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THE BITTER TASTE OF A SENSE OF VENGEANCE

Chapter Text

3 YEARS AFTER THE EVENTS OF TEHRAN

 

The news was up in the air for quite sometimes. And now all the TV networks all around the world were spreading the confirmation: the most important person of the new Iran Majid Javadi has died broken by a pancreas cancer.

 

ISTANBUL

Carrie was looking at the images of the funeral in TV while she was getting ready for work.

She gave a look to her watch, she was getting late but she had to wait. She turned off the TV and went to the pink room near her one: a little girl with red curls was sleeping soundly in her bed.

She leaned down and gave her a caress and a kiss on the forehead.

A noise of keys and the door opened, called her on the hall; the Turkish woman was there.

Woman: Hello Mrs

Carrie: Hello Nadia; she is still sleeping. I gotta go. See you tonight.

 

Outside Quinn was waiting in the car.

Carrie: Hey

Peter: Hey. Do you have any idea why the big boss wants to see us in conference?

Carrie: mmmm…. Just a felling but I think our work here is done.

Peter: really??? Does this mean we go back to the States?

Carrie: maybe

Chapter Text

CIA HEADQUARTER PRESENT DAYS

(7 YEARS AFTER THE EVENTS OF TEHRAN)

 

Carrie was standing in the board room with her team.

Carrie: any other menaces? Tim, have you verified the last ones?

Tim: yes and nothing. Anyway we are controlling airports, stations, malls and stadiums in DC and the nearby cities

Carrie: what about the republic convention?

Time: we talked with Quinn and according to him everything is fine.

Carrie: ok but keep an eye on it. It’s the most important event and even if there is its security we are very involved, more than other agencies.

….

Carrie. Any news about Saul and his source?

Tim: no. sorry. Last time we spoke with Mr Berenson was 3 days ago, he told us his source warned him that national security was in danger but nothing more since then.

Carrie: it’s not enough, I need more information. Oh! what do we know about this source? What’s his name?

Tim: Lazarus Madame. we are working on it, but for now it seems like a ghost

 

REPUBLICAN CONVENTION CENTRE

 

Quinn and Dar Adal were talking.

Peter: Sir I’m worried, I don’t feel this place completely safe for you and Director Lockhart.

Dar Adal: Quinn please add men, we have to do this convention. It’s the focus of our career and nothing can ruin it. Is that clear?

Peter: yes Sir.

 

EVENING

 

Carrie parked the car in front a classic building. She crossed the street and before entering the door she looked around but didn’t notice a car proceeding slow with lights off. Someone in the dark was in fact looking at a window where Carrie was kissing Peter.

 

Carrie stood up from the bed and started dressing.

Peter: - where are you going?

Carrie: - I have to come home

Peter: - it’s only 11pm

Carrie: - she is waiting for me, she won’t sleep until I kiss her goodnight and tell her a bedtime story.

Peter: - Carrie… we can stay together and be a f..

Carrie: - Peter, please stop! I don’t want to talk about that anymore. I’m fine with how things are

Peter: - Whatever

He was heartbroken but she didn’t care. After Brody she never opened up completely in a relationship again, she had only a love in her life and was her daughter.

 

She entered the car and started the engine. She left her sexual encounter behind her.

The car in the dark followed her home where she was welcomed by her little girl.

Chapter Text

REPUBLICAN CONVENTION DAY

 

People were gathering at the convention centre. There were movements, noises and a lot of cars arriving or leaving. The moods were high, people were excited.

The two leading men arrived at 6 pm. Peter was in the backstage coordinating his team.

Carrie was at the CIA headquarter monitoring cameras and satellite’s images.

Lockhart and Dar-adal went on stage. People applauded and yelled their names.

Lockhart spoke first: - this is a big moment for the republican party and for the nation. I promise I will lead this country through an age of progress and peace. And for this reason, to keep a continuum with the work I have done in the CIA I want to put in charge one of my best men.

Don’t have biases because of his name: he is more American than me. Ladies and gentlemen welcome my successor as CIA director: Mr Dar-adal! –

People screamed and Dar-adal took his place on the stage next to Lockhart.

 

The big day had come to an end and Lockhart and Dar-adal were leaving form a lateral exit, where two cars were waiting for them.

Peter was beyond them.

Dar-adal : - See… it’s been a great day. Thanks Peter and good job!

Peter nodded: - thanks

 

They both went to their cars and Peter went inside the convention centre proud of himself.

30 seconds and all changed. Two explosions and he run outside. He looked in horror at the image in front of him and put his hands oh his head in desperation. The two cars were in wrecks.

People were running away crying, searching for families or friends.

He went to the first car, there was no sign of life. Dar-adal was inside the car when the bomb exploded. Near the second one instead there were two burn bodies but still breathing. One was Lockhart: his condition were very very bad, moreover he didn’t have a leg.

Peter was doing his best to stop the bleeding: - call 911, director Lockhart is still alive!

 

Meanwhile in the boardroom while Carrie was looking in another direction Tim’s eyes ware fixed on the monitors : - Oh Jesus!!!!

Carrie turned immediately. The screens showed the street, people running in panic and two wrecks were in the place of the two limo she had seen a couple of minutes before.

Carrie: - are those?

Tim: - I’m afraid so

Carrie: - shit! Call the president, we need to raise the level of alert

Tim: - yes Madame

Carrie: -I call Peter

 

A FEW HOURS LATER

Peter entered the room

Carrie: - Peter… how are you? I tried to reach you..

Peter: – I’m fine.. sorry I couldn’t pick up

Carrie: - how’s the situation?

Peter: - Dar-adal is dead, Lockhart in desperate condition. It’s just a question of hours.

Carrie: - fuck! How could it happen?

Peter: - I don’t know. Really. During the convention there was no sign, no alarm. Everything went as planned… have you called the president?

Carrie: - of course. We are at defcon 3!

Peter: - I don’t get it, Carrie

Carrie: - Hey. It was not your fault. You have done all you could to protect them. Now we have to find who did this mess. Ok?…ok?

Peter: - yeah

They were arguing when a well known face wearing the badge VISITOR entered the room. For some seconds there was only silence.

Carrie: - Saul what are you doing here?

Saul: - I thought you may need some help

Chapter Text

CARRIE'S HOUSE

Carrie: - It's been a week and we still don't have a clue. How can it be?

Saul: - There was no claim, we are grasping in the dark

Peter: - The president is unhappy

Carrie: - I know. You don't have to tell me

The phone rang in the middle of the night and Carrie picked up.

Carrie: - Yes.. oh… ok. Thanks

She looked at Saul and Quinn settled around her kitchen table

Carrie: - Lockhart is dead

They couldn't find words but the grieve atmosphere was broken by the little girl who was awaken by the rang of the phone.

Nicole: - Mummy?

Carrie: - Sweetie! What are you doing here?

Nicole: - I can't sleep

Carrie: - Oh! – and hugged her daughter – come with me (with Nicole)… sorry guys (addressed to Saul and Peter) can you excuse me?

Saul and Peter: - Of course!

And Carrie went upstairs hand in hand with her little girl saying her: - Let me guess: are you just nervous about tomorrow?

Nicole: - Maybe

Carrie: - You can stay home, you know?

Nicole: - No, I want to go.

Carrie: - Ok… do you want me to read you a story?

Nicole nodded: - Mummy… could you stay until I get asleep?

Carrie: - Sure sweetie! – she leaned and kissed her head smiling.

Meanwhile the two men were discussing.

Saul: - She is a good mum

Peter: - She is doing her best, she gets help from her family but is not easy. They love each other so much but Nicole reminds her of Brody all the time… and in everything.

Saul: - I see… I thought there could be something between you two

Peter: - No sorry! Just friends.

Saul: - I'm not judging you

Peter:- No problem. That's what she wants

Saul:– You know. If Brody wasn't dead I would say that he is beyond all this mess.

Peter: – Some kind of revenge, uh? He would have been capable of.

Carrie entered the room: - Hey what are you talking about? I heard his name

Peter: - Sorry

Carrie: - For what? It's been almost 7 years and I have his daughter. I think I can handle his name. So what? Saul?

Saul: - I was thinking.. what had these two people (Lockhart and Dar-adal ) in common?

Carrie: - A part from the last 7 years?

Saul: - Mmm...

Peter: - Lot of missions

Saul: - But which was their most important success?

Peter: – Teheran and Javadi!

Carrie: - Akbari's death

Saul: - Good point but Akbari's death involved also Brody.

Carrie: - I was shocked and I don't remember much…. Saul you know the truth: what happened in the hours immediately after his public hanging?

Saul: - Carrie..

Carrie: - Saul please. It's time to talk and I need to know.

Saul: - Fine. What do you want to know?

Carrie: - Did you try to have his body back?

Saul: - Of course. But it was weird.

Carrie: - What do you mean?

Saul: - I called Javadi but we were late. Brody's body wasn't left hanging in public view as usually happens for days. He was taken away after a few minutes and declared dead by a regime doctor. He was buried somewhere in the desert and we couldn't get it back. In a couple of hours there was no more sign of Brody.

Carrie: How come?

Saul: - Javadi never told me but I have a theory

Peter: – Shoot

Saul: - Javadi had to give the regime what they wanted and it was Brody's execution. But it had also to keep an eye on the public opinion. Foreign governments were looking at him, so he couldn't give them a wrong image: he couldn't appear too much cruel

Carrie was walking through the room listening in silence.

Carrie: - Why do you think all this stuff could be related to a night of 7 years ago?

Saul: - Because a lot of people involved in that mission are now dead and I don't just speak of Lockhart and Dar-adal

Carrie: - What?

Peter: - I don't get it...

Saul: - Well… two weeks ago I received an envelop but I have to be honest I didn't pay attention to it. Someone sent me some newspapers articles. One was dated 4 years ago and was about the death of Javadi, presumably by cancer. Another was about the death of president Sander in a car crash one year ago and the last one about Tourani

Peter: - Tourani?

Saul: - Don't remember him?

Carrie: - He was the leader of Brody's team in Iran, Brody saved his life during their first attack but he came back without a leg

Saul: - He was invested while crossing a street here in Washington 3 weeks ago. He died at the hospital and the driver has never been found… these are not coincidences!

Peter: - My God

Carrie: - And now we can add Lockhart and Dar-adal at the list.

Saul: - We are basically the only ones left alive.

Carrie: - Us and Scott Ryan? He was part of the mission too.

Peter: – He is still working in Istanbul

Carrie: - Call him! Tell him to come home. Here we can protect him better.

Peter: - Ok

Quinn left the room holding his phone. Carrie was fixing Saul.

Carrie: - Now tell me who gave you those information.

Saul: - Carrie, you know I have my source

Carrie: - Who was it? Was it Lazarus?

Saul: - Yes! Yes he was.. and now what?

Carrie: - I want to meet him, talk to him

Saul: - That's impossible. Carrie you have to understand that you can't meet Lazarus. He is a ghost, he is the one who reaches you. We don't really know how he looks like and if he is a real person. Believe me I tried very hard to catch information on him. We don't know his real name, his nationality, even his face. Every time he uses a different person to play him. What we only know is what he wants us to know.

Carrie: - But you trust him

Saul: – Completely

Carrie: - Saul I want a meeting. You have to find a way!

Chapter Text

WASHINGTON ZOO MORNING

Nicole was very exited, it was her first school trip and her first visit to the zoo. She loved animals but her mother never gave her permission to go anywhere without her. But this time she had fought a lot and at the end she couldn't say no.

She was visiting with her schoolmates the tigers' cages. The teacher moved but she was left behind still looking at the big felines. A man with a grey hood approached her.

Man: - Hello Miss, you know you shouldn't stay here alone.

She looked worried because she couldn't find her teacher anywhere

Man: - Are you looking for someone?

She was hesitant, she knew she hadn't to speak with stranger.

Man: - Hey. I can help you if you want.

Nicole: - Mummy says I shouldn't talk to stranger.

Man: - That's a very good advise but I am not a stranger, I worked with your mum.

Nicole: - Really?

Man: - Yes. Her name is Carrie.

Nicole: - It's true! - She said relieved

Man: - See, I'm not a liar. My name is Lazarus

Nicole: - Hi. I'm Nicole Mathison.

Man: - Nice to meet you Nicole.

The man gave her his hand and Nicole shacked it.

Man: - So.. what can I do for you?

Nicole: - I can't find my teacher

The man guided Nicole through the zoo near her teacher who had just found out that Nicole was missing. It was time to let Nicole go, but before doing it, Lazarus knelt down in front of her.

Lazarus: - Could you please leave a message to your mum?

Nicole nodded.

Lazarus: - Tell her: don't back down! The danger is not over. Ok?

Nicole: - Ok!

Lazarus: - You are a good girl! – Nicole smiled and the man smiled back. He left Nicole's hand and he run away. In the same moment the teacher reached for Nicole.

Teacher: - Nicole, Nicole where were you? Who was that man?

#########

CIA

Carrie was called from the frightened teacher, left work and took Nicole to the CIA.

The kid told her about Lazarus and now she was with Peter trying to do an identikit.

Peter: - Nicole, how does he look like?

Carrie: - Sweetie you don't have to be afraid. You can tell Peter.

Nicole: - He was white, he had a hood and a brown beard.

Peter: - Do you remember the colour of his eyes?

Nicole: - I think blue

Peter: - Does he have any accent?

Nicole shook her head: - No, he spoke American. He knew your name mummy and was very gentle to me. …mummy did I make something wrong?

Carrie: - No, no sweetheart

She hugged and kissed her daughter.

#########

A FEW HOURS LATER

Nicole was sleeping on the sofa in Carrie's office.

Peter: - What do you want to do? Is she safe here?

Carrie: - I don't really know. I think Lazarus didn't want to hurt her, he just wanted to contact me. But I'm terrified something bad could happen to her. He found her, they could find her too.

Peter: - Are we really in danger?

Carrie: - In any case I can't risk: I have to protect her, even if it will break my heart

Peter: - What are you saying?

Carrie: - Never mind…

Peter: - Ok then….. what about Lazarus?

Carrie: - I think Saul is right, we can trust him.

Peter: - So we have to keep our eyes open!

Carrie: - And we have to talk to Ryan Scott

Peter: – He will be here in two days

Carrie: - Let me know when he arrives, we have to be there

Peter: - Of course.

Peter went away and Carrie cuddled her daughter: first she adjusted the girl's blanket then she curled against her.

Chapter Text

JESSICA BRODY' S HOUSE - MORNING

Carrie knocked at the door, a woman she hadn't see in 7 years opened it.

Jessica: - Carrie…

Carrie: - Hi Jessica

The two women sat on the sofa.

Carrie: - How are you?

Jessica: - Not so bad. Chris is in collage and Dana is working at the reception of an hotel in Washington. She went to night school and now she is happy. She even has a boyfriend. A nice boy!

Carrie: - Good! I'm happy. What about you?

Jessica: - I'm ok. I still see Mike but we never married. He is in a mission at this moment. You know I should move on and leave this house. it is too big and too empty now that the children are away. But the truth is that I don't find the courage.

Carrie: - Why don't you do it?

Jessica: - I don't know, it's like I can't leave the past behind. There are also a lot of beautiful memories here, not only bad. There was a time Brody was amazing as husband and father. Why am I saying this stuff to you? … sorry I didn't want to annoy you.

Carrie: - No no please don't apologize. I'm sorry too. I didn't want to ruin your marriage, I… hadn't plan to fall in love with him

Jessica: - Carrie… my marriage was over long before you. It's not your fault. We worked on it for the children but.. we were not the same anymore. He loved you. Do you know that?

Carrie nodded: - I never said it to him but I loved him too.

Jessica: - But… you are not here to talk about Brody

Carrie: - No

Jessica: - Why are you here Carrie?

Carrie: - I need a very big favour.

Jessica: - Go on

Carrie: - My life is in danger and I have to protect the only thing I can't live without. -… A pause …. - It's my daughter

Jessica: - Carrie…

Carrie didn't leave Jessica time to speak: - Could you please keep her?

Jessica: - Keep her? Where? here?

Carrie: - They won't come here

Jessica: - I don't get it…why me?

Carrie couldn't find the right words and for some seconds she looked down.

Jessica: - Oh…..God… she is his? Isn't she?

Carrie nodded: - Please Jessica. I need help.

The two women looked deeply in each other eyes in silence.

For quite sometimes they had shared the same man and now they just found out they had something more in common, their children: Brody's biggest gift.

Jessica: - Ok. I will do it

Carrie never felt at ease showing her emotion to others but she was so grateful to Jessica that she hugged her warmly: - thank you thank you very much

#########

JESSICA BRODY' S HOUSE – AFTERNOON

In order not to be followed or recognized Carrie rented a car under a false identity. She parked on the street and now she and Nicole were speaking still inside the vehicle. Jessica was waiting in the yard.

Nicole: - Why can't I stay with grandpa or Maggie?

Carrie: - It's for your own safety, honey

Nicole: - I don't know this woman

Carrie: - She is a friend, she is very kind and above all she knew your daddy

Nicole: - Of course, she was his wife

Carrie: - True…I don't want to lie to you Nicole, you have to be strong. It's only for a few days!

Nicole: - Can I call you?

Carrie: - No, sorry. But I will!

Nicole's eyes were wet, Carrie lift her chin: - I promise you!…. Now stay here for a second..

Carrie stepped outside the car and joined Jessica.

Carrie: - She is a little bit nervous

Jessica: - I imagine. Does she know about us and Brody?

Carrie: - Everything. Talk to her about him, she is eager to know but I don't have much to tell her.

Jessica: - Ok.

Carrie: - Don't worry, she is a good girl.

Jessica looked towards the car: - I think Chris will be happy to have a little sister

They approached the car and Nicole came out.

The first thing Jessica noted was that in some ways Nicole reminded her of Dana.

Jessica: - Hello

Nicole: - Hi. I'm Nicole

Jessica: - Nice to meet you. My name is Jessica

Nicole: - I know

Jessica: - Hey…. we will be fine. You'll see. In two days your big brother will be home and I'm sure he will play with you all the time.

Nicole nodded but her eyes were locked on Carrie.

Carrie: - I have to go

She leaned and kissed Nicole: - I love you sweetie!

Nicole: - I Love you too mummy! – and she hold Carrie tight.

After some minutes Carrie broke the embrace and stepped inside the car. Nicole was crying but Jessica held her hand. Carrie started the engine and tearful left her little girl behind.

Chapter Text

DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Ryan Scott has just landed in Washington DC after 7 years in Turkey, he didn't understand the reason he had to come back so urgently. They said it was a question of safety.

When he entered the airport Carrie and Quinn were waiting for him.

Carrie welcomed him: - Ryan !

Ryan: - Hello Carrie, Hello Peter. What the fuck is happening?

Carrie: - Let's just say we are thinking about a conspiracy related to Akbari's death

Ryan: - Are you joking me? After 7 years?

Carrie: - I know it could sound strange but Lockhart and Dar-adal are dead and for what we know now it seems possible

Peter: - We are also in danger. We were part of the plan

Ryan: - If you say so - replyed skeptical - …where do we go now?

Carrie: - Headquarter. We will be safe there and we will study what to do. Saul is waiting for us.

Ryan: - Saul Berenson?

Carrie: - He is helping us

###########

CIA MAIN ENTRANCE

They had just parked and they were crossing the little square in front of the main entrance of the CIA headquarter. They were together, Ryan just a few inches beyond. And in a second everything changed again. A shot and Carrie was cover with blood and found herself on the ground. The lifeless body of Ryan in front of her. She searched for Peter: he was alive staring at her, pointing to a tall building a few blocks distant. She nodded but they stayed put while people run away screaming and the echoes of sirens became more and more clear and near.

FBI, CIA, Police they were all gathered at the CIA entrance investigating the assassination of Ryan Scott. Carrie and Peter were near an ambulance for some controls. Saul was with them while other agents were interrogating them. The doctor stated they were fine. Peter joined his team while Carrie confronted Saul. But she was upset and then she left. She went to her parking lot, a black truck without windows passed her, suddenly a sliding door opened and someone pulled her inside.

A middle east woman put a napkin on her mouth preventing her from screaming: - Don't scream! Don't worry! We won't hurt you. Someone wants to see you!

Carrie nodded and then the woman covered her head with an hood.

Chapter Text

40 minutes of silence then the truck stopped. They helped her entering a building. They guided her inside an empty room. They took off the hood and locked her inside.

10 more minutes of wait and then the door opened and a ghost from her past entered the room.

He took a few hesitant steps toward her, a tentative smile on his lips: - Hi Carrie!

She was speechless and paralysed. She looked at him right in the eyes and then she moved toward him, she ran to him and hit him on the chest with all her strength.

Carrie: - You bastard, you big son of a bitch!

Brody: - Hey, hey! – He embraced her – Calm down!

Carrie: - You are alive!?

Brody whispered in her hears: - I will tell you everything.

###########

Five minutes and she was herself again, she had calmed down at least a little bit in order to face him.

Carrie: - Why!?...

Brody: - It was Javadi's plan to fake my death. He thought I could be helpful for him at some point. I was in my cell, I was ready. I had just talked to you when he came to me and he gave me this second chance. In truth I didn't believe him.

Carrie: - How was that pos…?

Brody: - He gave me a pill that I found out later would slow down the heartbeat and all the vital functions. – He shrugged. – I took it. I didn't have much to lose at that point. I was in a sort of trance during the execution. I remember being in the air, people screaming. I saw your face. I thought it was a dream or best… a nightmare and then all became black. I woke up three days later, Caja, the woman you met today was taking care of me. – He showed her the scar on his neck unfolding his scarf.

Brody: - Everything was real Carrie, I am real.

Carrie: - Have you ever thought about me? About what I felt, the pain, the sense of guilt?

Brody: - Carrie, please.

Carrie: - What?

Brody: - I couldn't. It was not my idea.

Carrie: - Why didn't you try to contact me?

Brody turned in order not to face Carrie: - Carrie, your life is better without me. Why would I?

Carrie: - Because I was expecting your child, because I thought to have failed, because everything I remembered of you was basically your death.

Brody: - I asked you not to come

Carrie: - Oh.. Please. You know I had to be there.

Brody: - I... You can't understand, I told you, I'm rotten, I couldn't give you and the baby the life you deserve. It was the most difficult decision I ever made but it was for good. It was for you!

Carrie: - It was not your decision…by the way you have a daughter. Her name is Nicole

Brody: - I know and I'm really flattered

Carrie: - I don't understand. Do you?

Brody interrupted her: - Always. She is always on my mind. That's the reason why I brought Nadia to you when you were in Istanbul.

Carrie: - You what? How do you dare?

Brody: - Oh come on. I had to be sure you two were ok… And then …last day at the zoo when I saw her… I couldn't resist. I had to meet her.

Carrie: - Are you insane? What if she recognized you?

Brody: - I was careful. It was the best day of my last seven years. You did a great job.

Carrie: - Bullshit!

Brody: - Carrie please! We have no time! Where is she now? Is she safe?

Carrie: Oh, don't play the loving father now!

Brody took her by an arm: - Is she safe?

Carrie: - Yes, yes of course.

A moment of silence.

Carrie: - Have you seen also Dana and Chris?

Brody looked at her and nodded: - From distance. –

Carrie: - Brody why am I hear?

Brody: - You wanted to meet Lazarus and here I am.

Carrie: - You? Oh yes! … The man who came back from death and…

Brody: - Jessica's last name.

Carrie: - Of course.

Brody: - Javadi in some ways let me free to act as I wanted but I had to remain hidden. I chose a new name and I started to sell information. I'm good in that. I was the right man in the right place at the right time. I gained trust and confidence and three years ago I started working with Saul.

Carrie: - So now we work together?

Brody: - I guess so

Carrie: - Ok. Then! What do you know? Who's after all these murders?

Brody: - It's bad Carrie. Really bad!

Carrie: - Who? Tell me!

Brody: - His name is Ari, Ari Akbari.

Carrie: - Akbari?

Brody: - The eldest of his sons. At the time of the murder he was 13, now he's a 20 years old cruel man. They want revenge.

Carrie: - They?

Brody: - His mother is also behind. Everything started with her. She poisoned Javadi.

Carrie: - He died by cancer.

Brody: - That's what the press said but he was poisoned, I have evidence. And now this boy is trying to kill everyone who took part in his father's murder. Believe me, you are in a great danger, he won't stop!

Carrie: - Where is he now?

Brody: - I followed him in the Us.

Carrie: - What can you tell me about his mother?

Brody: - Not much. She died last year

Carrie: - Any other members of his family involved?

Brody: - No, not that I know.

Carrie: - Are you sure?

Brody: – Yes but I heard he has hired someone to do the job.

Carrie: - I have to go. – she said abruptly.

Brody: - Ok…What are you gonna do?

Carrie: - I have to talk with Saul.

###########

He leaded her to the truck, it was time for goodbye.

Brody: - It was good to see you.

Carrie: - I…I don't know what to say. I'm just angry now.

Brody: - I get it. – He kissed her on the cheek – I will watch over you. –

And then Caja put the hood on her and helped her get inside on the truck. The door closed and Brody watched them go away.

Chapter Text

And then Caja put the hood on her and helped her get inside on the truck. The door closed and Brody watched them go away.

The car stopped and Caja pull off the hood from Carrie. They were in front of her house and her car was there too.

Carrie: - My car? It was at the CIA.

Caja: - We brought it here. All this time at the CIA it would arouse suspicions.

Carrie nodded.

Caja: - Goodbye.

Carrie: - Hey do you know who is he?

Caja: - We have no past, we live in the present. – And then she started the engine. – Oh just to inform you: we are here because of you. He has still feelings for you.

###############

Carrie drove to the CIA. She was eager to share part of the news she had found out with someone, but the true identity of Lazarus had to remain secret. She couldn't reveal to anyone that Brody was still alive. She entered her office in rush.

Peter: - Where have you been?

Carrie: - I saw Lazarus.

Saul: - You what?

Carrie: - Or at least he told me to be Lazarus.

Peter: - How does he look alike?

Carrie: - Male, white, middle-age, blue eyes, blond short hair, no beard, speaks American fluently.

Peter: - That's not Nicole's description.

Carrie: - I told you, I'm not sure he was the real one.

Saul: - Where did it happen?

Carrie: - I don't know, I couldn't see. His men took me and brought me in a building outside the city.

Peter: - Did they hurt you?

Carrie: - No, absolutely not.

Saul: - What did he tell you?

Carrie: - The name of the man we are looking for. Our terrorist is Ari Akbari, the eldest son of Akbari, foamed by his mother.

Peter: - He's just a teenager.

Saul: - He's an angry Iranian young man!

Carrie: - And…he wants revenge for his father.

Saul: - Could we really trust Lazarus?

Carrie: - Yes, I think so.

Saul: - So now that we know who is our enemy we have to find a way to stop him.

###############

SOME HOURS LATER – DAY AFTER THE MEETING WITH LAZARUS

Peter: - We have put every public places, every airports and train stations under surveillance. If he shows his face around we will find him.

Carrie: - What about security cameras throughout the city?

Peter: - Copy that! – He went away to the team.

Saul: - Have you talked with the president?

Carrie was upset, her mind lost on something else, on the man she once loved. It was a long time she didn't feel this way.

Saul: - Carrie? Carrie are you here?

She regained herself: - Yes.

Saul: - The president…

Carrie: - Oh yeah, I've talked to him and for now I am the leading woman.

Peter arrived at the news: - Director? You?

Carrie: - It's just temporary, but yes.

Peter: - Oh great!

Saul: - I'm so proud.

Peter: - We have to celebrate.

Carrie: - No, no, no please don't.

Peter: - But…

Carrie: - We have work to do, we have to face our biggest menace since Langley.

Peter nodded: - Fine. -

Carrie was nervous, she needed a break to calm down. Too many things at stage in so a short time.

Carrie: - I have to go out

Peter: - Are you ok?

Carrie: - I just need fresh air.

When she was out, she pulled out her cell phone and dialled the number. The line was secure and she needed to hear Nicole's voice. At the phone she sounded happy, she was funny. She asked questions. She was also complaining: she wanted to come home with her, see her school friends, stay with grandpa and Maggie, play with Josie and Ruby.

Carrie was listening to her daughter but her mind was wondering. Nicole was her perfect thing, she had the best parts of her and Brody. She was so much like him. That thing hurt her but at the same time made her love more. And now he was in town alive and she started again to imagine another life.

How could she be so distracted in a moment like that, so crucial for the country. It was the highest point of her career and all she could think about was Brody. Again after all this time it seemed nothing had changed!

She was reassuring Nicole, she promised her that everything would be ok very soon. She gave her a virtual kiss and she received one back.

She thought to be ready to lead her men so she returned inside the operation room.

Chapter Text

MORE HOURS LATER – NIGHT

Saul: - Carrie. Are you ok? After your meeting with Lazarus you look strange… is there something else you want to talk about?

Carrie: - No I'm fine, just tired.

Saul: - Why don't you go home? We are staying here

Peter: – Yes go! Everything is under control

Carrie: - No, I can't.

Saul: - You need to rest, maybe take a shower..

Peter: – And you need to see Nicole

Carrie: – She is safe where she is. I can't put her in danger and besides I just called her. She is doing great!

Saul insisted: - Go home Carrie. We need you at your best. You are so important but you have to stay strong! .. don't worry if anything happens we will call you

Carrie: – I don't know what to say.

Saul: – I take it as a yes

Peter: – I'll carry you

#################

30 minutes later Carrie and Peter were inside her car in front of her house. Another car with two more agents was parked behind them.

Peter: - Hey.. what's the matter?

Carrie: - Sorry, I don't get it

Peter: - I know something is bothering you. So what is it?

Carrie: - Nothing, I just miss Nicole

Peter: – Do you want some company?

Carrie: - No no, I just need to stay alone… and focused

She stepped out and headed to the door. Peter followed her and took her by an arm.

Carrie: - Peter please. Leave me alone – she looked at him straight in the eyes pleading him.

Peter let her go: - I'll leave Sean and Mike outside

Carrie: - No, I don't want them. I can protect myself!

Peter nodded; she was so stubborn at times but he knew he could do nothing to make her change her mind: - As you want!

He went to the other car but before entering he turned: - See you tomorrow!

Carrie waved him and observed the car disappear at the end of the street. Thus she entered home. She turned on the lights. She looked at a picture of her and Nicole. Everything was so familiar and warm but also so empty without her. She had to stop this flow of thoughts! People around her were noticing. She had absolutely to find a new balance in her.

She had headache, she was surprise that after two days, truly after two weeks, like these she was still standing on her feet without medicines. She definitely needed a bath. She went to her bedroom but when she turned on the light she remained petrified.

Brody was sitting on her bed: - I was waiting for you!-

Chapter Text

Everything happened so fast. She didn't know why but she needed him more than everything now. He was her addiction, as he has always been. She found herself pressed against him. His hands all over her body. His lips fighting with hers. 7 years, almost 8. Intensity, passion exploded like the first time.

After they remained still, intertwined in each other, exhausted but alive.

Carrie: - We shouldn't have done it

Brody: - Why? It wasn't so bad

Carrie chuckled: - No, but it was wrong.

Brody: - Because of Peter? I saw you at his home

Carrie: - Were you following me?

Brody: - Don't change subject and I was just protecting my business.

Carrie: - Oh come on! Are you serious?

He said nothing but supported her gaze

Carrie: - We are just friends

Brody: - Friends? I've told you, I saw you.

Carrie: - Don't be jealous. You don't have the right.

She got up and left Brody alone in the bed while naked she entered the bathroom. He followed her.

Brody: - I'm not - he caressed her shoulder – I don't blame you, 7 years are a long time. –

Carrie turned and faced him: - I don't love him! I don't belong to him! - she whispered softly and he responded kissing her passionately. They were really made to complete each other.

#################

The morning came. He was awake and looking at her asleep. She opened her eyes, he smiled at her.

Carrie: - What time is it?

Brody: - It's early

Carrie: - And now?

Brody: - I think we have to come back to reality and take our paths

Carrie: - Right…

Brody: - Carrie I have to be honest, I won't stay forever! Neither for you or Nicole. When everything will be over I will disappear. It's not safe for me nor for you.

Carrie: - I know….

She dressed up and in some minutes was ready to leave. Brody walked with her in the hall.

Carrie: - I go first. Stay here at least for 45 minutes then go where you have to go. Be careful! I don't want anyone to see you

Brody: - Ok. Don't worry

She turned: - Will I see you again?

Brody took her hand and brought it to his lips: - If you want – he kissed her fingers and let the number of a prepaid phone slip through them – Just in case! -

Chapter Text

3 DAYS AFTER

It was 3 days since her last meeting with Brody. At work nothing significant had happened, so her mind was wondering about him, about what he told her and above all about Nicole. She had to gain confidence, her men needed her in all her strength and intelligence. She was going to work when her cell phone rang. It was Peter.

Peter: - We have him!

Carrie: - Really? Where is he?

Peter: - At Dulles

Carrie: - In arrest?

Peter: - No, he is in a bar waiting for a plane. We are keeping an eye on him.

Carrie: - Are you there?

Peter: - Outside in a truck monitoring the cameras

Carrie: - Pay attention, I want him!

Peter: - Don't worry! Hurry up!

Carrie: - I'm on my way. See you there soon!

She parked her car but she was so overwrought that she didn't control the perimeter. She wanted to join her team as fast as she could. She was so anxious to put an end on this story and close this little bastard in jail that her guard was a little bit down and she didn't realize of the man behind her until it was too late.

############

Ari was moving, and Peter could risk to lose him, so he surrounded and arrested him. He was escorting him to a back door exit while his gaze caught Carrie. She had a knife at her throat. The terrorist and Carrie went straight in his direction, all the team was in alert and Peter exhorted them to put the weapons down. A simple exchange: Carrie for Ari, but Peter wasn't trained for that.

Peter: - Carrie are you ok?

Carrie: - Don't do it Peter! Shoot him and throw that boy in prison.

Terrorist: - Do that and I will kill her!

Carrie: - Peter...

Peter: – Sorry Carrie, I can't! – and he released Ari.

The next 4 seconds seemed to last as an eternity. Ari moved his feet toward the man who pressed the knife against Carrie's skin. Carrie heard a first whistle and her skin was free, then a second one and Ari fall down. People were screaming and running away. Peter was pale, still standing 10 feet in front of her and yelling.

Peter: - Down. Everybody down! A sniper!

Carrie couldn't react; she was alive, she didn't believe it but she was.

Peter reached her: - Are you ok?

Carrie nodded and then Peter went to check the pulse of the terrorist.

Peter: - He is dead. You are very lucky Carrie, someone has just saved your life!

Carrie was silent.

Peter: - Carrie… Carrie?

Carrie finally nodded again, she knew she had to thank her guardian angel for that.

Two of her men had joined them and they were checking Ari.

Men: - Madame! He is still alive!

Peter: - What?

Men: - He is still breathing

Carrie: – Call 911! We can't lose him. He could have information

Brody must had followed her and hidden somewhere in the airport trying to find a solution to protect her. She knew he was a tremendous sniper. He had killed the terrorist but kept alive Ari, why? Maybe this story hadn't just come to an end, maybe there was something left. She had to interrogate the boy as soon as it possible. She was the fiery determined Carrie again!

############

Carrie was near the ambulance where paramedics were trying to stabilize Ari. One of them exited.

Carrie: - Can I talk to him?

Doc: - He is still critical

Carrie: - I don't care. He could have information of national security. Can he speak?

Doc: - Yes. But only a minute!

Carrie entered the ambulance, Ari seemed asleep. Carrie had never used torture in her life but this time she was ready for everything.

Carrie: - Everybody out! – even if in disagree they obeyed and let her alone with Ari. She locked the door and hit the boy's leg: - Hey. Hey!

The boy woke up, looked at her and a sort of smile appeared on his face.

Carrie: - What?

He said nothing and closed his eyes.

Carrie: - Hey, you son of a bitch! – and she put a finger on his wound.

The boy screamed; from the outside Peter was calling her pleading to stop but she didn't back down.

Carrie: – So now... do I have your attention? - Ari nodded, – Tell me what you know!

Ari began to speak but what he told her before fainting was not what she expected.

Ari: - Everything is in motion and won't stop. You all are going to experience the meaning of hurt and loss.

Carrie hurried outside, Peter run with her.

Peter: - Carrie what happened there? Carrie stop, tell me what had just happened?

Carrie: - Where is Saul?

Peter: - He went home. Mira called him.

Carrie: - Shit!

She pick up her phone and she spoke to Saul's answering machine. She hang up.

Peter: - I don't understand

Carrie: - He said they will target the persons we love the most

Peter: – Fuck! Go and check Nicole. I look after Saul

Carrie: – No, I have to reach him and see if he is fine. For the moment Nicole is safe. What about your son?

They arrived to her car, she started the engine and lowered the window.

Peter: - Don't worry. I don't know where he is; he and his mother had changed their names long ago. They won't find them! Move over! I come with you!

Carrie: - No! I need you at the headquarter! Call the police and send some men to his house. Oh and also to my father's and sister's!

Peter: - Copy that! Are you sure you don't want me with you?

Carrie: - I need you to do a report of what had just happened

Peter: - Ok

Chapter Text

While on route to Saul's house Carrie dialled the number, she had learn to know but never called.

Brody: - Hey.

Carrie: - Thank you

Brody: - I told you, I'm here to protect you

Carrie: - I know...

Brody: - Where are you?

Carrie: - I'm on my way to Saul's. I can't explain it but I have a bad feeling, he wasn't there and he didn't respond our calls.

Brody: - I hope you are wrong

Carrie: - And you?

Brody: - Still at the airport. There is al lot of police around

Carrie: - Can you do something for me?

Brody: - Sure

Carrie: - Can you look after Nicole? The terrorists have just menaced our dears. So..

Brody: - Where is she?

Carrie: - Jess's house

###########

Carrie arrived at Saul's house, his car was parked on the street, everything was too quiet. Her team was just on site. One of her men rushed from the door almost making her fall.

Agent: - Madame don't enter

Carrie: - What's inside?

Agent: - A bomb! we need a squad immediately

Carrie hurried inside the house. The living room was free, the first thing her eyes caught in the kitchen was the lifeless body of Mira, then she saw Saul tied to a chair. He had been beaten, he was crying and most of all he was wearing a bomb vest. The timer counted 3 minutes. Carrie ran to him. There were two more agents working on him: one was trying to release him cutting the chain, the other to disarm the bomb.

Carrie: - Saul! I'm here

Saul: - Go away Carrie!

Carrie: - I stay with you. We will free you

Saul: - It's not possible. There is no time. Besides I'm just dead. He killed Mira in front of me. She was my life!

Carrie: - I know what it means to lose the love of your life. But life goes on! Believe me!

Saul: - No. It can't

Only 60 more seconds rested Saul: - Go away!

Carrie looked at him; this was a goodbye. She leaned and gave him a kiss on the forehead.

Carrie: - You were like a father to me! I love you!

Saul nodded and pleaded her: - Go away!

She obeyed. They all run away leaving Saul to his destiny.

They had just come to the street in front of the house when it exploded and they were thrown to the ground.

###########

Again police, journalists and ambulances were at the crime scene. Carrie and her agents had been medicated. Peter was there coordinating the investigation and the zone was now secure.

Peter: - You ok?

Carrie: - I'm fine. It's just…- and she melt down in front of Peter. He embraced her and tried to console her.

Peter: - It's ok, it's ok. Let it go! I know what he meant to you.

And Carrie finally cried.

Chapter Text

In the courtyard outside Jessica's House, Nicole was playing with Chris while Jess was watching over them. Brody was spying them from his car, hearing the news at the radio. Chris was wonderful with his half-sister, Brody was so proud of him. What can he say about Jess? She was amazing, he didn't love her anymore but she kept a special place in his heart. He had no doubt they would have understood the situation and helped Carrie.

And then there was Nicole, his and Carrie's creation, a wonderful little girl. He was overwhelmed by the love he had for her. He had always wanted to be a good father, she was his second chance but something bigger than him had stolen his future and taken Nicole away from him. Love, joy, memories and past regrets filled his body and soul.

He was upset and angry. He wanted his world back! Suddenly an idea started to form…

Carrie's phone rang, she looked at the screen and picked up immediately withdrawing from Peter.

Carrie: - Saul is dead

Brody: - I've heard….. I'm sorry

Carrie: - Nicole?

Brody: - She is fine

Carrie: - Good!

Brody: - Carrie… listen to me carefully. I know it's hard but you have to listen! I can offer you a chance.

Carrie: - It's not the right moment

Brody: - Enough Carrie! You have to stop. How much pain and sorrow will you be able to withstand before letting go with this life. Nicole deserves a lot more! I can offer you a new life together. We can be happy, you know…

Carrie looked around to be sure of being alone, her voice was trembling: - Brody…

Brody: - I' m begging you! Think about it. We have a couple of hours. If you accept, I've to enter my old house without being seen and take Nicole away this night.

Brody was right, the events of the last weeks had weakened Carrie's determination, and now she was hesitant.

Carrie: - What will happen next?

Brody: - We'll disappear. You have only to convince them that Nicole has been kidnapped by the same group of terrorist. No one will judge you or come after you when you'll leave the CIA for your own personal quest to find her!

Carrie: - I don't know..

Brody: - It can work Carrie. It's time to choose between work and family…

She was silent.

Brody: - When was the last time you were happy?

Carrie: - I can't be so selfish

Brody: - Really? After all you had been through? ….Carrie, please

A long silence, then she hang up.

Brody was still staring at his old house. He called Caja.

Brody: - Call the men. It's over! We go back home

Caja: - Ok Sir

Brody's voice had no hesitation or mercy: - Ah Caja. One more thing: Ari has to die!

Caja: - … And Peter Quinn?

Brody: - We'll see… for now let him go!

He waited 10 more minutes. He was going to start the engine when his cell phone rang: it was Carrie. His heartbeat accelerated.

Chapter Text

She was ready to leave, her flight was in 3 hours. She had just said goodbye to everyone. The CIA was again under the fire of public opinion because of its lack of action. Terrorist attacks, the deaths of Saul, Lockhart, Dar-adal and that of Ari at the hospital were seen as a defeat for the agency. Everything was even more complicated by Carrie's drama: the mysterious disappearance of her little daughter from a friend's house. In the last two months she had been under too much pressure, too much attention and too many interviews. No ransom had been asked, no idea if the girl was alive or where could she be now. Police was still searching for her but with less hope. Everyone thought Carrie had enough of all this, she needed a break or best a cut with this life.

A week ago against Peter's opinion she had resigned.

Peter: - But Carrie... how can you do it now?

Carrie: - I don't want to have anything to do with it anymore. I can't stand other losses. Sorry Peter! I hope you understand one day.

Then she had booked a flight for Dubai, a place with no connection to her but also a base of Al Quaida.

Now she was in her living room packing the last things, her father was there.

Frank Mathison: - Have you all?

Carrie: - Yes

Frank Mathison: - How long will you stay away?

Carrie: - I don't know. I can't stay here.. too many memories.

Frank Mathison: - Yeahh! It broke my heart too

Carrie: - I will keep you informed

Frank Mathison: - Ok

The cab had just arrived. Frank Mathison escorted Carrie to it.

Frank Mathison: - You re not mad Carrie, neither so desperate. I know you have something in mind...

Carrie: - Dad!... - but she was speechless, she couldn't find the right words

Frank Mathison: - You don't need to tell me. Just.. be careful!

She nodded and they kissed and tightened, then she got inside and the cab went away.

###########

Once in Dubai she stayed at the Sheraton hotel for a week preparing her escape.

She had a new identity and a rented car. Brody's indication were very clear: stay put for one week then drive west for two hours. At one point she would have met a burn car wreck, hidden there she would have found the coordinates of her new beginning.

As a mirage a mansion appeared in the middle of the desert. At the entrance two guards controlled her real passport and let her in. She parked the car in the courtyard. In the back there was a swimming pool and inside father and daughter were playing cheerfully. They saw her, they stopped and got out of the water running to her.

Nicole jumped in her arms, happy to see her mum after so long. They kissed along. Brody looked at them and smiled. Carrie took his hand and brought it to her cheek. He caressed her skin. Then they embraced each other. A family finally reunited.

THE END