Chapter 1: You Know My Name
February 21, 2011
Palm City, State of Franklin
Sam had leaped again. As he breathed in the cool night air, he tried to get his bearings. There was something covering the upper part of his face—must be a mask—but why…? There was a boy a few yards away, holding a comic book, standing next to a woman, the boy’s mother, Sam guessed. She seemed to have just noticed Sam’s presence. Her eyes widened in shock, she clutched the boy to her protectively, and began to scream.
“Trip! Get inside and call 911!” Dana Faraday yelled.
INSERT THEME MUSIC
“Mom!” Trip whined.
“Now, wait just a sec--” Sam began. He really wished he knew what was going on. Who was he supposed to be, some kind of robber?
“You!” Dana whirled on the man playing dress-up. “What do you think you’re doing, talking with my son? Do you realize he just lost his father?” How dare this man play on Trip’s obsession with the comic-book superhero? Who was this creep? And, oh, why hadn’t she paid more attention to Trip when he had said that he had met The Cape?
“I--” Sam paused. He hadn’t known that the boy--Trip--had recently lost his father, but perhaps he was supposed to. Where is Al?
“Mom, you’re embarrassing me!” Trip protested. He turned, apologetically, to his hero. “I’m sorry about this,” the boy said, before addressing his mother again. “Mom, he came to ask you for help!”
“I did?” Sam asked. “I mean, I did.”
May 29, 2011
Project Quantum Leap
Stallion’s Gate, New Mexico
“Admiral Calavicci, please report to the Waiting Room,” Ziggy trilled, sounding more chipper than a parallel-hybrid computer had any right to, in Al’s opinion.
“Already?” Al asked. Stephen Bartowski had just left the Project to head to his son’s rehearsal dinner, after showing Al dozens of pictures of his granddaughter, Clara. Although he had worried that the slideshow would go on forever, Al realized that Sam’s last leap couldn’t have ended more than three hours ago. Well, here we go again, the admiral thought. Verbena Beeks, the Project’s psychologist, opened the door of the Waiting Room for Al, and ushered him in.
“Can’t handle the visitors without me, anymore?” Al asked.
“Al, I had to give this one a mild sedative. He was getting violent!” Verbena exclaimed, as she gestured to the man lying on the bed in the blue room.
“Did he hurt you?” Al asked, frowning.
“Fortunately, no, but…” she trailed off, as she saw the visitor begin to stir. “He’s coming around.”
“Did you get his name?” Al questioned the doctor. She shook her head.
“He wouldn’t tell me his name. He just kept asking about--”
“Dana!” The man’s eyes flew open, and he started to push himself into a sitting position. “Where’s Dana? What have you done with her? I swear, if you hurt her--”
“Calm down. We haven’t taken Dana,” Al assured the man. He did not calm down, however.
“Or--” he stopped himself. The Lich might not know that the woman he’d abducted was Orwell. “What about the young woman you did take?”
Al closed his eyes for a moment. Why couldn’t he have had a rest between leaps this time?
“Look, we didn’t take anyone,” the Project Observer replied. “And no, we didn’t abduct you, either.” Al ignored the disbelief portrayed on the younger man’s face. “Let’s backtrack. Who do you think we are?”
“You work for the Lich, don’t you?” The Visitor paused, uncertain. Then he looked down at his attire. What was he doing in a Fermi suit? Where was his costume? His eyes widened. He wasn’t wearing the cape and--he ran a hand over his face to be sure--he wasn’t wearing his mask, either. Not good.
“No, we don’t work for the Lich,” Al replied, not seeming to notice that the Visitor was starting to panic. “What’s your name?”
“As if you don’t know,” the man scoffed.
“Believe me, we don’t.” The stranger didn’t believe him. He waved a hand over his face.
“I know you’ve taken my mask. So now you know who I am. If you hurt Dana or Trip--”
“We haven’t! Oh, for heavens, sake!” Al turned to Verbena. “’Bena, have you shown this nozzle the mirror, yet?” She shook her head. Together, the two coaxed the guest over to the Waiting Room’s mirror.
Vince gasped as he looked down at his reflection. That was not Vince Faraday’s face in the mirror. The face of an older stranger stared back at him. They must’ve given me the toxin.
“I’m hallucinating,” he said aloud.
“No, you’re not,” Al sighed. “Listen to me. You’re part of a top-secret scientific experiment--”
“What kind of sick, twisted person calls killing half the city a science experiment?” Vince demanded. Al’s eyes’ widened. What on earth is Sam mixed up in, this time?
“I was referring to an experiment in time travel,” Al began to explain Project Quantum Leap.
“That’s impossible,” Vince replied.
“What’s today’s date?” Al asked the visitor, who hesitated a moment before answering. No doubt his memory was somewhat impaired by what Al and Sam had dubbed the ‘Swiss-cheese effect.’
“It’s February 21st.” At the prompting of his captor, Vince added, “2011.” The man entered that into a handheld device that didn’t look like any smart phone Vince had ever seen before correcting him.
“Actually, it’s May 29. You have switched places in time with Dr. Sam Beckett. You saw his reflection in the mirror just now. We see you as him, and others will see Sam as you.” Vince contemplated this information.
“You’re telling me that you have no idea what I look like, or who I am?”
“Not a clue,” Al confirmed, glad that that had sunk in. “So, who are you?”
“I can’t tell you that.”
“Even if you don’t work for the Lich, or for Scales, or for Chess, I can’t give you my name.” The names sounded vaguely familiar to Al, but he hadn’t been following the news that closely.
“Look, I don’t think you understand,” Al said, his patience running low. “My friend Sam has been sent by God, Fate, Time or Whatever to take your place to put right something that went wrong in the past. Until he does that, you’re stuck here, with no way to get home. The sooner you tell me who you are, the sooner we can figure out what it is he’s supposed to fix.” For some reason, the visitor’s eyes’ hardened.
“It wouldn’t matter--Al, was it? --No matter what your friend does, I still won’t be able to go home.”
Vince stared into space. He couldn’t go home for the same reason that he couldn’t tell anyone that his name was Vince Faraday. Not only was he supposed to be dead, but the proclamation would be tantamount to saying he was Chess. Vince snorted inwardly. How ironic that the alterego of The Cape, Palm City’s new hero, had been convicted in the court of public opinion of being his archenemy. If he ever got his hands on Peter Fleming, a.k.a. Chess…
The man had taken everything from him. He couldn’t go back to his job as a police officer, his reputation was ruined, and his family had to live without him. The latter had been too hard for him to swallow, and so he’d brought The Cape, his son’s favorite comic book superhero, to life as a means of staying in touch with Trip. He hadn’t meant to come face-to-face with his wife, Dana, as The Cape, but he’d had no choice tonight because…because…. Shit. What was happening to his memory? He’d known what the problem was just a minute ago, hadn’t he?
After the cryptic remark about being unable to go home, the mystery man had closed down and refused to answer anymore questions. Better go check on Sam, Al thought, heading towards the Imaging Chamber.
Feb. 21, 2011
“Trip, I told you to go call 911!”
Sam acted without thinking, without knowing what he was doing, let alone how he was doing it. His hands grasped the cape that he was wearing and somehow used it to snatch the comic book out of the hands of the ten-year-old, who had still been several yards away from him. In the next instant, he disappeared in a puff of smoke, only to reappear on another corner of the building’s roof. Okay, that was bizarre.
Well, the fact that he’d done something that he didn’t know how to do wasn’t completely unexpected. On several previous leaps, the neurons his host had left behind had allowed Sam to act on instincts that didn’t belong to him. But this--using a cape as a tool, almost like a weapon, not to mention that disappearing trick--that was out of the ordinary. Hmm, maybe he was a magician, rather than a robber? That still didn’t explain what a magician was doing on the roof of an apartment building in the middle of the night, triggering this woman’s instincts to protect her son.
Trip and his mother were gaping at him, or rather at the space he’d disappeared from a moment ago, so Sam cleared his throat to indicate he hadn’t left. Instantly, he regretted not just using the opportunity to make a quick exit. His host may have left enough of himself behind for Sam to have pulled that little stunt, but their minds hadn’t merged enough for him to have any idea why he was here, or what he should do next.
“Cool!” Trip grinned, impressed by The Cape’s theatrics. “Please help him, Mom,” he begged.
“What sort of help do you need?” Dana found herself asking. She wasn’t necessarily going to help, but her curiosity was piqued. More accurately, she was stunned. She hadn’t believed this man was actually the title character from The Cape comic books, but then, she had also thought that Trip was just talking about an imaginary friend, and what she had just seen seemed straight out of a comic book.
“I, uh, you see…” Sam trailed off. He had no idea how to finish that sentence. Relief washed over him as he saw the Imaging Chamber door open and Al appeared. He knew, of course, that Dana and Trip would be unable to see Al. Only Sam was able to see and hear the hologram of his best friend. He cocked his head to the side, looking at the expression on the Observer’s face. Did his outfit really look that ridiculous? Surely, Al had worn worse.
“I don’t believe it, Sam. You’re The Cape.” Al saw the blank expression on his friend’s face. Ah, of course. Sam wasn’t up on current events. Anything that happened after he began leaping through time in the 1990s escaped him, unless he experienced it personally or Al explained it to him.
“Well, that explains why he wouldn’t tell me his name,” Al continued. That complicated things, but they’d find out his name one way or the other during the leap.
“You don’t know who I am?”
“Trip tells me you’re The Cape,” Dana answered, thinking he was speaking to her.
“Not yet,” Al admitted. “But I can tell you that it’s February 21, 2011, and you’re in Palm City.”
“Do you know why I’m here?” Sam inquired.
“You said, ‘Mrs. Faraday, I need your help,’ but you didn’t say what you need me to do.”
“Maybe if you hadn’t freaked out,” Trip spoke up, before his mother hushed him.
“No, we don’t know, yet,” Al replied, as he reached for the hand-link and began tapping buttons. He slapped the squealing device, and then frowned. “Ziggy needs some time to run the numbers, since we only just found out you leaped into The Cape…”
Author’s Note: And, at long last, we have the Quantum Leap/The Cape crossover picking up where “Chuck v. Project Quantum Leap” left off. No, you don’t have to have read that story first. In fact, I’m hoping that I’m including enough about both shows so that readers who are only fans of The Cape or only of Quantum Leap won’t get lost. If anyone is lost, please let me know, so I can try to clear things up.
So, confused? Unsatisfied? Want more? You know the drill.
Ah, and before I forget, let me address the location of Palm City in this crossover. I know that in some of Dragomir’s work Palm City is in California, and that there is a Palm City in Florida, but I have set the fictitious city in the fictitious state brought to you by the Bar Examiners--Franklin, located in the fictitious 15th Circuit. :)
Chapter 2: The Eyes of Someone Else
“Wait a minute, we might have something,” Al continued. “It says here that Ark Corporation’s Chief of Please?” Al smacked the hand-link. “Oh, Chief of Police, Marty Voyt, dies in a couple of weeks on March 11. Right now, Ziggy figures there‘s an 83.47% chance that you‘re here to save him.”
Dana Faraday coughed.
“Mister… Cape? You still haven’t told me what it is you need help with.” Sam nodded, slowly.
“Can I use your bathroom?”
“My bathroom?” Dana asked in confusion. A minute ago the vigilante made it sound like he needed her help in a matter of life and death, and in reality he had a bathroom emergency?
Beside her, Trip’s mouth hung open. Evidently, he had also been expecting something different.
“If you wouldn’t mind,” Sam said, struggling to keep a straight face.
“Way to ruin the moment, Sam.”
“What?” he asked.
“You just blew the Cape’s chances with this broad. Ladies may fall for a masked man on a rooftop, but not when the guy’s pickup line is that nature is calling,” Al explained.
Was hitting on women all Al thought about?
Dana blinked. She still wasn’t quite sure whether to trust this man and he was asking for access to her apartment… But Trip trusted him and he did seem to be who he said he was (as impossible as that seemed, or at least he did until he had started acting clueless a few minutes ago). Okay, she could let him in. If he tried anything funny, she could always grab a frying pan from the kitchen and call 911.
“Of course not,” she said aloud. “Come on in.”
Soon, Sam was inside her apartment. He closed the bathroom door behind him. He was alone with the hologram.
“How does he die?”
“Some slime named Scales,” Al thwacked the handlink to see if there was an error, but the name didn’t change, so he continued, “shoots Voyt. He’s charged with first degree murder. Looks like he was caught red-handed.”
“Okay, if the chief isn’t going to die for a couple of weeks,” he whispered to Al, “then what am I doing here now? And who is she?”
“Uh, what did she say her name was? Mrs. Faraday?” Al asked as he started tapping buttons on the handlink. “That would be Dana Faraday, hmm, that must be the Dana that the Cape was referring to.”
“What? Al, that woman has never seen the Cape before in her life!”
“Well, he obviously knows her. Let’s see, it says here that she’s the mother of a ten-year-old son, right, you knew that already,” Al kept reading.
“She recently started working in the public defenders’ office after she was widowed… Oh my god, Sam!”
Sam had removed his mask so that he could take a look at his host’s face in the mirror. Due to the aura that clung to him, everyone else would see this face when they looked at him (at least, they would if it wasn’t hidden underneath a mask). Blue eyes stared back at him from the face of a handsome man in his mid-thirties. Curly hair covered the head that was no longer covered by a hood.
“What is it, Al?” Sam asked.
“That face, I’ve seen it! I know that… but that’s supposed to be Chess,” Al fumbled with the handlink for the parallel hybrid computer Sam had invented.
“Chess was a super villain that plagued Palm City. He was supposed to have been unmasked last month as Vince Faraday--Dana’s husband--who died in an explosion when they caught up to him…
“But that can’t be right because you are Vince Faraday. Your face has been all over the news since January.
“Ain’t that a kick in the butt? You look pretty good for a dead guy, Sam.”
“Gee, thanks, Al,” Sam said as he replaced the mask. “First you tell me I’m a hero, then you tell me I’m the villain, would you mind making up your mind?!”
“You’ve got to be the hero, Sam.” Al couldn’t really pinpoint what had convinced him of that, but he knew it was true. “Faraday must have been framed. Want me to have Ziggy calculate the odds of you being here to clear his name?”
“Later; first thing’s first. Why did he come here as the Cape to ask his wife for help?”
“I don’t know,” Al frowned, “but I’m sure Ziggy can find out… Okay, there’s this blog called Orwell Is Watching and ah, geez!”
“What is it?”
“A friend of the blogger posted a message that Orwell went missing days ago. As of nine a.m. this morning, Orwell was still missing.” The handlink squealed.
“Ziggy says there’s a 93.35% chance that the Cape is Orwell’s friend and that the Cape was in the process of trying to find and save him from kidnappers when you leaped in.
“Now there’s a 43.87% chance that help won’t get to him in time and he’ll die.” Al winced. “The odds are rising to 53%…54...”
“I don’t suppose the next blog entry explains where Orwell was found or how the Cape saved him?”
“That would’ve come in handy,” Al admitted as he pulled out a cigar. “Unfortunately, no dice.
“Tomorrow morning’s entry is supposed to say that Orwell is back, some nozzle named Conrad Chandler is behind bars, yadda yadda, and thanks for the concern.”
Sam looked at his best friend.
“Al, do you think that maybe Chandler was the kidnapper?”
“Oh! Well, that would make sense,” the observer mused as he puffed on his cigar. Sam frowned. He really wished his friend would quit smoking already. He had been smoking for… Sam didn’t know how many years. He had trouble keeping track of the passage of time as he was leaping around through it and his Swiss-cheese memory didn’t help matters any.
“So all we need to do is find Chandler. Is Dana supposed to know where he is?”
“I don’t see how she could. No one knew Chandler existed until Orwell dug him up…”
“See, Mom? I told you I wasn’t crazy,” Trip said. He gave her his best I’m-feeling-really-betrayed look. Dana sighed. If he had that look down pat now, what would it look like when he reached his teen years?
“You’re right. I’m sorry I doubted you. You’re not crazy…but your friend in there might be. Is he talking to himself?” Dana asked as she heard a voice coming from the other room. Trip rolled his eyes.
“Mo-om! He’s the Cape. He’s obviously talking to his sidekick via a two-way radio.”
Well, that would be a logical explanation, but Dana wasn’t ready to rule out the possibility that the man in her bathroom was a nut job.
“What sidekick? There’s no sidekick in the comic books.” Dana processed what she had just said and nearly slapped herself. Damn it! This was real life, not a comic book! Trip, meanwhile, shrugged.
“Lots of heroes have sidekicks. Besides, it must get awfully lonely without one,” especially when you’ve lost your family like he has.
Dana noticed her son’s melancholy expression. The passing of Trip’s father had left a hole in the boy’s life--one that the Cape had evidently tried to fill. That still seemed creepy to her, but maybe she shouldn’t judge the man before getting to know him.
“Want to go eavesdrop on him?” she asked. Trip’s eyes grew wide.
“Seriously?” Dana nodded.
Trip felt a little guilty about eavesdropping on his idol. He knew that eavesdropping wasn’t polite or something, but his mom had said it was okay! And, alright, he was curious, but who wouldn’t be?
“Al, that woman has never seen the Cape before in her life!”
He talked about himself in the third person? Weird; Trip hoped his mom was wrong about the Cape being a bit loony.
So, he was talking about her. Well, she could have met him before, but the Cape had never asked to see her until tonight. Just as well, in Trip’s opinion. Their meetings had felt special, like their own little secret. Although, at the same time, he was glad his mom no longer thought he was seeing things. He was pretty sure she had started looking up shrinks…
“First you tell me I’m a hero, then you tell me I’m the villain, would you mind making up your mind?!”
The young Faraday scrunched up his nose. What was that supposed to mean? Of course the Cape was a hero! Was his sidekick, Al, jealous or something?
“Later; first thing’s first. Why did he come here as the Cape to ask his wife for help?”
Trip’s mouth opened and closed. He was pretty sure his brain had stopped functioning. There was quite a bit wrong with the visitor’s question. For one thing, Trip was no longer convinced that the man was speaking about himself in the third person. Maybe that wasn’t the Cape in there after all, just some imposter who had somehow gotten his hands on the hero’s outfit. The boy had never seen the adult’s face. Couldn’t anyone wear a mask and a hood? That thought alone was seriously disturbing…
Trip tried to puzzle it out. The man’s behavior had been off tonight. First he’d asked to see Trip’s mom. The Cape never did that. Then he seemed to abruptly forget why he was here… But, no, he was being silly. The man in there wasn’t just wearing the cape; he’d shown that he knew how to use it. Surely no one else could do that…
Okay, Trip breathed out slowly and quietly. Okay, so there was still a good chance that the Cape was in his bathroom, but: his “wife”? Mom? There was no way! Mom was Dad’s wife and Dad was dead and he certainly wasn’t the Cape…right?
If anything else was being said, it went in one ear and out the other. He was still lost in his thoughts when the bathroom door swung open. The Cape (if he was the Cape), seemed nonplussed for a moment.
“Were you spying on me, buddy?” the man teased. Trip didn’t answer him and didn’t make eye contact with Sam. He just stared over the leaper’s shoulder, where Al happened to be standing.
“Sam, do you think he can see me?” Young children could see Al; they knew that from experience. There was no set age at which children just stopped seeing Al. Apparently, age wasn’t the only factor. It was more about innocence and… Sam shook his head.
“No, I suppose not,” he murmured. From what Al had told him, the boy had lost his father. Or rather, the boy believed he had lost his father in an explosion. In Sam’s opinion, he had been through more than any ten-year-old should have. Whatever childish innocence he’d had had been blown to smithereens in the blink of an eye. He was probably a lot more grown up than anyone was giving him credit for.
“Come on. Why don’t we go talk with your mom?” Sam gestured for his host’s son to precede him. The boy just nodded slowly and started walking on autopilot. The quantum physicist followed him into the living room where Mrs. Faraday was waiting on the sofa.
“Hey, you were in there a long time. Did you fall in?” Dana joked. She frowned as she looked from one somber face to another and pulled Trip onto her lap. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“A friend of mine has been kidnapped,” the masked man replied.
“I’m sorry to hear that, but why would you come to me? Why not go to the police?” Dana questioned him.
“She mean the same police that wanted to barbecue her husband for something he didn’t do?” Sam ignored his friend.
“This coming from a defense attorney?” Sam countered. “I didn’t think you would be one to put your faith in the police.”
“Well, I admit I have my issues with ARK…”
“So do I. That’s why I came to someone that I knew could be trusted.”
“But why me? What could I possibly do?”
*Gasps* Was that an update?! Whoa. How’d that happen? Eh. Put it down to me taking a renewed interest in the PQL ‘verse recently. If you haven’t noticed I’ve revised the first chapter a bit (mostly chopping off the end of it to use as the start of this chapter).
No beta this time, so I am prepared for quibbles.
So, what’d you think? Don’t want Sam to blow Vince’s secret? Worried that he won’t get to Orwell in time? Upset that there isn’t any pence in here? (I know; I feel your pain.)
Chapter 3: The Impossible Dream
Good question, Sam thought.
“Well, right now, all I have to go on is the name of a suspect: Conrad Chandler,” he replied.
“Chandler, as in the family that founded Palm City, those Chandlers?” Dana asked.
“Uh, I guess so,” Sam hedged. He didn’t remember anything about Palm City.
“That family died out years ago,” Dana informed him.
“That can’t be right.” Sam looked at Al, who consulted the hand-link.
“I told you no one had known he existed, Sam. Ziggy says that according to Orwell’s blog, he went missing while searching for the long-lost Chandler heir,” Al tapped a couple of buttons. “And that this Chandler’s handle was ‘the Lich.’”
“Just trust me, he’s real,” Sam said to Dana. “He goes by ‘the Lich.’ Have you heard of him?”
“Are you kidding me? The Lich isn’t real, either. Vince, my late husband, told me that was just a name the cops put on their weird unsolved cases.”
“The cops…” Sam repeated.
“You were, that is, Vince was a cop before he was killed, I mean framed,” Al supplied his friend. Then the observer muttered something about this being a confusing leap.
“What about the cops?” Dana asked.
“What if that’s the answer?” Sam said, mostly to Al.
“Oh! You figure they might know more than Dana about this Lich!” the admiral realized.
“But I can’t go to the cops, can I?” Sam mused.
“As a wanted fugitive who looks kinda like a bandit? No, I don’t think you can,” his friend replied.
“Wait,” Dana said, oblivious to Al’s input. “Is that why you came to me? To ask me to play go between for you and ARK?”
“Could be the Cape went to you because you’re his wife,” Al said. Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes and simply raised an eyebrow.
“What? Why else would Faraday have sought her out?” Al asked.
“I don’t know. She’s a public defender,” Sam whispered.
“You talking to your sidekick?” Trip piped up. The men startled. They’d forgotten the kid was in the room.
“Uh…” Sam’s eyes darted to Dana. “What makes you say that?”
“Trip, honey, isn’t it time for you to go to bed?” Dana asked. No need for their guest to learn she’d put her son up to spying on him. A lot of good it had done her; she’d have to wait until the morning before she could find out what the boy had learned.
“Seriously? You finally admitted I was right about the Cape all this time and you can’t even extend my curfew this once?” No, damn it! Not that face; not the same one that had always made her melt when Vince used it. She wasn’t going to give in now. The man in their apartment was a dangerous lunatic or he was telling the truth and was searching for a kidnapper; either way, she didn’t need her ten-year-old being underfoot.
“Fine, I owe you one, kiddo, but it’s getting late, so go to bed.”
“Promise to tell me what happens?”
“I promise,” his mother replied. Trip gazed at his mom for a second, then nodded, apparently satisfied. He turned to the vigilante.
“Goodnight, Cape. You’ll come see me again, right?”
Sam hesitated for a moment, feeling Dana’s eyes on him, before smiling.
“Of course I will.” Trip smiled back as Dana frowned. Any other answer would have disappointed the child, but she felt uneasy about this stranger becoming a fixture in his life. So much for Vince teaching him not to trust strangers…
“You owe me pizza,” he addressed his mom, before heading off to his room at last. Dana sighed.
“You’ve got quite a kid there,” Sam commented. Dana nodded.
“He can be a handful, but he’s all I have left.” She cleared her throat. “Where were we?”
“Uh, discussing ARK.”
“Right, ARK. So…”
“Sam, you may be onto something,” Al informed his friend. “Ziggy says that Marty Voyt, the guy you’re supposed to save, was Faraday’s partner at the Palm City Police Department before Voyt took the job at ARK. Looks like Voyt’s been a friend of the Faradays for quite some time.
“And get a load of this: This afternoon he arrested some nozzle named Preston Holloway, who is believed to be one of the Lich’s accomplices. Could be that getting in touch with him kills two birds with one stone: He could help you save Orwell, and…” he trailed off.
Okay, Al wasn’t quite sure how Sam meeting with Voyt would save the man’s life if he wasn’t due to be killed for another few weeks, but there had to be a connection there somewhere. If there was one thing he’d learned as project observer, it was that God, Fate, Time, or Whatever acted in mysterious ways. His eyes met Sam’s. Apparently, his friend understood what he was getting at.
“Hello, earth to Cape?” Dana stared at the vigilante. Was he even listening to her? He seemed to have zoned out entirely.
He nodded before turning to the attorney. “Mrs. Faraday, I need you to put me in touch with Marty Voyt.”
“Marty? You want me to call Marty for you…and tell him what exactly? That a comic book superhero wants to meet him? I’m pretty sure he’d think I was crazy.” Heck, she had thought her son had been hallucinating when he’d told her the same thing earlier this evening. A child might get away with having an imaginary friend, though she thought ten was pushing it. An adult woman having an imaginary friend would be another story.
“I’ll be sure to vouch for your sanity,” the hero assured her.
“Besides which,” she continued as if she hadn’t heard him, “Marty and I aren’t on the best of terms right now.”
“Why’s that?” Sam asked. “Uh, if you don’t mind me asking,” he added. Dana hesitated for a moment.
“Trip said you told him that his father was innocent,” she said at last.
“Well, Vince would know,” Al commented.
“You never doubted him, did you?” she asked. Sam shook his head.
She wanted to say that she hadn’t, either, but something stopped her.
“I know my husband was framed,” she said instead. “And I know that Marty knows something about it that’s he’s not telling me. I confronted him about it, made a bit of a scene…got kicked out of his house, actually. I just couldn’t understand how after all those years of being my friend, being Vince’s friend, he could lie right to my face.
“I don’t know if I can speak to him again.”
“Look, I’m not in a position to know if Marty did what he’s done for a good reason or if he’s screwed up, but I do know that lives are at stake now. And I need help to save them. So please, do this for me.”
Dana looked at the Cape and exhaled slowly.
“Okay. I’ll give him a call.”
Sam waited in the parking garage of an ARK detainment facility, where prisoners were kept while awaiting trial or transport to Owl Island. According to Orwell’s blog, it was also where Peter Fleming illegally detained opponents that he never intended to turn over to the criminal justice system, an accusation the billionaire laughed off.
Marty Voyt was due to arrive at any minute. Dana had been vague on the phone, telling him only that there was someone he needed to meet and that it was urgent.
He’d been reluctant to leave his home in the middle of the night without more information, but figured he had to go find out what was going on. Dana already knew too much. If she had somehow gotten a hold of something concrete and took it to someone else before he could stop her… It would be more than his career on the line; it would be his life.
When he arrived, he looked around to see if Dana was there. She wasn’t. “The Cape” had told her it would be better for him to speak with Marty alone. As she was reluctant to leave her son home alone just so she could go off with a possible madman, she didn’t argue with him. (She wasn’t worried about Marty’s safety. The Chief of Police could look after himself…and if he couldn’t, that was his problem.)
“Dana?” Marty called. He turned as he heard the sound of boots on asphalt and saw the vigilante he’d parted from hours earlier. Instinct had him reaching for his weapon before he thought better of it. No need to put on a show for Fleming now and no need to defend himself against the hero…not yet, anyway.
“She’s not coming. It’s just you and me, Marty.”
“You’re the person Dana wanted me to meet?” Sam was about to introduce himself as the Cape when Marty continued. “I guess you didn’t tell her we’ve already met.” The cop furrowed his brow. “So now you’re using Dana to reach me?
“I suppose I should be glad you’re not breaking into my home the way you broke into Fleming’s.”
“Well, I try not to make a habit out of breaking and entering,” the hero deadpanned. He got a snort in response.
“You left in a hurry earlier. You know, after you assaulted the suspect.”
“I was there when you made the arrest this afternoon,” Sam said slowly.
“Look, I know that you made the arrest possible. If you hadn’t convinced me to go after this guy, we wouldn’t have been able to thwart the planned attack on the Founders Day Parade. Maybe I owe you for that, but I can’t condone your treatment of Holloway. You know if you were a cop, Holloway’s lawyer would be making noises about police brutality right about now.”
“When you say I assaulted him…”
“I’m not going to arrest you for that. As far as I’m concerned, this meeting never happened. Fleming can’t know I was working with you. It’s bad enough that you escaped after I arrested you.” The official story was that the Cape escaped, anyway. It was moderately safer to say that than to admit that he’d deliberately let the wanted man go.
“And I appreciate that, but don’t you think I must’ve had a good reason for my, uh, rough treatment of Holloway?” Marty tilted his head.
The Imaging Chamber door opened somewhere off to the side and Al appeared.
“You find out anything, yet, Sam?” The leaper ignored him, waiting for a response to his question.
“I know, you said that the Lich had kidnapped a girl. That’s still doesn’t give you the right to beat the answers out of--”
“A girl?” Sam repeated in disbelief. Marty blinked.
“Young woman, then,” Marty rephrased. “Is she your girlfriend or something? Obviously she’s someone you care about. Did you find her, yet?” Sam looked at Al.
“Orwell’s a woman?” Marty’s eyes grew wide.
“Orwell? Your damsel in distress is Orwell?” he demanded.
“I think maybe you shouldn’t have said that, Sam.” Al puffed on his cigar. “Orwell happens to be ARK’s biggest enemy or at least he--that is, she was, until the Cape came on the scene.
“Good luck getting his help in rescuing her now.”
Jamie Fleming, a.k.a. Orwell, looked at her father. No, not her father. He’s not really here; this isn’t real. But it was hard to remember that this was all in her mind. Everything seemed so real… If she had only felt pain when she had sliced open her hand with the knife earlier, the illusion would be almost perfect.
It was the door’s fault, really; that stupid white door to nowhere that never left her peripheral vision except when she turned to face it. That was what caused her to pick up the knife in the first place. It beckoned to her, making her wonder what would happen if she turned the handle and stepped through… Ugh. Make it stop! Maybe daddy could make it stop…
There was something else wrong with this dream world, too. Vince knew who she was; he was going to marry her. Something was wrong with that picture, but what? … Her mind felt fuzzy.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I’m your father. I’m here to give you away,” the hallucination responded.
“No. That doesn’t make sense. I don’t want you to be here…”
“Obviously, you do,” the faux Peter Fleming pointed out.
“What happened to Mom?” Jamie asked, tears stinging her eyes. She knew he couldn’t give her an answer. He was nothing more than a figment of her subconscious and she didn’t know the answer. But right now, with the Lich’s toxin coursing through her system, her emotions were raw. Despite having run away from her father years ago, she just really wanted her parents by her side.
He was right, after all. She wanted them to be there on her wedding day.
I’m back with another update and possibly cliffhanger. You know those seem like a good idea until you have to write your way out of them…
Well, damn. I wanted to spare Jamie from being exposed to the toxin in the first place, but I decided I couldn’t swing it. Perhaps there’s still hope for her sanity.
What did you think? Was the chapter confusing? Depressing? Can’t remember what the bloody story is about since I haven’t updated in so long? Quibble away.
Chapter 4: Mind's Unweaving
“You want my help to rescue Orwell? Do you have any idea how many assassins Fleming has looking for the blogger?” Marty demanded. Sam winced.
“You and your big mouth, Sam,” Al shook his head. “We really don’t have time for this. The odds of Orwell being killed keep rising--”
“Okay!” Sam exclaimed. “Okay, Marty, just for now, I need you to put aside who she is and concentrate on helping me save the woman’s life. Isn’t that your job, Chief?”
“Don’t, don’t you dare! You know I serve at Fleming’s pleasure. If he thinks I’ve betrayed him, I’ll be history, man!”
Sam’s ears perked up at that. He was on this leap to keep Marty from being killed. Wasn’t it supposed to be Scales, not Fleming, who was going to kill him? He pushed the question aside for now. He would worry about that after he made sure his meddling with time didn’t cost Orwell her life.
“I’m sorry to put you in this position, but could you live with yourself if she died and you knew you could’ve done something to save her?
“All I’m asking is for you to take me to see Holloway.”
“Why, so that you can go another few rounds with him? Are you out of your mind?!”
“I won’t attack him again, I promise.”
“And I’m just supposed to trust you to keep your word?”
Al grumbled something about nozzles. Sam Beckett was the most trustworthy person he’d ever met and too much of a damn goody two shoes to lie…or to take advantage of perfectly willing women…
“Tell you what, if I hurt Holloway, I’ll turn myself in.” Marty frowned.
“You have to know Fleming wouldn’t be satisfied to see you in prison. He wants to destroy you.”
“Well, I’d say that’s a pretty good reason for me to keep my word, then.” Marty nodded.
“Okay. Follow me.”
Marty led Sam and Al to an interrogation room and had the prisoner brought in. Sam looked Preston Holloway up and down and frowned. He was still wearing the clothes he’d had on when he’d been captured, all black from his head, where he was still wearing that hat, to his toe. The contrast between the dark clothing and the pale skin was creepy--or maybe that was just the expression on his face. Was it Sam’s imagination or…?
“Sam, does this guy look like a zombie to you?” Al asked. Preston cocked his head, turning it vaguely in Al’s direction.
“Has he been drugged?” Sam whispered to Marty. The ARK officer narrowed his eyes slightly.
“By the Lich, no doubt. He had the toxin in his system when we found him, remember?”
“Right, of course,” Sam tried for a reassuring smile to cover up his slip. “Has anyone taken a look at his blood and tried to isolate the toxin?” Marty blinked.
“Well, no, we haven’t.” He squared his shoulders. “But we thwarted the terrorist scheme. They’re not going to douse the crowds at the parade, so the city’s citizens aren’t in danger.”
“So you figured an antidote would be pointless,” Sam concluded.
“For all we know, the stuff will wear off on its own,” the younger man pointed out, folding his arms. “Anyway, as long as he’s competent to stand trial, who cares?” The leaper groaned.
“Marty, there could be more toxin where that came from. Others could be drugged, too, and we can’t rely upon it working its way out of their systems. Could we please look into an antidote?”
Marty sighed, but nodded. He radioed for assistance, asking one of his men to meet him in a nearby corridor with the necessary supplies. Voyt left the Cape alone with the prisoner reluctantly, but what choice did he have? He couldn’t let anyone know that he was cooperating with the Cape. The men weren’t loyal to him; they were owned by Fleming.
What Fleming didn’t know wouldn’t hurt Marty.
Philips brought him the needle and vials he’d asked for and, thankfully, didn’t ask any questions.
Sam was this close to banging his head against one of the walls of the interrogation room. He had tried to interrogate Holloway, but the man was completely uncooperative. No wonder the real Cape had resorted to assaulting the prisoner. How was he supposed to get answers out of a man that 1) was stubbornly insisting on being loyal to his partner in crime and 2) was stoned out of his mind?
Just then, Marty returned to the room.
“Did you get it?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, I got it. Here, I’ll hold him down while you do the honors,” he said, tossing the needle and vials to the masked man. Luckily, Holloway hardly twitched as Doctor Beckett drew blood from his arm.
“Good work, Sam,” Al commented. “Now, if only getting information out of him was that easy.” Holloway frowned and spoke up.
“I get that you came here to play good cop, bad cop,” he began, “but since when does that routine require three officers?”
“Three?” Marty asked. Great; he’s hallucinating.
Meanwhile, Al froze.
“You can see me?” he asked. Holloway nodded, slowly.
“You’re not dressed like a police officer, but then, neither is your masked colleague here. Is this some new sort of interrogation technique?”
“I think I’d better go get these blood samples to the guys in the labs,” Marty addressed the hero. “Come on; he’s obviously too delusional to do you any good.”
“Just a minute,” Sam said. It was the drugs; it had to be. Whatever other psychoactive properties it possessed, the toxin also enabled Holloway to see the hologram. Only he didn’t know he was seeing a hologram. “You go ahead and drop off the vials. I want to try something first.”
“You promised no funny stuff!”
“I promised not to hurt him and,” he glanced meaningfully at Al, “I won’t. We’re just going to talk for a minute.”
“He better be in one piece when I get back,” Marty warned the vigilante before leaving the room.
“Preston, my partner and I,” Sam waved a hand to indicate Al, “aren’t cops. The normal rules don’t apply to me and they certainly don’t apply to him.” Sam leaned closer to whisper to the prisoner. “He’s not human.”
“No, that’s just… You’re just trying to scare me.”
Sam turned to Al.
“Perhaps a demonstration would be in order?”
Screams had Marty running the rest of the way back to the interrogation room, cursing himself for leaving the Cape alone with the prisoner. That racket was sure to call the attention of other ARK employees, who would want to investigate so they could report it up the chain of command… No, damn it! No!
He burst into the room, reaching for his weapon and paused. The prisoner was now sobbing quietly, but the Cape was on the other side of the room and Holloway looked unharmed.
“I didn’t lay a hand on him,” the masked man said, raising his gloved hands in the air. “I swear. I did, however, find out where the kidnapper is. Shall we get going?”
Marty frowned. Something had made Holloway scream, but then, he had been hallucinating. Odds were that whatever had frightened him wasn’t real. He could explain that to any of his curious colleagues. He wouldn’t, however, be able to explain the Cape’s presence in the facility.
“I’ll meet you back in the parking lot. Let me have him escorted back to his cell first.”
Having accomplished that without any further trouble, Marty met up with the vigilante.
“Where are we going?”
“Graveyard,” Sam frowned. “You drive, I’ll give you directions. What?” he demanded, when the other hesitated.
“I still don’t know…”
“Look, drive now; have a mental breakdown later, alright?” Marty managed a weak smile.
“Let’s do this.” They stormed the Lich’s underground hideout. Some of Conrad Chandler’s people tried to stop them, but the invaders had the advantage. (They weren’t drugged out of their minds. Plus, they were good at hand to hand combat and they were armed.) Marty shot one intoxicated follower in the leg and pistol-whipped another in the head, but most were subdued with a few well aimed kicks and punches.
Finally, the two made their way into the room where the Lich was holding Orwell. The woman was sprawled out on the ground, apparently unconscious, and wearing a wedding dress. Chandler blocked their way to her. He grinned, making his deformed face appear even uglier.
“I should warn you: One of the symptoms of my condition is that I can’t feel any pain.”
A shiver coursed through Sam--the only warning he had before his host’s lingering neurons and mesons took over his body.
“When you wake up, you tell me if you felt this.” The Cape’s signature weapon wrapped around the cabinet against the wall and he flung the furniture against the kidnapper, knocking him out cold.
Sam shook his head to clear it. That had been intense. For a minute there, he might as well have been Faraday… He rather missed the days when the only neurons in his head were his own.
“Damn, remind me not to get on your bad side.”
Sam hurried over to Orwell and tried to wake her up.
“Orwell, Orwell, can you hear me?”
“Vince?” Jamie blinked, but couldn’t see the man’s mask. In her mind, Vince was standing over her, still dressed as her groom. Her lower lip trembled as she tried to wake herself up from her fantasy. He was here to save her, not marry her.
“Did she say Vince?” Marty’s complexion turned ashen.
“Hello, she’s hallucinating,” the Cape replied. Marty breathed a sigh of relief. For a minute there, he’d thought that the vigilante was the friend that he’d betrayed… But that was impossible. Vince was dead. He scowled. It was his fault that Vince had died. Well, at least he could take comfort in the fact that he’d helped to save the girl’s life.
“Vince, you were here all along, weren’t you?” Jamie asked. Sam grunted as he lifted her up in his arms.
“Come on, Orwell. Let’s see how that nice antidote is coming along.” He turned to carry her outside and over to Marty’s car. “Are you coming?” he asked the officer, who had been staring at the blogger.
“That’s Orwell? She looks familiar. I’ve seen her before somewhere… I just…”
“Okay, remember when I said you could have your breakdown later? I need you to hold off on that awhile longer.”
“Right.” That’s going to be a very well deserved breakdown, Marty mused, as they headed back to his car.
Sam paced back and forth through the shadows. Al wasn’t in the Imaging Chamber at the moment, so he couldn’t find out what was going to happen next. He would just have to wait for Marty to come back and tell him what was going on… There he was.
“The good news is: We’ve got her stabilized and, no, no one knows that she’s Orwell.”
“What’s the bad news?”
“The antidote isn’t ready yet. We’re working on it, okay? The lab guys have made progress on it--”
“Let me help,” Sam interrupted him.
“I happen to have some expertise on the matter. Get me into the lab and I can help her, please.”
“Even if I got you in there, how would I get you out afterwards?”
“Let me worry about that. Marty, she’s my friend and she’s in this mess because of me. I have to help her.”
The Cape was a far better friend, better person, than he was. Damn him. They were all going to wind up dead. He shouldn’t have answered the call from Dana earlier. He squeezed his eyes shut.
“Fine, but if you don’t find the antidote for her, I will personally hand you over to Fleming. Do I make myself clear?” Sam grinned.
“As crystal,” the leaper replied, before following Voyt’s lead through ARK Tower.
OMG, it’s an update! And one that just about wraps up this version of “The Lich, Part 2.”
Now, using Vince’s neurons isn’t cheating. Sam has had a similar experience before. (And if the scene isn’t broken, I’m not going to fix it.)
The chapter title comes from the All American Rejects’ hit, “It Ends Tonight.” However, the story’s not over until Sam leaps. (And apparently I promised someone Scales…)
No beta, so quibble away. What did you think? Wondering why no one bothered to look for an antidote to the toxin in the series? Disappointed that Peter hasn’t made an appearance so far? (I know that I am.)
Chapter 5: Coldest Blood Runs Through My Veins
February 21, 2011
Palm City, Franklin
Marty went on ahead and brusquely ordered the ARK technicians out of the lab. One of the scientists hesitated.
“But, sir, we still haven’t been able to treat the girl’s condition--”
“That’s not your concern. These are Fleming’s orders.” Voyt stared the other man down.
Finally, when the coast was clear, the Cape entered the room.
Sam examined the data the ARK team had gathered and then got to work. He didn’t notice Marty surreptitiously slip out his smart phone and take a picture of Orwell, who was lying down on a hospital-style bed.
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Voyt asked, dubiously, once the phone was away. Sam frowned. He had six doctorates, one of which was a medical degree, and he’d unlocked the secret of time travel.
“Of course I’m sure,” he replied impatiently, before returning his attention to his work.
Marty kept a lookout as the Cape administered the toxin’s antidote to Orwell. The young woman sat up slowly. Her previously vacant expression changed as her eyes focused. She looked up at the masked man.
“You made the door go away,” she murmured in awe. “How did you do that?”
Sam decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to tell her he came up with the antidote. After all, Orwell knew the Cape’s secret identity and Vince Faraday wouldn’t have known where to begin manufacturing something to counteract an experimental hallucinogen. Fortunately, he was saved from answering her question.
“What is she talking about? Is she still delusional?” Marty demanded, drawing Orwell’s attention to him.
“Marty Voyt,” her eyes widened. “Why is he here?” She looked around. “Where are we?”
“Take it easy. Calm down,” Sam tried to get her to lean back. “We’re at ARK Tower…”
“WHAT?!” Jamie jumped to her feet. “What were you thinking? What the hell are we doing here? He’s,” she indicated Marty, “probably already sent for Fleming.”
“No, I haven’t,” Marty interjected. “I don’t think Fleming would take kindly to me aiding and abetting his enemies, do you?”
“He’s helping us,” Sam explained. “We’re here because we needed the resources to find an antidote to the Lich’s toxin. How are you feeling? Any lightheadedness?”
“I’m feeling like my partner’s lost his mind! We need to get out of here; right now.”
Somewhere in the distance, an alarm started blaring. There was chatter on Marty’s radio and he received a text on his phone. He checked it and swore.
“One of the technicians must’ve gone to Fleming to ask why they were pulled off the case so quickly. He wants to know what’s going on and he’s headed this way.” Orwell glared at the Cape, mentally conveying ‘I told you so.’
Sam fought back a grimace, took her hand and they ran for it. Under the cover of smoke bombs, they cleared out of the building long before Peter Fleming and his entourage burst into the emptied room.
“Where’s Voyt?” Fleming snarled in frustration.
“Of all the idiotic…” Orwell continued to rant under her breath as her fingers flew over the keyboard. She and the Cape had gone back to her place after their flight from ARK Tower.
“You know, at a certain point, naïveté stops being cute,” she informed her partner.
“We were saving you,” Sam ground out. He had shed Faraday’s mask and costume and was wearing what must have been the man’s civilian clothes.
“She doesn’t seem very grateful, Sam,” Al remarked. He didn’t bother pointing out that the leaper hadn’t even registered that the brunette thought he was cute. His friend wouldn’t appreciate it. The admiral sighed. If he had been the one leaping around and women threw themselves at him… Oh wait. He’d tried that and had almost gotten killed on his first and only leap; pity.
“Oh, great job,” the blogger said, her voice heavily laden with sarcasm. “Now I have to wipe out the footage of us from the ARK security cameras and hope Fleming hasn’t watched it, yet.”
“Oh,” Sam said. “Uh, do you think he has?” Jamie didn’t answer him. She pressed a few more keys and then let her shoulders slump.
“Done,” she announced. “Hopefully it was not too late.” True, there was nothing in the footage that would’ve given away Vince’s secret identity and she wasn’t too concerned about Marty being the target of her father’s wrath. What she was very much concerned about was the possibility of her father recognizing her. Now that she was no longer trapped in the toxin-induced hallucination, she didn’t want to have anything to do with Peter Fleming.
If anyone said differently, they’d have to deal with the wrath of Orwell.
“I should probably get going,” Sam said, after a few moments of silence. Orwell shrugged.
“It’s late. You can crash on the couch if you want,” she said tiredly. “I know it’s been a long day for all of us.
“Vince… I am thankful, you know.”
“I know,” Sam replied.
“Goodnight,” Jamie replied, before heading off to her bedroom.
“Well, that’s one crisis averted,” Al stated. “Now you can concentrate on saving Voyt so you can leap.”
“Al, about that… Voyt is petrified of his boss, Peter Fleming. You should’ve seen his face when he thought Fleming would catch him helping us.”
“But Scales is the one that killed Voyt,” Al reminded Sam.
“Or Scales is just the one that takes the fall for it,” Sam countered. “Scales isn’t the one that Marty’s afraid of; Fleming is. Does Ziggy have any more information about Marty’s death?” The observer checked the hand-link.
“No,” Al reported at last.
“Did Verbena get more information from Faraday?”
“Sam, Faraday wouldn’t know because for him, it hasn’t happened yet.”
“There has to be some way to find out what happens to Marty… Wait…”
“What is it, Sam?” Al didn’t like the look on Sam’s face. It looked an awful lot like the look Sam had gotten when he’d asked Al to play the part of Ghost of Christmas Future on one leap. Although, scaring that businessman hadn’t been so bad.
“Why don’t you ask Scales?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You could pay Scales a visit and ask him for his side of the story,” Sam explained.
“Let me get this straight: You want me to head out to Owl Island and ask one of their most dangerous prisoners why he opened fire on Voyt?”
“Unless you have a better idea, yes, I do. Why, do you think you’re not up to the task?” Al gave him a dirty look.
“I’ll show you ‘not up to the task.’ You want me to question Scales? Fine; I will. See if you can keep from destroying what’s left of Vince’s life while I’m gone,” he called as he opened the Imaging Chamber door and disappeared through it.
Marty had made his way back to his office before his boss arrived at the lab. The police chief fumbled through his papers, looking for something. Finally, he found what he was looking for. He smoothed out the folded piece of paper. It was a rendering, a projection of what Peter Fleming’s missing daughter, Jamie, should look like now. While Marty wasn’t part of the team Fleming had hired to scour the globe for his progeny, as his right-hand man (not his puppet, despite Miss Fleming’s accusation) he was kept apprised of any developments in the search.
Marty stared at the rendering and then pulled out his phone and brought up the photo of Orwell he had taken. He knew she’d looked familiar. There was no question about it. It was the same face, which meant Orwell, the gigantic thorn in ARK’s side, was Peter Fleming’s daughter.
And he had let her get away. He collapsed back in his chair, his knees suddenly weak. His phone rang, a photo of his boss appearing on screen, and he answered.
“VOYT! MY OFFICE, NOW!”
Marty winced as the call was disconnected. Fleming didn’t scream if he could help it…
“Would you care to explain the events of this evening, Voyt?” Peter asked. His voice was once more under control. His face didn’t give away the anger and suspicion he felt, but his employee knew they were there.
“There are rumors going around,” Peter continued, “that are quite distressing. People are suggesting you helped fugitives within these walls, helped them to escape even. And not just any fugitives, either. The word is that you’re in league with the Cape.
“I hope I need not remind you that our policy on the Cape is to shoot first, work out a statement with Public Relations later?” Not that he actually believed that his men were capable of killing the Cape, semi-competent lot that they were, but it was the principle of the thing.
“No, sir; I’m aware of that.”
“Well…?” Fleming drawled. If Voyt didn’t start talking soon, he was going to have to threaten his family. That, in turn, was likely to wake up Chess and he’d rather not have to deal with his homicidal alternate personality on top of everything else this evening.
“A kidnapper was apprehended this evening. He should be on his way to Owl Island as we speak.
“His victim had been drugged with an unknown toxin, so I had her transported to ARK Tower for observation. Once she had recovered, she left.”
“What aren’t you telling me?” Peter inquired. “I know there’s more to it than that. There have apparently been glitches with the security cameras that have a certain blogger’s name all over them. Who was kidnapped?” Voyt passed him his phone as he answered and Fleming stared at the photo on the screen.
“It was your daughter, Jamie.”
It was terribly fortunate that he was already sitting down. It really was her this time. He’d know his baby girl anywhere. He probably shouldn’t be so shocked. He had suspected she might be in Palm City since the night of the gala on board the Monte Carlo. That “reporter” in the middle of the masquerade had been her, he was sure of it. If only she hadn’t disappeared into the crowd… but she was here now. No, wait, she wasn’t.
“Am I to understand that my daughter was in the building, under the influence of some poison her kidnapper had given her,” that kidnapper was as good as dead, “and you just…let her go?”
“Not exactly, sir. First off, I want you to know that she’s fine. She’s not suffering the effects of the drug anymore.”
“I’m afraid that’s not quite as reassuring as it would be coming from her,” Peter stated. “Secondly?” he prompted.
“Secondly, I don’t know how to tell you this, Mr. Fleming, but:
“Your daughter is Orwell.”
Peter prided himself on his stoic façade and was not about to let it falter.
“That’s quite the allegation. What proof do you have of this?”
“The Cape came to whisk her away and before they disappeared he called her ‘Orwell.’”
Is that proof enough for you, Peter? Chess asked. Peter sighed. He’d known Chess wouldn’t remain dormant for long after he had learned his daughter had been kidnapped. Then he stared into space.
Chess had already known Orwell was his daughter, hadn’t he?
I had my suspicions. Nothing concrete, of course.
“Mr. Fleming, are you alright?” Voyt asked. Peter nodded absently.
“Voyt, I need you to call off the assassins searching for Orwell immediately. You are not, under any circumstances, to tell anyone what you have just told me. Do you understand?”
“That will be all. You may go,” Peter dismissed him.
February 22, 2011
Jamie thought things were looking up. It was a new day; the sun was shining and any day you weren’t being kidnapped by some psycho that wanted to marry you had to be a good day. She was ready to put the whole nasty business behind her. At least she had succeeded in keeping her father from buying the docks. Conrad Chandler was going to spend the rest of his life in prison, but he’d inherited the property fair and square and the title would remain with him.
Cheered by that thought, she turned on the morning news and discovered, to her horror, that someone had broken into Owl Island and killed Chandler during the night.
Maybe, she thought, the hallucination hadn’t been that bad…
I know: Chess killing the Lich is predictable by this point (although Ziggy did not see fit to warn Sam). What choice did I have? I couldn’t let him be out of character.
So, you still have Scales to look forward to and Peter has finally made an appearance in the fic. And, oh yeah, Marty told Peter that Jamie is Orwell. Surprised? Disappointed? *points to comment button* *stares at you*
Chapter 6: All These Questions
May 30, 2011
In the morning, Al caught a plane from New Mexico to Franklin. He navigated his way through Palm City, which didn’t seem terribly different from the holographic version he’d seen in the Imaging Chamber. Of course, the hologram had been of events occurring only months before, so it made sense that the city hadn’t changed much in the interval. Finally, the admiral arrived at his destination: Owl Island Prison.
Scales was surprised to hear he had a visitor and was further confused when the visitor didn’t turn out to be his court-appointed defense attorney, Travis Hall. He didn’t recognize the bloke, who went by the name of Calavicci. Perhaps one of the gangs had sent him? Or possibly he was from ARK… The smuggler sized the older man up, decided he wasn’t even remotely a threat, and relaxed back in his seat.
“Who the ’ell are you?” he demanded. “Who sent you?”
Al glanced at the door. He knew there were guards on the other side of it, but they’d left him alone in here with a suspected murderer--one that didn’t even look human. Al looked at Raoul’s skin and realized how the man had gotten his nickname. (Psoriasis definitely didn’t look like that. He couldn’t remember any skin condition that would explain the man’s reptilian appearance. Maybe his friend would know, though.)
Okay, he could handle this. He’d been through worse. And when he got through with this, he would strangle Sam (as soon as he figured out how to strangle a hologram, anyway).
“I’m Al.” He couldn’t really say he’d been sent by God, Fate, Time, or Whatever. “I’ve been sent to take a look at your case, hear your side of what happened back in March.”
“You’re helping me attorney?” Scales asked.
“Uh, something like that. Now, you pled not guilty to the murder charges?”
“Well, of course I did. Don’t know what you’ve heard from that tossbag Fleming, but I’m not an idiot.”
“But there were witnesses that saw you shoot Chief Voyt?”
“Fleming’s men ’ppeared out of nowhere soon as I’d pulled the trigger, if that’s what you mean. Quite convenient, really.”
“Probably not from Marty’s point of view,” Al commented. “So what are you saying? Fleming was somehow in on this? He knew what you were planning?”
“Knew,” Scales scoffed. “The arse hired me and this,” he gestured to his orange jumpsuit and the prison in general, “is the thanks I get for doing me job.”
“Fleming wanted Marty to be killed,” Al paraphrased. Scales shrugged.
“Chess wanted to silence the man, aye.” Al’s head snapped up.
“Is Peter Fleming,” Scales revealed. “Truthfully, I was being hired to off the blackbird, you know, the one that calls himself the Cape, an’ the copper got in the way. Told my attorney the whole thing, but ’e said that’s not going to help my case any.
“No reason for Chess to stab me in the back ‘cause I got the hero’s friend ’stead, you ask me, since it was no loss to him,” Raoul continued. “If I ever get out of here, that no good bastard bloody better watch his back.”
“Let’s back up a bit. Why did Fleming want to silence Marty?” Al asked.
February 22, 2011
Sam woke to the sound of Orwell sobbing. Concerned, he climbed off of her couch and followed the sound to the blogger’s room. The morning news was playing across the screen in front of the young woman who, for whatever reason, was distressed.
“Orwell? What’s wrong?” Sam asked. Surely there hadn’t been a side effect to the antitoxin he’d given her…
“Oh, Vince, it’s horrible! Chandler’s dead and Fa--, uh, Fleming’s about to purchase the property from the city. The whole point of looking for Chandler was to keep him from getting the docks and now it’s going to happen anyway,” she swiped at the tears leaking from her eyes. Vince didn’t need to see her falling apart. Her father had done so much to destroy his life, but Vince didn’t go crying to her. He screamed, he raged and he fought to bring down the villain.
Later, when Vince left for his hideout, she could indulge herself in a good cry.
“Did you say Chandler’s dead?” Sam asked. “But we left him alive. The cops were going to take him to prison.”
“They did take him to prison,” Orwell informed the hero. “Sometime during the night Chess broke in and,” she winced. The images they’d shown earlier were really inappropriate for a morning news program. The Lich had done something to piss her father off that much and she doubted that it was simply a matter of owning property he wanted for himself.
“Conrad was the last of the Chandlers. Now that he’s dead and the property belongs to the city, there’s nothing to keep Fleming from buying it,” she finished quietly.
Sam frowned. He wasn’t sure whether this turn of events was part of the original timeline, although he couldn’t fathom how he might have had anything to do with it or if it would affect his mission on this leap. Ziggy had said he was here to save Marty, not Chandler. The computer hadn’t even mentioned the sale of Palm City’s docks. Part of his mission or not, he hated to see Orwell so upset. He just didn’t know what to say.
“Uh, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad?” Sam ventured. That had apparently been the wrong thing to say. Orwell was now looking at him as if she thought he was high on the Lich’s toxin.
“Not so bad? Not so bad?! Chess has only gotten control of what gets imported into the city. Maybe he’ll take another shot at Portman and finally take over the prisons, too. ARE YOU COMPLETELY INSANE?”
It clicked for Sam.
“Peter Fleming is Chess.”
Orwell was now looking extremely worried about his sanity.
“Vince, are you feeling okay? Do they still have some antitoxin leftover?”
Sam fought back a grimace. Evidently his host had already known Fleming was Chess. Well, he supposed that made sense. Chess was the Cape’s arch nemesis… and had probably been the one to frame Faraday in the first place. It would’ve been good to have that information before he’d made Orwell suspicious. A thought struck him. Oh, god. Did the real Vince know Orwell’s secret identity, too? If they were such close confidants, he probably did, and here Sam kept calling her Orwell. Great; he had one more thing to worry about on this leap. He made a mental note to have Al ask Ziggy about Orwell’s real name when the observer came back from his trip.
Dana hurriedly turned off the morning news as she heard Trip getting up. Dear lord, what were they thinking showing those photos? Couldn’t they have at least waited for primetime?
“Good morning, mom.”
“Good morning, Trip. Did you sleep well?”
“Mom, you were supposed to tell me what happened with the Cape after I went to bed. So; what happened?”
“He had me call Marty and set up a meeting between them.”
“Oh. You didn’t go?” Dana shook her head. “Do you know what happened? Did he stop the kidnapper?” Dana’s eyes strayed to the television set.
“Oh, the kidnapper was stopped alright.” She didn’t think that was the Cape’s handiwork, though. The man she’d met last night couldn’t have been capable of such brutality. Even Fleming’s reporters had conceded that the murder looked remarkably similar to Chess’ M.O. and they still maintained that Chess was dead. She turned back to her son.
“Hey, weren’t you going to tell me what the Cape said when you were spying on him?”
“Sam!” Al called, as he stepped through the Imaging Chamber door. Sam glanced in the direction of the bathroom. He hadn’t been able to cheer up the blogger, but he had coaxed her into eating breakfast and she was now taking a shower. Hopefully she wouldn’t step out in time to hear him talking to his invisible friend.
“That was fast, Al. Did you learn anything?”
“And how. Brace yourself; this is one kick in the butt. Peter Fleming is--”
“Chess, I know.”
“Oh,” Al deflated. “How did you find out?”
“Orwell let it slip. I must’ve looked surprised because she looked at me like I’ve been living in a cave. Did you find out anything else? You did talk to Scales?”
“Yes, I talked to him. Scales says he was working for Fleming. And here’s where it gets really interesting: Chess supposedly ordered the hit on you, that is, on the Cape--”
“So Marty was in the wrong place at the wrong time?” Sam asked.
“You would think so, but Chess also wanted Marty out of the picture.”
“Ziggy did some digging. On March 4, a video recording proving that ARK is corrupt gets uploaded to Orwell’s blog. On March 5, Marty’s arrested and Fleming holds a press conference claiming that Marty was the bad apple in the company whereas he’s squeaky clean.” Al rolled his eyes. “So, if I had to guess I’d say you’re not only here to save Marty from being shot, but also to keep this nozzle from throwing him under the bus.”
“Marty gets arrested.” Sam remembered what Orwell had told him, about Chess killing Chandler in Owl Island Prison. “Is he killed while he’s in prison?”
“No, he’s not. Someone anonymously posted Marty’s bail. It was pretty obviously the slime ball trying to take a shot at him because you,” Al sighed, “that is, the Cape, had to whisk him away before he could get shot as he was leaving the building.”
“Okay, let’s figure this out. Now, I’m guessing it’s too late to keep Fleming from wanting the Cape dead…” Sam trailed off as he saw Orwell enter the living room. She’d gotten dressed, but her hair was still damp from the shower. He wondered how much she’d heard. She was looking at him oddly, again.
“Vince, I’m pretty sure Fleming’s wanted the Cape dead since you first showed up. Call it an occupational hazard of being a superhero. The good news is that he hasn’t sent any more Tarot assassins after you. From what I can tell, he broke off business with the society after that fiasco with the Chariot.” She approached him.
“Why were you speaking to yourself?” she asked.
“Uh, I suppose that looked a little crazy, but…”
“It’s okay, Vince. I don’t think you’re crazy,” she said. Sam didn’t believe her.
At least, you’re no crazier than I am, Jamie thought. The hallucinations were gone, but she still had Chess’ genes. Maybe the toxin had been an omen…
“Good, ‘cause I was just thinking aloud,” Sam explained. Orwell’s brow creased.
“Did you see pictures of Chandler’s body? Vince, that’s not going to happen to you. He’s not going to kill you.”
“He’s not? How can you be so sure? You were pretty confident that he wants… me dead.”
“He wants me dead, too,” Jamie said as casually as she could, as if the pain of her father having sent assassins after her wasn’t there. Well, he wanted half of her dead. And daddy wondered why he didn’t hear from her… Some criminal mastermind he was. “But none of his assassins have gotten to me and they’re not going to get you, either.”
“But he didn’t send an assassin after Chandler; he took him out personally.” Jamie shook her head.
“You’re right,” she said. “It must’ve been personal for him, I just can’t figure out why.” She settled herself in front of her computer. “Give me a little while, though, and I’ll figure it out.” She started pulling up screens and sorting through data, then abruptly blanched.
“Orwell? What is it?” Sam asked.
“Peter Fleming left a message for Orwell. He wants to meet with me,” she said slowly.
“Maybe it’s a trap to lure her out so the assassins can get her,” Al said.
“Do you think it’s a trap?” Sam asked Orwell. She looked at him, and then dropped her gaze. She was afraid to share the message with him, but didn’t see how she could keep it from him, either. She reread the e-mail.
“My Dearest Jamie,
“Sweetheart, I know it’s you. I called off the assassins as soon as I heard. I want to apologize to you for not figuring it out for myself and to give you a peace offering.
“But mostly I want to see you again and we need to talk. Give me a call. You can come to the tower or name your own terms, but you can’t keep avoiding me.
“Orwell?” Sam repeated. Was she listening to him? Slowly, she met his gaze.
“There’s something I need to tell you, Vince.”
The fic is alive!! Lol. Been having computer problems lately, which haven’t been resolved yet, but my computer cooperated long enough for me to finish this chapter, anyway.
Behold, Scales, as promised. :) What did you think of the chapter? Not exciting enough? Peter too sentimental? Too much subtext left for Vinwell shippers when Vince isn’t even in this chapter and I swear I don’t support that pairing?
Chapter title from Matthew West’s “Family Tree.”
Chapter 7: And It Goes Like This
Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it’s not mine.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
February 22, 2011
Palm City, Franklin
Jamie stared at the computer screen. She swore she could practically hear her father’s voice saying: “You are in so much trouble, young lady.”
“Orwell?” Sam tried to get her attention. “What is it you wanted to tell me?” She tore her eyes away from the screen and took a deep breath before beginning.
“Vince, you remember the night we met, when you asked me who I was and I told you that I was no one special?” she began. Of course, Sam didn’t have any recollection of this, but he nodded anyway. “I should’ve told you… You deserve to know the truth. My name is Jamie Fleming.”
“Fleming?” Sam repeated at the same time that Al’s eyes popped out of his head. “Meaning that you’re…”
“Meaning that Peter Fleming is my father,” she whispered.
“Huh. Didn’t see that coming,” Al observed.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” Sam asked, his tone neutral.
“Because you hate him, I mean, rightly so after everything he’s done. I hate him, too, but I didn’t want you to look at me and see his daughter. Vince, you know me. I’m not like him!”
“Jamie, it’s okay. I didn’t say that you were,” Sam assured her. “I’d have to be a complete idiot to not see that you’re your own person.” Finally, he’d elicited a smile from her; it wasn’t a large one, but it was there nonetheless. “Now, about that message from your father…”
She showed him the e-mail.
“He must’ve seen the footage of us on the ARK security cameras before I erased it,” she assumed. “So now he knows who I am. What am I going to do, Vince? I don’t want to see him. I haven’t spoken to him in years. I can’t…” she trailed off.
“I get it,” Sam told her. “You couldn’t deal with him, daughter to father anymore. So you created this alias, this other identity you could use to get his attention, to make him listen to what you had to say and see you as an adult, an equal. You’ve used the blog to call him out on his shortcomings, remind him that he’s strayed from the straight and narrow path, but to what end, ultimately?”
“What do you mean?” she frowned.
“Well, how do you see this playing out?” Sam glanced briefly in Al’s direction before continuing. “Suppose that you hit pay dirt and got evidence on video that ARK is up to no good. You’d upload that to your blog to expose your father to the public, right?”
“Of course I would! Why would I sit on that kind of evidence? I’m the only news source in this city that my father doesn’t control.”
“Okay, so hypothetically, you upload this incredibly damning video. What do you suppose would happen next?”
“It wouldn’t topple your father’s empire,” Sam interrupted her. “Don’t you see? Anything short of your father specifically caught in the act gives him enough leeway to use a scapegoat and deny any involvement in anything illicit. And what better scapegoat is there than his chief of police?”
“Marty,” Orwell murmured. “Shit. You’re right; that sounds like exactly the sort of thing he’d do. Mind you, it’s not like Marty’s completely innocent. He stood by and watched as you were framed. He’s been complacent--”
“He’s helped us,” Sam reminded her. “He helped me save you last night and took a risk in doing so.” Jamie nodded.
“Guess I haven’t given him enough credit,” she conceded, thinking of the blog entry where she’d accused Voyt of being her father’s puppet. “He came through for us when we needed him.” She met the hero’s eyes. “And you don’t think it was a fluke,” she stated.
“I think that if we play our cards right, Marty could be a real asset to us. He’s a good person deep down and he’s in a position to help us from within ARK--but he won’t be if Peter turns against him.”
“And dad would turn on him in a heartbeat if we pushed him into a corner.” The blogger ran a hand through her hair in frustration. “Okay. Let’s figure out our next move.”
Their next move turned out to be replying to Fleming’s message. Jamie agreed to meet him, but true to her habit as Orwell, she was cryptic. She didn’t want him to know when to expect her or that she wouldn’t be coming alone. Maybe it was a bit petty of her, but she was leaving him the home court advantage. Besides, she wasn’t ready to face him alone. She wanted to have her best friend’s moral support when she went and if her father knew he was coming, he’d have Vince shot within ten seconds of their arrival.
And she’d thought her father had had issues with her friends while she was growing up…
We’ve got company, Chess informed Peter. The billionaire was in his penthouse, about to retire for the evening. Someone had gotten past his security, again. And this time he didn’t have a poisoner lurking nearby. Well, it wasn’t as if Chess had a problem getting his hands dirty…
If anyone has a problem with it, it’s you. You should let me out more.
“Who’s there?” Peter called out. A figure stepped out of the shadows. His heart lurched when he recognized her features. “Jamie?”
“Dad,” she acknowledged, tilting her head towards him. Apparently he felt that was an inadequate greeting after all this time because he hurried forwards and enveloped her in a tight hug.
“My ballerina, it’s you! It’s been far too long.”
“Dad, I need to breathe.” He loosened his hold on her, but didn’t let go.
“I’ve missed you.”
“I thought you’d be too busy ruling the city to do that.”
“Must you spoil this reunion?”
“I don’t know. Dad, did you have to kill Chandler last night?”
“He kidnapped and poisoned you and you have to ask me that?” She pulled away from him and sighed.
“And the fact that his death enabled you to buy the docks never entered your mind?” She raised an eyebrow.
“As a matter of fact--”
Peter, there’s someone else here. Peter looked back into the shadows and tensed.
“Alright, show yourself,” he ordered. The Cape flipped on the light switch, illuminating the room.
“Hello, Peter,” Sam called.
“You!” Fleming reached into a drawer, pulled out a semiautomatic, and pointed it at his perceived enemy.
“DAD! Put the gun down, NOW!” Jamie commanded.
“Now!” she repeated. Peter lowered the gun slowly.
“What is he doing here?” he demanded, his eyes on the masked man.
“I asked him to come. Dad, he’s my friend.”
Don’t tell me you didn’t know Orwell was working with the Cape, Chess remarked. Peter continued to glare at the vigilante.
“I know you’re not going to be friends with him,” Jamie continued, “and I know you’ve already tried to have him killed, at least twice. That has to stop now.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“He’s my friend,” she repeated. “And he’s saved my life and yours. If there’s going to be the slightest chance of us reconciling sometime this century, you have to stop trying to have him assassinated.”
“Do you realize what you’re asking?”
“Deal with it,” Jamie replied, “or I will never speak to you again.” Fleming looked at his daughter for a long moment and then nodded.
“Very well; now, I have a little surprise for you.”
“That can’t be good,” Al said to Sam.
“Sounds a bit ominous,” Sam agreed.
“I’ll thank you to stay out of this, Cape,” Peter replied. He replaced the gun in one drawer and rummaged through another until he found the papers he was looking for. He presented the document to Jamie.
“What is this?” she asked, as she took it from him.
“It’s the deed to the property that the city received from Chandler’s estate. Normally, of course, the disposition of the property would have taken a bit longer, but I may have convinced a few officials that it isn’t wise to keep me waiting and, well… I had the title put in your name. The docks are yours.”
“But you’ve wanted to get control of them for… Wait, if you think you’re going to take over them while they’re in my name, you’d better think again. I saw your press conference earlier. You had the nerve to argue that Chandler’s murder showed that Patrick Portman was an incompetent Secretary of Prisons.”
“I saw an opportunity and I took it,” Peter shrugged. “But I’m not being disingenuous here. I figured you would object to your old man acquiring the property, so I’m giving it to you.”
“And I’m supposed to believe there are no strings attached?” Peter sighed.
“I just don’t want you to run from me again. I want to be a part of my daughter’s life. I didn’t think that was too much to ask. I love you, Jamie.”
“Oh, dad!” This time, Jamie initiated the embrace. Sam took that as his cue to leave and quietly exited the penthouse.
Did the Cape strike you as a little too quiet tonight, Peter? Chess asked.
On Sam’s way out, he ran into Marty in one of the building’s corridors. Marty considered making a show of reaching for his weapon, but didn’t bother.
“It was you, wasn’t it?” Sam asked. “She thought her father saw the security tapes before she got to them, but I don’t think he did. You recognized her and told Fleming her secret.”
“You suppose it’s too much to hope that he’ll want to be a better person for his daughter?” Marty asked. Sam glanced back the way he’d come.
“Maybe it’s not.” He lowered his voice. “You know we made a pretty good team last night.”
“What are you say--” Before Marty could finish the question, the hero had disappeared in a puff of smoke.
“You did it, Sam.” The leaper was standing on the roof of the Faraday’s apartment building. “Marty isn’t killed,” Al informed him, as he consulted the hand-link. “And he isn’t arrested or fired. He’s still the Chief of Police.”
“Probably still helping the Cape,” Sam interjected, smiling.
“Ziggy thinks so,” Al confirmed. “Orwell doesn’t post the video to the blog. And it looks like Fleming never hired Scales as a hit man, so the smuggler’s on the streets. Get ready to leap, Sam.”
“Hang on. Something tells me there’s still a bit of unfinished business here.”
Before long, a sleepy looking ten-year-old climbed up the fire escape.
“You came back,” Trip observed.
“Isn’t it past your bedtime, kiddo?” Sam asked.
“It certainly is,” a voice called. Dana Faraday had followed her son onto the roof. “Go back to bed, Trip.”
“You can say goodnight to the Cape and then go to bed!” Trip paused, came to a decision, and then hugged his hero goodnight before he could change his mind.
His footsteps receded and the two adults were left alone on the roof (with one hologram).
“I saw what happened to Chandler,” Dana began.
“I didn’t do that,” Sam assured her.
“I know,” Dana replied. “Is your friend…?”
“She’s safe. She’s going to be okay.”
“Good; that’s good. Look: I asked Trip to eavesdrop on you last night, while you were in the bathroom. And I asked him earlier about what he heard.” Sam froze. Al swore.
“What did he say?” Sam asked after he recovered his voice.
“All he would tell me was that you said his father is still alive. He told me you claimed to be a friend of Vince’s.” She twisted her hands. “It shouldn’t be possible. I saw Vince die; millions of us did. The explosion was on live television.”
“Our eyes can deceive us sometimes,” Sam replied.
“Just tell me the truth: Is Vince still alive?” Sam nodded.
“Yes. He’s alive and he still loves you and Trip and he is doing everything he can to get back to you.” Dana gasped and grabbed onto the vigilante, needing a shoulder to lean on. She didn’t see blue light engulfing the hero as he leapt.
April 15, 2007
Sam had leaped again. This time it was during the day. He was outside, on a city street. The time traveler heard someone talking to him and looked up.
“Could you slap me?” The dark-haired man was taller than Sam and wearing a leather jacket.
“What?” Sam asked, confused. He caught sight of his reflection in the sunglasses the speaker was wearing and bit his tongue to keep from cursing. He had leaped into a woman, again.
“Could you slap me? You see, I need a peak emotional surge, ’cause I got to jolt up the ant vomit a little, you see, so could you slap me?”
Sam shook his head. Was his host’s friend nuts?
“I’m not slapping you.”
“Alright,” Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden replied. Murphy left him no choice. The wizard/private investigator had to do something to boost the power of the tracking spell, after all. Without any warning, he wrapped his arms around Connie, leaned down and kissed her.
Sam’s body went lax and his eyes drifted closed. He was being kissed! As the man’s tongue began exploring his mouth, one thought formed in his brain.
Chapter title from Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.” Now, come on. How can you not comment after that ending? As you may have recognized, Sam leaped straight into “The Dresden Files” TV show. (Is it slash if Sam was Murphy?)
This fic is over, but I am still working on “Another Quixotic Crusade.” I’d like to say that I’m also still working on “The Cape of Kozmo,” but I can’t. That crossover will be on hiatus, pending comments.
Oh, and apparently I’m obliged to begin a fic that involves a Pence baby and yet manages to not be an mpreg. Doesn’t that sound like fun?