice wheezed.
Liam stopped when he heard the voice. He turned and saw Murphy trying to lift himself to his feet. He was by his uncle's side in a second.
"Easy Murph," Liam gently pushed his uncle back to the ground. "I'm going to go and get you some help." He was about to get up, but Murphy grabbed a hold of his arm. It was weak, but Liam got the message.
"You're going to die if," Liam protested, feeling his eyes starting to sting from the salty tears.
"I'm going to die anyway son," Murphy laughed weakly. He winced as a sudden burst of pain shot through his body.
'No you're not. You are going to..."
"Thou shall not lie boy, you need to listen to your commandments better," Murphy smiled despite the circumstances.
"But.." Liam knew his uncle was right. He turned his head so his uncle would not see the tears that he was now unable to stop.
"Brady?" Murphy asked.
:Liam looked at the body behind him, not sure how to answer the question. He thought about lying, but the look on his face gave it away.
Murphy let out a load sigh.
"Did he suffer?"
Liam turned his tear streaked face to his uncle.
'No Uncle, he didn't suffer."
"He died never knowing." Murphy stated. "He died never knowing what O'Shea and Flannigan did to this family." He tensed as a jolt of pain shot through his dieing body. "Come here boy." His voice was getting softer by the minute. "I don't got much time left.'
Liam leaned closer.
"Promise me you'll take care of your ma and sister," O'Shea stated.
"These seven men you keep talking about, they're good men?"
Liam smiled when he thought about Ezra Standish, Chris Larabee, and their strange circle of friends.
"The best," Liam answered.
"Would they make good Irishmen?"
Liam thought for a moment. All of them were stubborn and prideful, sometimes too much so, but they were loyal to their cause and to each other. They would die for either if the need arose.
"They'd make fine Irishmen," Liam answered with a small smile.
"What about the little lass?"
"Sidney?" Liam asked, surprised at the sudden change of subject. His uncle was fading fast. He could see the color washing out his face.
"Do you love her?' Murphy pushed.
"I don't think we should be..." Liam tried to change the subject.
"I almost lost Ginny when I broke her heart a year after we were married. Your da beat my head in when he found out. If I find out you do the same to this girl, I'll come back from the grave and do the same to you."
Liam blushed despite the circumstances.
"Do you love her?" Murphy repeated.
"Yeah, I guess I do," Liam answered with a smile.
"Good. We Masons make fine fighters, but we're even better lovers," He chuckled softly. "Don't let her go."
"God, Uncle..."he cried.
"You've got a head on your shoulders boy, more importantly you've got a heart. You're using them both to help other people. You're da would be proud of ya."
"And you?" Liam sobbed.
"I'm pretty damn proud of ya too," he added with a smile. "Ya keep up the Mason name, ya hear me?"
"How should I do that?' Liam sobbed.
"Drink and fight hard, but love even harder."
Murphy held out his hand and Liam grabbed a hold of it.
"Keep fight'n Liam. Whatever you do, keep fight'n for what you believe in." With his last ounce of strength, he squeezed Liam's hand.
For the last time, Liam saw the fire in his uncle's eyes, the fire that had inspired hope for many Irishmen and fear in his enemies. . Liam watched the fire that had been his guiding light for over half his life fade away. The arm in hand went slack.
Liam held onto his uncle's hand not wanting, not ready to let go. He leaned over his knees and started sobbing.
CHAPTER TWO: The Joys of Saturday
"You try and bite me again; I'll make glue out of you myself!" Chris growled as he dodged Peso's teeth for the third time in five minutes. "I'm going to kill Standish for giving you giving you to Vin."
FBI Agent Chris Larabee let himself out of the stall and was about to walk way from the demon horse. He took a few steps forward and realized that a great force was holding him back. He pulled forward and heard a loud rip. The impact sent him sprawling to the ground. His face hit the concrete with a thud. He painfully lifted himself with his arms, aware that a small portion of back was now feeling the cool fall breeze. Peso was standing with his head over his stall, a black piece of fabric in his teeth.
"That's it," Chris growled, lunging for the horse.
Peso's ears went back and he bared his yellow teeth menacingly,
The experienced horseman knew better than to go any closer to the animal. He took a few steps backwards. When he was far enough away, Peso's ears returned to their normal position and he dug into his grain.
The four horses in the other stalls had their heads hanging over their stalls, eyeing him curiously.
"You find this funny?" Chris asked, directing most of his attention on the big black across from Peso.
Pony, realizing that he had his master's attention, began bobbing his head up and down. Chris sighed and reached out to scratch the animal behind the ears. Pony closed his eyes as he savored the touch.
"How could you let a miserable cuss like him beat you?' Chris asked. "You couldn't have run a little faster?"
Pony's whole body shook as he bobbed his head up and down.
"We'll show him next time won't we?" Chris turned to look at Peso who was watching his every move. "You hear that? This isn't over!'
After giving Pony a final pat, he walked out of the stall. A loud screeching noise reached his ears. Chris groaned as he walked up to the porch. The day just kept getting better and better.
Vin Tanner was sitting on the porch picking away at the guitar on his lap. He looked up when Chris plopped down in the chair next to him and grabbed the unopened beer.
"My horse still alive?' The Texan asked.
"You're lucky I keep my shotgun under lock and key," Chris growled. "Look what he did to me!" He showed Vin the hole in his favorite shirt.
"That's what you get for betting against the fastest horse on this side of the Mississippi."
Chris laughed out load. "More like the biggest pain in the ass."
Vin answered by playing a few somewhat recognizable chords on his guitar,
"Didn't know you liked Petty," Chris stated.
"Roll another joint," Vin answered with a smile.
"I take it back. You're the biggest pain in the ass." Chris shook his head.
"Give me back my harmonica and I'll get rid of the guitar," Vin shot back.
'Hell no, I hid that piece of shit so well you aren't ever going to be able to find it."
"Wanna bet?" Vin asked with an evil smirk.
"Last time I bet with you, I lost my favorite shirt!'
"Life sucks, don't it?"
Chris took a swipe at Vin's head, but he ducked it easily. He couldn't help but laugh.
+ + + + + + +
"Would you be so kind as to hand those boxes of surgical equipment over here please, Buck?"
Buck shook his head as he handed the cardboard box of gloves over to Ezra.
"Now my friends, be prepared to be amazed!'
Buck took a few steps backwards and sat down on a bleacher. The FBI agent laughed softly as he watched the scene in front of him.
The debonair millionaire sat cross legged on the gym floor. His face was red from blowing up the surgical gloves for the fifteen little kids. Their little pairs of eyes stared at him in complete admiration. Stretching out his long legs, Buck got up to see where else his help was required. The makeshift clinic needed all the help it could get. He was about to take a step forward when he realized there was a heavy weight on his leg. He looked down into a pair of bright brown eyes.
"Well hello there," Buck smiled at the little Hispanic boy who was clinging to his leg.
"I'm going to have a baby sister,' the little boy exclaimed happily. "And I'm going to take good care of her just like my mama."
Gently Buck pried the youth loose and bent down so he was at child's level.
"Well that's something to celebrate, I'll bet you're going to be a...."
"Raquel, get over here now!"
Both boys, one still at heart, looked up to see a pretty young woman walking towards them. She waddled a little bit, the result of the heavy weight around her stomach.
"I am sorry senior. Raquel can be a little too overfriendly at times," she apologized.
"No problem at all Ma'am," Buck answered "You don't get a baby sister everyday. I'd be pretty excited too."
The woman smiled, put at ease by the warmth of the man's voice.
"We do need to go Raquel. Evan's coming over this afternoon remember?"
"Yes!" the little boy exclaimed. "Evan's coming over, Evan's coming over, Evan's coming..." he yelled the words all the way out of the gym.
"Thank you," the young woman smiled, before following her son.
Buck watched them go with a slight frown on his face. He realized that somebody had come up to stand behind him.
"Cute kid," a deep voice stated.
"God Josiah, she's just a kid herself."
"Just turned twenty," Josiah stated.
"Jesus, I couldn't take care of myself when I was that age."
"Such is the way of the inner city," Josiah sighed. "Evan's a great mentor for the little guy..."
"But his mother..." Buck started to say then stopped. Some clicked in his mind. "Wait, Evan? Evan Kestner?"
"He's his Big Brother," Josiah answered with a smile, "and he's great."
"One of the best I've seen," another voice stated.
"How's it going Nathan?" Buck asked.
"Getting tired," Nathan answered honestly. "There's been almost two hundred people coming through today. Not sure we're going to be able to handle them much longer."
"Getting too expensive?" Josiah asked.
Nathan looked over at Ezra who was now throwing blown up gloves into the air with the kids. A smile curved at his lips.
"Money's not the problem," he answered. "It's hard finding doctors that will give up their time to come and help."
"Maybe we could put a stethoscope on Michael Jordon over there," Buck chuckled as Ezra tried to slam dunk a glove through the basketball hoop.
Ezra, sensing that he was being watched, turned to see three amused looks. He looked indignity at them, but nobody could miss the pink around the tips of his ears. He handed the glove back to a little blond girl and walked over to his friends.
"Aren't you gentlemen supposed to be working?" Ezra asked.
"Might say the same thing for yourself," Nathan answered. 'Wouldn't hurt you to get your hands a little dirty every once in a while."
"I have told you that gentlemen such as myself to do not engage in menial labor. I simply write the checks," Ezra answered.
Nathan shook his head. It was true that Ezra had poured thousands of dollars into hosting these monthly clinics, but the southerner did so much more. Ezra had been the first person at the gym earlier this morning setting up the screens and tables full of medical equipment.
"Besides," Ezra continued. "Employing myself in this charity work would ruin my respectable image."
Nathan laughed. Many in the world would consider Ezra Standish, owner of the one of the biggest technology research firms in the country, less then respectable. Shrewd and controlling would be a little more accurate. Many had questioned the ways that Maude Standish and her boy had taken Standish Corporation to the top. The doctor didn't know Ezra's mother real well, but he wouldn't hesitate in agreeing with the description of her son. But he knew something that those who labeled his friend did not. Somewhere inside the masked indifferent shell that Ezra usually wore on was a good heart. That good heart was what told the man to provide free health care to those who couldn't afford it and entertain a group of less advantaged kids. His big heart was also the driving force behind the Red Glove.
The same people that thought poorly of Ezra Standish probably shared a similar image of the Red Glove. Liam Mason had founded the Red Glove in an attempt to combat the injustices of Denver. The group had started off with just a few young adults, but had slowly grown throughout the years. Along the way, Nathan and Ezra had found themselves as mentors of the group and opening their home as headquarters for the organization..
The Red Glove had continued to grow under Ezra's leadership. They had been responsible for the arrests and deaths of some of Denver's highest ranking criminals. Despite, their growing fame they had managed to evade capture from Denver's most elite law enforcement squads. Through chance happenings and a carefully planned meeting, the FBI team that been charged with catching the Red Glove had become the group's biggest allies. In fact, it was fair to say that Chris Larabee and his team had become full fledged members of the Red Glove.
Nathan looked at Ezra Standish and thought about the day that he had saved his former college roommate's life, The shrewd and controlling son of a bitch had made his life almost unbearable at times. Life would have been a whole lot easier if he had just let those goons beat the shit of Standish, but then he had never planned to live an easy life anyway. He would offer support to his friend if it meant working overtime at his charitable endeavors or taking a bullet for him.
"That's right, I forgot," he answered rolling his eyes.
Ezra just smiled, flashing his golden tooth.
"Mr. Standish, Mr. Standish, my glove broke!" A little boy exclaimed.
"I would love to stay and char my friends, but duty calls," Ezra answered.
"He's a cocky SOB isn't he?" Buck cursed good heartedly.
"Yup," Nathan answered, going to help the people that had formed a line at his station.
+ + + + + + +
"That's six," Casey laughed as she wheeled in the large mouth bass.
"Shut up," JD whined as he toyed with his own fishing line. The colorful lure at the end of his line hadn't seen a bite all day. The incoming storm clouds that were beginning to cover up the Indian summer sun were doing nothing to help his fowl mood. "I don't get it. This lure is supposed to best, it uses the latest technology and research to...."
'Technology isn't always the answer," Casey answered. "Sometimes you can't beat the good old fashioned stuff." She reached into the bucket at her side and pulled out a worm.
She turned her head when she heard one of the horses snort. Three horses were tied to a branch and were peacefully grazing amongst the fallen leaves. An athletic brunette was lying on a large blanket in a large patch of pines behind them. Her back was turned to them, but Casey knew that she was completely absorbed in one of her many psychology books.
"How long has she been working?" she asked.
JD looked at his watch.
"Last three hours," JD answered. "Why?"
"I think it's about time she has a study break," Casey answered with a mischievous look in her eye. She held up the worm that she was about to put on her line.
"She's going to kill us," JD stated, but he was thinking a study break was a good idea too.
Sidney Marks sighed as she turned the page in her book, trying to organize her thoughts in her mind. It was time for her to start working on her thesis for her master's degree, something that had, until recently, been placed on the back burner. The responsibilities of a rookie FBI agent were taking up most of her time. The Dean was starting to breath down her neck. Fortunately her professor had bough her a little more time.
"You saved me from spending the rest of my life in jail, it's the least I can do," he had answered. Professor Sorkin was referring to them when he had been falsely accused of being Red Glove. It had been a collaboration between Larabee's' FBI team and the Red Glove that had gotten him off.
Sidney's mind strayed from her paper to all the good things Lady Luck had granted her lately. When her father had been murdered when she was thirteen, she had thought her life was over. Just the opposite, she had found another loving family and lived a life that would be farfetched for a Hollywood plot. She came back to reality when she noticed that Dagger and Milagro had lifted up their heads in alarm.
A split second later, something slimy was withering around on her face. She screamed and threw the worm into the long grass. She blushed when she heard the screeches of laughter coming from her friends behind her.
"Jerks," she snarled. She glared at Casey and JD as they came and sat down next to her on the blanket.
"We thought you could use a little break," Casey stated, still smiling.
"A worm in my mouth is not what I call a break," Sidney answered coolly. "Why must you torment me?"
"I don't get it Sid," Casey said "You aren't scared of mass murderers, serial killers..."
"Chris Larabee." JD added with a smile.
Sidney shot him a look.
"Okay, not so scared as everyone else," JD corrected himself.
"But you are terrified of worms," Casey continued.
"And spiders, and bugs, and everything else that defined as creepy crawly," Sidney continued with a shudder. "I still don't know how you guys can fish like that."
"So how is the studying going?" JD asked, holding up one of the chocolate chip cookies with a questioning look.
Sidney nodded her head in consent. JD took a huge bite. "Marcy makes the best cookies."
"I think I got to give something up," Sidney sighed. "This work load is getting way to big.
"What are you going to give up?" Casey asked. "Assassinating criminals for the Red Glove, trying to keep yourself from getting caught by your own FBI, or working to become a world famous psychologist?"
"I was thinking of trying to get rid of you two," Sidney shot back. "I was doing just fine till you distracted me."
"You got to learn how to relax Sid," JD answered, rolling onto his back and grabbing another cookie. "You're going to get stressed out of you don't."
"Look who's talking Professor Dunne," Sidney answered him with a smile.
"What?" Casey asked.
"Shit Sid, I didn't tell her yet."
"No time like the present," Sidney answered.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Casey asked. Her voice was rising.
"They want me to teach some of the introductory math and computer courses at the university," JD answered sheepishly. He waited anxiously for Casey's reaction. He wasn't sure if she would be as excited as he was. He needn't have worried.
Casey threw herself on top of him. He felt her lips on his and gratefully returned the congratulations.
Sidney watched the scene and felt a little tinge of jealously. She thought of Liam hiding in Ireland and how it wasn't fair that her two friends should be so lucky. The jealously was quickly replaced by guilt. There was no reason JD and Casey shouldn't be happy on her account. She didn't have long to feel bad.
After a few seconds, JD pulled away from Casey's embrace. He saw the sad look in his best friend's eyes
"Join in the celebration Sid," he laughed and pulled Sidney down on top of him and Casey.
The three wrestled on the ground for bit before the familiar cords of her cell phone interrupted the laughs.
"Let me up," Sidney answered, untangling herself and going to Dagger's saddlebag to retrieve her cellphone.
"If this is Chris," she growled quietly, but her tone instantly changed when she hard the familiar accent.
"God Sidney, they're dead!"
CHAPTER THREE: A Little History Lesson
Virgil Watson didn't even bother knocking as he pushed the door to the office open. The door slammed against the wall with a loud thud! The assistant director cringed when he saw that the spot of impact had created a large dent.
"Damn! Still haven't fixed that door stopper," he thought to himself. One more thing to add to the list of things wrong with the depilated office that housed one of the finest FBI teams in the country. It was hard to believe that the finest FBI team in the country was forced to deal with broken heaters, bug infestations and about as much working space as a dog with his nose stuck in a mouse hole.
The occupants of the room looked up when they saw the angry man walk in.
"Director Watson," Chris greeted.
Virgil didn't even acknowledge the greeting.
"What the hell is going on?" he demanded.
"What are you talking about Sir," Chris asked. 'I just got a phone call that you wanted to meet with us."
Any other man wouldn't have noticed the sideways glance that his team leader shot towards the rest of the room's occupants, but Watson had spent years learning how to read the body language. He looked at the faces of his FBI team.
Buck was looking at him with an expectant look in his eyes as if waiting to hear something important. Tanner and Sanchez had even mastered looks of annoyance. Virgil's eyes moved towards the newest addition to his team. Sidney returned looked at him with an unwavering gaze.
A less observant man would have assumed that his team was surprised and even annoyed that they had been called in from their normal Saturday leisure activities. Virgil would have assumed the same if eyes hadn't stayed on Sidney a second longer. Her effort to keep her neutral expression was not enough to prevent a single tear from welling up in her eye and begin its decent down her check. She quickly brushed it away.
"I want to know why the President of the United States interrupted my peaceful game of golf with my wife to ask me what the hell was going on in Ireland!" His voice was low, but menacing.
"Ireland Sir?" Buck asked. 'Well I assume that its pretty green there, taverns are probably full of people that are..."
"I don't want any of your bullshit right now Whilmington." He turned to look at Sidney. "What has Liam Mason done now?"
Virgil watched the young woman struggle with emotions that ranged from sadness to anger and everything in between. He wanted the outburst and was pushing her to loose her cool.
"I couldn't tell you Director. He hasn't called me in almost two weeks," she answered calmly. Her right foot began twitching back and forth. Then the look on her face turned to concern. "Did something happen to him Sir?
Virgil saw the look of satisfaction on the men's faces. She was turning into one hell of a good agent, under the watchful eye of Chris Larabee.
"When I find out what you are..."
The beginning cords of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony echoed throughout the group, interrupting the beginnings of one of the director's long tirades. Josiah reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. The red around his ears was obvious.
"Sorry Sir," he apologized sheepishly.
"Answer it, Virgil answered with a sigh.
"Hello, this is Agent Sanchez...Yeah we heard. It was quite a shock....She's holding up pretty well considering. Hold on a moment, he's right here "Josiah pulled the phone away from his ear and handed it to Virgil."It's Eddie Fitzgerald. He wants to talk to you."
Virgil took the phone from Josiah and walked out of the office into the hallway, closing the door behind him.
Vin was still amazed that they were all on first name basis with the President of the United States. Edward Fitzgerald had had to deal with a lot during his two years in the presidency. He had taken over a government plagued with corruption and politicians who cared about nothing other than their own bank accounts. The cowboy from Montana had to endure threats to his family and his career, but he had stuck them out. His resolve to put the country on the right track was more than commendable, it was damn heroic. Fitzgerald was willing to do just about anything to make America a safe and happy place to live again. Like Team Seven he had been introduced to the Red Glove and was now one of their strongest supporters.
"How did Fitzgerald find out what happened to Liam?" Buck asked.
"I don't know," Sidney answered with a shrug of her shoulders.
"We should tell him what's going on Sid," Buck told the young woman. "Virgil's a good man. He'll help us."
"I promised Liam the only people I would tell were you and the Red Glove. He doesn't want to get many people involved. In case..." She shut her mouth as if realizing that she had already said too much.
"In case what?" Chris pushed Sidney, but she kept her mouth closed. "Dammit Sidney!" he slammed his wrist onto the table, sending the cup full of pencils to the ground. He winced slightly when one of the sharp lead tips pierced the skin on his finger.
Sidney shuddered involuntarily, but didn't respond.
The door to the office flew open and Virgil stormed back in. He tossed Josiah his cell phone, and then turned on Sidney. His eye still held the same intensity when he first entered, but his anger had been replaced with concern.
"Sidney, I need to know where Liam is now."
Sidney knew that this man deserved to know the truth, no matter how many promises she had to break.
"I figure he went into hiding Sir," she answered. "After his uncle and cousin were murdered..."
"Stop!" Virgil yelled. "What do you mean murdered?"
Now it was Sidney's turn to be confused. Josiah told the story for her.
"Liam, his uncle and his cousin were supposed to be negotiating an end to the violence between the IRA and the unionists. While they were waiting at the tavern, somebody opened fire on them." he paused. "Liam was the only one to make it out."
"Shit," Virgil swore. "I need to sit down." He sat down hard in one of the old computer chairs. It creaked under his weight. "That explains everything."
The others in the room waited for an explanation, but the director seemed lost in his own thoughts.
"What?" Chris finally pushed.
"The British Prime Minister just called President Fitzgerald. Her husband received a death threat this morning."
"So?" Buck voiced the opinion of everyone in the room.
"The death threat was called in by Liam Mason."
+ + + + + + +
"Shit," Buck swore expressing the sentiment of everyone in the living room. Watson had thought it best if the rest of the conversation involved the leaders of the Red Glove. The members of Team Seven were spread across the large, finely furnished living room along with Ezra, Nathan and JD. Casey was also already there and Evan Kestner was somewhere between Denver and the Standish Estate.
"You said that you talked to the president Josiah," Ezra stated. "You said he asked if you knew what happened."
"We never talked specifically about the murders," Josiah clarified. "I'm assuming Prime Minister Annie O'Shea called him to alert him about the death threat. After all, Liam's also considered a threat in America. The Prime Minister either didn't know about the murders or didn't tell the President about them."
"Where's Watson?" Buck asked.'
"He's still talking to Senator Travis at the office, he'll be here as soon as he finished," Chris answered.
"How did Travis find out about it?" Vin asked.
"Evie Travis is Liam's aunt," Ezra explained. "Liam's mother called her as soon as she learned about her brother in law and nephew. I'm assuming it was your former director has been in contact with the President."
"What is wrong with Liam?" Buck asked. "That kid has a better head on his shoulder than this. The Prime Minister's husband?"
"Maybe it isn't him," Casey suggested. "Liam's already wanted for killing one famous man in Ireland. Maybe someone's trying to frame him."
"It's him," Sidney stated quietly.
All eyes turned towards her, and she instantly regretted opening her mouth. She breathed a sigh of relief when the loud knock on the back door created a distraction.
Ezra was halfway out of his seat to answer, but the door swung open before he could get there. Virgil Watson walked in. Evan Kestner was close on his heels. The acting leader of the Red Glove had the dark features and build to look menacing when he had to and obviously he felt the need right now. The former linebacker looked downright scary as he walked into the room.
"What the hell is going on?" he demanded.
"He has already been briefed on everything that I know," Virgil told the room, "which I doubt is even half the story."
Evan turned his head towards Sidney.
"Did he tell you that he was really going to do it?"
"Do what?" Chris pushed.
The questioning look in Chris's eyes and the glare from Sidney told Evan that she was not ready to go there. He closed his mouth and sat down next to the armchair occupied by Nathan. He busied himself with greeting Ace, Ezra's adoptive golden retriever, who had jumped into his lap.
"Do what?" Chris asked again, this time directing the question at Sidney.
"I promised him I wouldn't tell," she sighed.
Josiah looked at the young agent.
"Sidney as much as I value trust, this is a time when it does nobody any good. Liam is in trouble, and I have a feeling it's going to take more than you and the Red Glove to get him out of it."
Sidney looked down at her feet.
"Would it help if I told the story? I was sworn to no such secrecy," Ezra volunteered.
"Tell us Ezra!" Buck demanded.
"Sidney?" he asked, refusing to continue without her permission. She nodded her head without looking up from her feet.
Ezra leaned back on the couch and stretched out his legs.
"I have assumed that most of you have guessed that our friend comes from a long line of IRA supporters?"
"Obviously," Buck answered "The ones are that are still setting up bombs and going on shooting sprees across Northern Ireland. Can't say I don't agree with them, but...."
"I can see that you not quite a scholar o the finer points of Irish history my friend," Ezra smiled slightly. Buck tensed in his chair, but Ezra was quick to put him back at ease. "Most Americans aren't, myself included. I will do my best to try and help you all understand." He looked at Nathan and the other members of the Red Glove. "Please cut in if you feel that I have missed some important detail."
He took a sip of water from the glass on the coffee table and continued on with
"The Irish Republican Army was the creation of the survivors of the Easter Uprising of 1919."
"I know what that is," Josiah broke in. "The nationalists seized control of several
important buildings in Dublin on Easter week. They were suppressed by the
English army after six days wasn't it?"
Ezra nodded his head.
"Very good my friend. The leaders were tried and executed. There were 1200 causalities, for the Irish and British combined. The IRA was formed by friends
and family members of the slain. Most of their actions occurred in the early stages of
the civil war. You are correct Buck, that they carried out some very gruesome
assassination attempts on British officers and sympasisiers. Many innocents were
killed from stray bullets and shrapnel from their bombs."
"The British were just as bad!" Casey exclaimed. Monty, Ezra's old German Shepard, who was resting his head on her knees, jumped. "Most of the IRA's hits were directed at British officials. The British would kill almost anyone that looked remotely suspicious, and that's not even counting the innocent people that starved in prison."
Ezra smiled sadly.
"Yes, that is the other side of the story. It was a very bloody time in history. Of
course, most in this house tend to side with the Irish," he looked at the young
people in the room with an affectionate smile, "But neither side was faultless. It turned friends and even family against each other."
"There's a famous story that a sniper in Dublin is chasing down someone he thinks is an enemy," Josiah stated "At the end of the story, he kills his prey, only to discover is was a brother who had joined the other side."
"Ezra, we're trying to help Liam..." Chris shifted uneasily in his chair.
"As am I, but his problems are so connected to the history of his country that
it is impossible to understand one, if you don't grasp the other."
Chris sighed, but prepared to listen to more of Ezra's explanation.
"The IRA was successful as causing enough trouble to the British forces, and the country relinquished most of its control on Ireland.
"Most of its control?" Vin asked.
" Most of Ireland obtained its independence, but England retained its control over Northern Ireland. Since most of Northern Ireland's citizens were in support of the idea.
"The Protesentants," Buck stated.
Ezra nodded his head.
"Yes, but the British officers could not predict the violence that would dominate the area for the next fifty years. The IRA became a generic title given to the people who resisted British control. Once again, violence started between the two sides."
"History appears to be repeating itself," Josiah stated.
"This still doesn't explain where Liam fits in all this," Chris stated.
"Patience is a virtue my friend," Ezra stated with a mischievous smile. Liam's grandfather was one of the organizers of the newer version of the IRA in Northern Ireland. Other then helping to cause death and fear in the area, the IRA was not very successful. The organization's leaders began to argue about direction the group should take. It ended up splitting into two different groups, the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA."
"The Official IRA called for a ceasefire in 1972 and has remained relatively peaceful in attempting to fulfill their mission. The Provos, on the other hand, escalated the violence and initiated one of the most violent periods in Irish history. The time has been appropriately labeled The Troubles."
"Let me guess, Liam's family was one of the families that was in favor of peaceful attempts to gain independence," Buck stated.
"That guess would be horribly wrong," Ezra answered. The Masons were often the instigators in numerous street fights and were the cause of many deaths in the area. Liam's father became one of the main spokesmen until his death in 1981."
"His death?" Chris asked.
"He died of starvation," Sidney answered, speaking for the first time. "In 1981, the Irish prisoners in Long Kesh prison refused to eat until they were given status as political prisoners. Conner and his brother Murphy were arrested and sent to the prison in the middle of the strike. They did not eat anything for almost thirty days before the strike was called off."
"Why was it called off?" Buck asked.
"Ten men died of starvation in prison, two lasting over seventy days with any food. The families of the men started to intervene and the IRA called off the strike in fear of loosing more of their soldiers," Ezra stated.
"But you said Liam's father died..."
"Two years after he was released from Long Kesh, he died of liver problems. There was no doubt in anyone's mind what caused it. Liam was ten at the time. He also had a baby sister."
"Jesus," Chris whispered.
"Fortunately, the violence has been in a dramatic decrease in the last decade..."
"The Good Friday Agreement," Vin stated. "My commanding officer talked about it when I was still with the Rangers.
"Yes on the Easter holiday in 1998, an agreement between the PIRA and the British was reached. In exchange for the end of Irish violence, the British would give the organization a large amount of authority in the government. It was an historic agreement."
"And that put an end to all the violence?" Chris asked skeptically.
"Of course not," Ezra answered. "Many of the former IRA members were furious that their leaders had given in to the British so easily. They have been responsible for several bombings and deaths since 1998. There is still hostility for the Irish from the British too. The problem is still far from being solved."
Ezra finished in his story and paused for a few seconds. "And somewhere in between this mess our young Irish friend is caught."
"But that doesn't explain why somebody killed his family or why he threatening the prime minister's husband," Vin stated.
"That is not an easy answer. Dicky O'Shea, originally from Belfast, was a major supporter of the British and led the fight against the IRA. Obviously he clashed with the Masons, one of the leading families in the fight for independence. I wouldn't doubt that Liam believes O'Shea is behind the murders of his uncle and cousin."
"Is he?" Chris asked.
"If you want an unbiased answer, I would have to state that there is no sufficient evidence supporting that fact," Ezra stated. His voice grew lower and became laced with venom. "But as a concerned comrade of Liam's, there is no doubt in my mind who is responsible."
An uneasy silence encompassed the room. Nobody knew what to say or was prepared to take control of the situation. Waston's cell phone began to ring.
"Excuse me guys," he apologized as he got up. He patted Evan on the knee before disappearing into the kitchen to take the call.
Chris saw Ezra reach out and squeeze Sidney's hand, a discrete motion that would have gone unnoticed by most people. His agent had gone slightly pale and looked like she was going to be sick. Ezra leaned over and whispered something in her ear. Sidney nodded her head. Chris stared hard at them, but if they felt his inquiring gaze neither one gave a sign. There was something that the two weren't telling them. The slight tapping of Sidney's right foot gave her away. He had picked up the fact after playing hundreds of poker games with the young woman, trying to learn her tell. She had a poker face to match Ezra's, but when she was bluffing her right leg would always twitch.
Chris saw Ezra's eyes involuntarily shift towards Sidney's foot and saw him sigh. It was all the confirmation he needed.
"I need to go to Ireland," Sidney stated. "He's probably going crazy right now, and when Liam gets crazy he does stupid things."
"Like tries to kill the prime minister's husband," Buck stated. "Sidney, I don't know if that's such a good idea."
"Why not?" she asked.
"There are going to be people looking for him Sid. Heaven forbid that he gets caught, but if he does and you're with him..."
"So?" Sidney asked.
"Sidney, there's already suspicion surrounding you and your connection to the Red Glove. I don't think it would sit very well if an FBI agent assigned to arresting him was found in his company," Nathan told her.
Virgil walked back into the living room. He locked eyes with Chris.
"Fitzgerald is going to London to talk to Annie O'Shea. He wants you and your team to go with him."
"I can't..."Sidney started to say.
"She is especially interested to meet you Agent Marks," Virgil interrupted. "She would like to know your opinion of Mason since he held you captive at the WTO conference."
Sidney sighed, knowing that there was no way she was going to win this battle.
She looked desperately at Ezra.
"Nathan, I do believe you have some vacation time coming up. I believe we should pay our respects to Mrs. Mason and the family," Ezra stated.
"I can be ready tonight," Nathan answered.
"Is that wise?" Watson asked. "You have no connection to the Mason family. People are going to talk if they all of a sudden see you in Northern Ireland."
"I am assuming the funeral is in Belfast?" Ezra asked.
Watson nodded his head.
"Excellent, I have been looking at opening up a new business in that location. One would be a fool not to capitalize on the economic boom Ireland is experiencing right now."
"Clever devil," Watson smiled.
Ezra performed a very regal looking sitting bow.
"JD, I assume you will be accompanying us?"
JD paused and looked at Evan and Casey. He sighed heavily.
"I think I need to stay here. The Red Glove needs me."
"JD, if you want to... " Evan stated.
"Liam's going to have the whole world looking for him Evan. We've always counted on him coming back and leading the Red Glove, but now I don't think he can. We've got to meet with the group and decide our future."
Evan nodded his head.
"I think its time to discuss Chaucer, don't you think?" he asked Casey, who nodded her head.
The FBI agents smiled. They doubted that that the Denver Librarians had any idea their British Literature Book Club was really just a front for the Red Glove.
"Virgil, is it necessary for the rest of us to meet with the Prime Minister?" Josiah answered.
"Well no, I don't think so" the director stated, caught off guard. "I think the president and I just assumed that you would want to accompany him."
"Chris, I think Buck, Vin and I should go to Ireland to be with the Liam's mother. Somebody might seek retribution against her family too.. We can stay around the house and pretend we're investigating clues to finding Liam."
"Sounds good to me," Chris agreed. Sidney and I will go to London with Fitzgerald and the rest of you will go to Ireland."
"I'll call the President back and arrange for your flight to Washington," Watson said standing up. "I suggest you pack soon, because the President is planning to leave tomorrow morning."
"I also have travel arrangements to make," Ezra stated standing up.
Once the two men were gone, the others began getting up. An uneasy silence fell in the living room.
CHAPTER FOUR: Inside Number 10
] "So that's the most famous front door in the world," Sidney stated as she looked out the window of the limo at the residence of the Prime Minister. "How many times have you been here Mr. President?"
"So many times I've lost count," The President answered with a slight smile "Some pretty interesting memories too."
"Remember that time you and O'Shea were so close to blows that you stuck your elbow through that painting?" Senator Travis asked.
Fitzgerald winced, causing Travis and Sidney to laugh. "A rare painting of Cromwell worth well over two million dollars, I couldn't show my face in that place for almost three months after that."
"That's why the First Lady has been making so many trips to London recently," Sidney stated.
Chris has been quiet for most of the drive over from the airport, choosing to observe the other occupants rater than contribute to their conversations.
The middle aged Montanan had gotten a few more gray hairs in his mane of dark brown hair since the last time Chris had seen him. It wasn't a small wonder considering everything Fitzgerald had dealt with during his just over a year in the Oval Office. A government full of corruption, power hungry politicians and at least four serious death threats were only a few of the things the man had dealt with. A lesser man would have cracked under the pressure, but not Edward Fitzgerald. The tall, charismatic rancher had the love of the people, and that was all he needed.
Helping the President spearhead the need for drastic reform was Senator Orrin Travis, Chris and his team's one time boss. Travis had been elected into a Congress where very few politicians had anything but selfish goals. The few who had more noble goals quickly rallied around the hard, but good hearted old man. Fitzgerald and Travis had been responsible for searching out some of the most corrupt politicians and putting them where they belonged behind bars. Things were beginning to make a positive turn, although it seemed like a painstakingly slow pace.
"How is Evie coping?" Fitzgerald asked.
"She wishes that she could be there for her sister." Travis answered. "The poor woman has had to bury a husband, a brother in law, a sister in law, and a nephew, and live with the fear of having her son join them Not to mention raise Bevin, that's her daughter, in the mist of everything. She feels awful that she can't go the funeral to be with Carrie at the funeral tomorrow."
"I know the feeling," Sidney growled quietly. Chris knew the statement was directed at him.
"But she understands that her duty is back at home. Her presence in Ireland would only cause unneeded attention and bring even more risk to the Mason family."
Chris watched Sidney closely, but was glad to see that even his hot-tempered agent knew when to hold her tongue.
"Speaking of the Masons," the President asked, looking at Sidney. "Has Liam called you recently?"
"Not since he called and told me the news," Sidney answered. Chris could hear the tapping of her foot and tensed up. He would have to talk to her later.
"He knows to stay away from the funerals tomorrow right?" Eddie asked nervously.
"He won't be at any funerals tomorrow Sir," Sidney answered. Chris listened carefully, the tapping stopped. He relaxed, by only slightly.
The security guard at the front door motioned forward with his hand.
"Well my friends, that's our sign. The president sighed and opened the car door. The others piled out after him. A tall security guard was standing with his hand in position to open the door. His dark glasses half masked the disgruntled look on his face.
"You know I'm really supposed to open the door for you Sir," he said.
The president patted the younger man on the shoulder.
"It will be a pretty sad day when I get open my own door Tony," Fitzgerald answered. "Must you follow me inside also?"
"We won't let anything happen to him Tony," Chris answered.
"Tony, you've been up since four a clock this morning. Lead the Motorcade to the parking area. You should take a nap in the back of the limo."
"Alright Sir," the young man stated, but still looked nervous. The four passengers watched as the motorcade of three cars drove away, the President's limo and the two security cars disappeared around a corner.
"He's a good kid," the president stated, "Going to make one hell of a mollycoddling wife someday."
They all walked to the front door which the beefy guard opened for them with a slight bow.
As soon as they entered, a small and portly woman dressed in a back skirt and white blouse with hair matching her shirt stood up from her plush, antique chair and greeted them warmly.
"Mr. President, it is a pleasure to see you again." Although she was a good two inches shorter than Sidney's 5'3, the woman's demeanor revealed that she demanded respect.
"It is good to see you again Mrs. Jennings, looking as ravishing as always," the president returned the warm greeting. He bent down almost to half his size and pecked the woman on the check. Despite obvious attempts to hide her pleasure, the woman's cheeks flushed.
"Are these the guests Sara mentioned you were bringing?"
"Yes, may I introduce Senator Orin Travis and FBI Agents Chris Larabee and Sidney Marks."
Sidney jumped at the mention of her name, she had been too busy awing at the décor of the room.
"This is marvelous!" She stated, motioned around the room with her arm.
The elderly woman beamed with pride.
"Hundreds of years of history in this one little room," She stated.
"And you take care of it all splendidly my dear," The president stated, placing a hand on the woman's shoulder. Once again the woman blushed. "Regina here is one of the only people here who still welcomes my presence in this place." He explained. "And it's a good thing too, because she's the main housekeeper. I doubt the place would run without you."
"You make it sound as if I'm running a country," the woman stated shaking hands with everyone. Chris was surprised that she looked him straight in the eye. He had met very few people who had ever done that.
"Believe me ma'am," Sidney stated. "I know how difficult it is. Our housekeeper is always busy working and she's only taking care of four of us."
Chris couldn't agree more. The sixty five year old Marcy Dolittle basically ran the Standish Estate by herself, and was considered a member of the strange family that occupied the mansion. .
"Aww aren't you a sweet thing," she stated. In a split second, her face turned harder. "But all this flattery will make me lazy and that's the last thing we need right now. Audrey!" She called without a breath.
A frail thin redhead walked into the room and looked at the woman expectantly.
"Please escort The President and his friends to the Prime Minister's office, and please have Ben and Nathan bring the President and Senator's things to their rooms."
She looked apologetically at Chris and Sidney.
"I apologize but you will not be staying with us. Of course, this was after I had ordered the rooms cleaned and the best linens put on the beds...But goodness, you are not here to listen to my ranting. Audrey, you may go."
The President bowed and kissed the woman's check again.
"Thank you Gina."
"I swear Sir, if I wasn't painfully devoted to my own gentlemen at home and your wife not so lovely and sweet..." She walked out of the room.
The four people followed the young woman down the hall. She stopped at the front of a large wooden door and knocked lightly.
"Come in," a strong deep female voice replied.
Audrey pushed open the door and held open the door for the people behind. Once they were all in, the door was closed and the Americans could here the soft click of her shoes disappear down the hallway. Standing in front of her large desk was Annie O'Shea. A tall and attractive middle aged brunette with an athletic physique, it was easy to see why she had captured the hearts of so her countrymen. She wore a dark business suit, but let her long hair flow freely down her shoulders. As soon as she saw her guests, a smile lit up her entire face.
"Eddie!" She exclaimed walking over. The world leaders exchanged quick hugs. "It's been two long. How are Ellie and Katie?" referring to the President's family.
"Ellie's missing home and waiting for an opportunity to visit her family on the reservation soon. Katie is studying for her exams into law school. I'm glad that she's living in her own dorm room right now," he laughed.
"I keep telling you that you should appreciate the fact that you have children," Annie stated with a smile, but Chris could feel the sense of longing in her eyes. "Times were never right for Dicky and me to..." She stopped suddenly. "Forgive me, I'm being rude. Eddie, please introduce me to your friends.
The introductions and greetings took several minutes and Chris instantly found himself liking the personable politician. He had met plenty in his life, and had found few as genuine as Annie O'Shea.
"Please have a seat and let's talk business." She motioned to the chairs that surrounded her desk. "I figured that we would have the most privacy in here."
They all took their seats. Chris took the seat between Sidney and Travis. The President was seated on the right side of the Senator. He was surprised to see that the Prime Minister pulled the chair from behind her desk and sat in the middle of them. She looked directly at the FBI agents, her green eyes meeting their own.
"Now please tell me why my husband is receiving death threats from the IRA."
Sidney closed her mouth and looked at Chris. It had been decided that he would do as much talking as possible.
"We are not sure Prime Minister..."
"Please call me Annie," she smiled.
Chris didn't smile back, but continued talking.
"My team had been working long and hard to find an answer to that question. We believe that Mr. O'Shea and Liam's family may have had some confrontation during his work in Ireland."
Annie sighed heavily.
"I figured as much," she stated. "I have worked long and hard to try and patch up the mistakes my husband made"
"From what I hear, some of them were pretty awful," Sidney stated. She instantly regretted the looks she received from the men in the room and sunk as far as she could into her chair.
The Prime Minister stared long and hard at the young agent.
"You're right Agent Marks," she stated. "I will not argue or try to make excuses for the things that he did in Ireland, but you are young and doubt you understand everything. It was time of chaos. Innocent people were being killed on both sides. Dicky was young and hungry for respect." She paused. "The only way for an Irishmen to do that was to side with the British."
Chris knew Sidney wanted to say more, but was glad she was smart enough to keep her mouth closed.
"Do you know of any of these confrontations between the Mason family and your husband?" Travis asked.
"Only that Dicky's best friend, Flannigan was in charge of the ward the Masons were put in during their time at Long Kesh. Murphy Mason's wife was dieing of cancer, but he wouldn't let her see her husband."
Sidney shrunk even farther into her seat. Even though Chris wasn't looking at her, she could still feel the burn of his glare. Maybe she should have told him more.
"Any other connections?' Travis pushed.
"I know that he was greatly affected by the murder of Paddy Flanagan a couple of months ago. The two of them worked together during the Troubles. We knew then that he might be next on the list. This Liam Mason seems to be more ruthless than his father doesn't he?"
Chris could almost see the smoke shooting out of Sidney's ears. He didn't know how much longer, she could hold. He was saved from intervening by a loud knock on the door.
The people on the other end didn't wait for the Prime Minister to call them in. The door opened and two people walked in. Travis heard the sharp intake of breath from both his former agents.
The first person to walk through the door was a graying man in his early sixties. His large belly almost appeared to almost be busting out of the suit he was wearing. He had large brown eyes, but there was no warmth in them. The Senator felt shivers run down his spine. He only needed one guess to who this man was. Dicky O'Shea.
He could see Chris staring at the woman who had also walked into the room. The woman was very tall, the heels on her shoes adding an extra couple of inches. Her tight black suit revealed her very comely curves. The woman's blond hair was pulled back in a severe bun. This was obviously a woman he did not want to mess with.
"Well Agent Larabee, It's been a long time," she said in a very obvious American accent. Travis noted the emphasis she put on the word Agent. The words had sounded more like a statement than a greeting.
"Hello Bonnie," Chris greeted returning the icy stare.
Apparently Dicky O'Shea was having none of this. Without even a word of greeting, he turned to his wife.
"Annie, I need to talk to you privately for a moment."
"Alright," The Prime Minister added. She looked apoplectically at her guests, and followed her husband out of the room.
Travis felt the room was going to burst with tension between the woman and the FBI team leader.
"Well, I could use a breath of fresh air. Mr. President would you care to join me?"
Obviously, the President felt the tension too, because he was on his feet in a second.
"That sounds like an excellent idea Orin. Sidney, you look like you could use a..."
"If you don't mind Sir, I would like to talk with Agent Marks, you know Agent to Agent."
Chris jumped at the mention of the word Agent.
The President was surprised at being addressed so forcefully.
"Of course ma'am," he stuttered. "We will be back soon."
Sidney watched the two politicians leave then turned to look at Chris. He did not return his gaze. He was watching the woman who was leaning comfortably against the desk.
"So I've heard that your case against the Red Glove is not going well," she stated to Chris.
"And what interest does it have to you?" he asked.
"You probably haven't heard cooped up in that hell hole you call an office in Denver, but I was just appointed Director of the London Division of the FBI."
"So who did you sleep with to get that position?" Chris asked harshly.
Sidney stared at Chris, surprised at the statement. She had learned to read her boss well. For whatever reason, this woman was getting to him.
"Still sour about that little thing?' she asked. "Geez Larabee, I thought you had more of a backbone than that."
"Maybe just a better sense of morality," Chris answered.
"Now tell me when Buck Whimlington ever had a sense of morality?" she asked.
"You had his complete devotion and you knew it. You used him to get the information about Williams and stole the position from him, breaking his heart in the process."
"What are you talking about?" Sidney finally asked.
"Buck and I used to be in Special Ops with Agent Richardson. She and Buck were both up for promotion and the higher title depended on the quality of work and investigation done in a small province of Kosovo. Buck worked at undercover for three months to find how to take one of the local warlords out, except that..."
Sidney didn't need to be told much more. She knew Buck and his weakness to think that any lady with a pretty face was innocent of all wrong doing. She looked up at the woman with hostility.
The blonde laughed.
"I can see that he has been training you well, Agent Marks. Tell me, does that look work on Liam Mason as well?"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Chris growled.
"Come on Larabee, you don't think I haven't done my homework? I've seen all the strange connections between your young agent and the Red Glove. I know all about your disrespect for authority. Hell, how many times did I help you go rouge against our commanding officer's orders? I wouldn't put it past you if you are working with the..."
Chris rose out of his seat.
"Don't even go there," he growled.
Judging by the smile on the woman's face, this was the reaction she wanted.
"We're being forced to work together on this case Larabee, so we best grin and bear it. I've waited too long to nail Mason so if I find out you are hampering my investigation in anyway, so help me..."
"You have nothing to worry about," Sidney stood up quickly and placed a hand on Chris's shoulders. Chris backed down.
The woman looked at Sidney with a wicked smile.
"So young," she stated. "I give you another three months before they eat you alive." She stood up. "I have work to do, but we will be contact soon," She stated before walking out the door.
Sidney removed her hand from Chris's shoulder.
"And you were worried about me keeping my cool," she stated, "although I don't blame you. Talk about a bitch."
"That bitch is one of the best agents I've ever worked with. We are going to have to be especially careful with her breathing down our necks."
"But you said..." Sidney argued.
"Hard feelings die slowly," he answered.
"I don't like her," Sidney stated.
Chris smiled crookedly. He doubted Sidney realized how much she was like Bonnie Richardson had been about fifteen years ago.
The door to the office opened. The Prime Minister and her husband walked back into the room.
Annie smiled warmly, but her husband was scowling. Both agents tensed.
"The President and Senator are currently settling into their rooms," Annie stated. "We thought we would take this opportunity to talk to you privately."
"Alright Ma'am," Chris stated. "What can we do for you?"
"I want to ask Agent Marks about her loyalties. Director Richardson has informed me of the suspicions surrounding her and connection to the Red Glove. Obviously, she is close to Ezra Standish and we all know about his crooked business practices...." O"Shea growled.
"Agent Marks detests the statement against her friend," Sidney answered coolly, "and would greatly appreciate if she would be addressed like she's in the room."
"We were just wondering," Annie stated, quickly trying to restore peace. "You can never be too careful."
Chris shot her an appreciative look, but neither O'Shea nor Sidney backed down.
"That's good to know," O'Shea answered. "Because when we shoot the bastard who's threatening me, I don't want anyone to stand in the way."
"I won't stand in the way of punishment for anyone who has committed an unjust crime," Sidney answered, tight lipped
"Good, because when I get my hands on the terrorist Mason I will enjoy watching him squeal like his father and uncle. Make him suffer the same way they did in the...."
Chris saw it coming, but he was not quick enough to prevent Sidney from lunging at O'Shea. She was able to throw a punch that sent the politician flying two steps backwards before Chris was able to pull her back.
"Sidney!" he growled, fearing the reaction of Dicky O'Shea.
It was not the reaction he expected. The man rubbed his check gently then smiled at Sidney.
"I look forward to bringing the criminal to justice with your help Agent Marks," O'Shea smiled, then exited the room.
"Excuse me," Sidney answered, and pulled herself out of Chris's arms and stormed out the room.
Chris was furious; he took a step forward after her.
"Let her go," Annie stated firmly.
Chris looked at the woman. Instead of killing his agent, he was left to do damage control.
"Ma'am, I would like to apologize..."
"Don't," the woman stated with a smile. "I haven't seen somebody take on Dicky in a long time."
"Ma'am?" he asked.
She motioned for him to sit down and followed suit. .
"I think I can trust you Agent Larabee," she stated. "I have things that I need to tell somebody."
Chris didn't say anything he simply stared at the woman.
"Dicky and I have been married for almost forty years now," she stated. "It was never about love. We were allies in the fact that we both wanted power. I wanted to change the world. Dicky was searching for respect. It was a smart political move and we quickly reaped the benefits."
Chris didn't move a muscle. Annie leaned a little closer.
"During my whole time in Parliament, I knew Dicky was up to something. There were always strange phone calls at night and he left at random times for meetings, but he was always by my side when it came time for elections. I learned not care. My goals became the only thing that mattered."
Chris could tell the woman was getting to the real point of her monologue.
"Lately, my conscious has been catching up me. I have spent years trying to make good changes to the world, yet I'm sure my own husband has been engaging in his own illegal activities. Recent events have led me to believe that he still tied up with what is happening in Ireland." She reached out and took Chris's hands. The agent was surprised by the action, but he did not pull away.
"Agent Larabee, Chris, I want you to find out what is really going on, even it means taking me down with him."
"I don't know what I can..." Chris stated.
The woman smiled.
"Agent Larabee, I have spent my entire adult life learning how to lie and I can see that you are doing that now. It is not that difficult to read the signs: your team's stellar record, but you're inability to find anything about the Red Glove, President Fitzgerald's interest in your team, the little lady's inability to hide her passion when Dicky pushed her."
Chris looked up at the woman. He had known that he had liked her from the beginning.
"We'll do what we can ma'am," he stated, standing up.
"I can't be of much help to you," the woman stated, "But Dicky accidentally left this on the kitchen table a few days ago."
Chris took the piece of paper out of her hand. An address was scribbled on the paper.
"Have a nice evening Agent Larabee," she stated.
"You too Annie," Chris replied before walking out of the room.
"What the hell just happened?" a deep voice as soon as Chris exited the room.
Chris looked up to see Agent Richardson standing in the doorway.
"What just happened?" she repeated..
"Where's my agent?" he asked.
"I sent her to the hotel in one of the vehicles," she answered. "Heard she took a swing at O"Shea. She's more impulsive then you Larabee."
"I want a cab to the hotel," Chris growled.
"I figured as much," she answered. "There's one waiting outside."
Chris followed her through the hallway and out the door without a word. Once he was safely in the cab, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed.
"What's up Chris?" JD asked.
"I got an address I want you to check out," he stated. "Find out where it is and how to get inside. Call me back when you get something," he answered.