The nicest place Fiona ever lived, a condo in Miami's financial district, Brickell, was also the place she hated the most.
She had no choice but to live in Brickell. She moved in with Michael a while back, and wherever he went, she had to go. At least until she found a way out.
There was a story behind Fiona and Michael living in Brickell. The CIA had caught up with and arrested Michael, Madeline and his friends. All were charged with aiding in the death of Tom Card and evading arrest from Olivia Riley prior to her dismissal from the agency, and all were jailed at a CIA compound. Not even Riley's involvement in the drug trade helped their cause.
Michael had accepted a deal for him to return to the CIA in order to keep his friends and himself from going to prison. His friends didn't advise him with the deal. They were all held in separate cells, and the CIA didn't allow Michael to talk to any of them before accepting the deal. Michael thought making the CIA deal was the right decision. Instead, he made a decision that saddened his friends and Madeline.
Michael and his team were leaving the compound when they found out about Michael's deal. Everyone was disappointed, but Fiona made her disappointment vocal.
"You couldn't find another way out of this deal?" She was livid.
"No, Fi. It was either take this position at the CIA or we all end up in prison for a long time. I'm sorry I broke our promise." (That promise being Michael would leave the CIA after everything was over, and that "everything" being the mystery of Nate's death and the debacle with Riley.)
"You're smarter than this, Michael. Are you sure you couldn't figure another way out?"
There was silence on the helicopter for minutes. It was broken up by Sam saying "Hey, who's ready to go back to Miami?"
Michael rented a condominium in Brickell a month after the deal was made. His new position at the CIA allowed him to rent the biggest place he could afford there.
Michael's new high-rise condo had four bedrooms—enough to allow Michael, his friends and Madeline to visit and have their own rooms—three bathrooms, and a view of Biscayne Bay. But the shame of the CIA deal still lingered in their minds, and Madeline and his friends didn't bother to visit Michael and Fiona in the condo at all.
Fiona opted to sleep in the guest bedroom furthest from his bedroom instead of sleeping with Michael. She was careful not to catch a glimpse at Michael whenever she could. She got up before he did, showered in the furthest bathroom from his and got breakfast on the go. She stayed out all day, avoiding Miami's CIA building whenever it was possible. She got back to the condo before he did. And she locked the door so she couldn't be bothered.
Sometimes Michael and Fiona saw each other at breakfast. This was one of those times. Fiona groaned as she heard his shoes hitting the floor of the condo.
"I want to go back home," Fiona said. She was looking out at Biscayne Bay from their kitchen while Michael was putting on his tie.
"But you are home."
"I meant the loft. You're not my home, Michael. Not anymore."
"You can't go back to the loft. It's been condemned, along with the club that was under it."
"Yeah, you thought about Oleg when you burned the place down, didn't you?"
"He can find another club to manage."
"He'll be lucky to turn a profit against the French and Russian mobsters all over South Beach."
Michael took a sharp inhale. "Where are you going to go?"
Fiona shook her head. "I don't know. Somewhere in Miami, I guess. I might be in danger if I decide to move anywhere else but in the city. Some of my rivals, wherever they are, want me dead, and MI6 wants me in an Irish prison. But I'm not living here. I'm already saving my money for my new place. At this rate, I'm hoping for someplace with cheap rents. Thirteen hundred a month sounds reasonable to me."
"You've done this before."
"I don't know if you've forgotten, Michael, but I was shot by Thomas O'Neill and exposed as working with an American spy before I could get anything on a plane. And if I did get on that plane, I don't know if I would've come back. I don't care if I can't get on a plane back to Ireland. This time I'm leaving. For good." Fiona focused her eyes on a Jet Ski bobbing across Biscayne Bay. "It's better if you go to work. I'm going to go to mine."
"Helping out a client in between bounty-hunting jobs. Something the old you would've done years ago. Except for the bounty-hunting. But you know what I mean. Now go."
Michael sighed, finished putting on his tie, and left for the Miami CIA building.
Despite all the things Michael learned over the years with his training with the Rangers and in the CIA, on and off the books, the Miami CIA bureau hired him to teach local CIA trainees how to speak Russian. The CIA wished he knew more of the local languages, like Haitian Creole and Spanish, but Russian was a useful language to local operatives. The CIA didn't need a master class in making improvised exploding devices and the many ways to use duct tape. Not in Miami, anyway.
On the outside, Michael seemed happy to tell the trainees the best way to say "Excuse me, can you tell me the time" in Russian. But he wanted to aid the team with their clients instead. Fiona, Sam and Jesse were competent enough without him, but if something went awry and he wasn't there, would they get caught by the police? Or hurt? Would they die?
Michael had to blink to fight off his worries about his team and to focus on the bland Russian lesson at hand.
He wrote Говорите, пожалуйста, медленнее on a dry erase board and pronounced it in Russian to the class. "This means 'could you speak slower.' I wouldn't use this phrase too often. It's fine if you're staying in a benign Russian bed and breakfast, but in the field, it could get you killed."
Andrew Strong came up to Michael in his office after his class.
"I got a job for you, Michael."
Michael blinked. "I thought my job was to teach Russian to the department."
"We can get someone to cover for you while you're out. Do you know Randall Burke?"
"I was assigned to track him years ago until Card put me on the Hannon mission."
Michael gulped. The mission to find Keith Hannon, a gun smuggler who was a threat to the CIA, was the mission that took him to Ireland. It was also the mission he met Fiona on.
"I've been trying to figure out his operation for years, and I haven't been able to crack it. I think you can crack him."
"He's going to know I'm still with the CIA."
"Not if you lie." Strong shrugged. "We'll pretend like you've been fired from the CIA and you fled from the United States. We'll even do the firing for you. It'll be like The Departed."
"What about my condo? I just bought it."
"We'll pay for it under an assumed name."
Michael exhaled a sigh of relief. "When do I leave?"
"Tomorrow. There is one catch."
"You can't tell anyone you're leaving to catch Burke. We have to make it look like you've betrayed the CIA. We'll pick you up at the parking lot at your condo, brief you at headquarters and then fly you out to Santiago. We even have an apartment for you to stay in."
"What should I bring?"
"Some street clothes and some toiletries. That's all. Everything else you should find a way to buy when you get to the apartment." Strong shook Michael's hand. "Good luck out there. We're counting on you."
Michael smiled as if he was excited about the mission, but inside he was miserable. He thought of his mother and the friends he'd be leaving behind. And he thought of Fiona.
After he left work, Michael called his mother. It was late in the evening. Fiona was at the condo, but, as usual, she stayed out of Michael's affairs.
"I'm leaving Miami tomorrow."
"You're leaving Miami? Why?"
"I can't tell anyone why I'm leaving. But it's business-related. I wanted to say goodbye."
"It may be a while before I get back to Miami. I might not come back at all."
"I can't tell you. I'm sorry, Ma."
"What about Fiona?"
"The condo's being paid for."
"Michael, you should talk to her."
"She's not going to listen to me. Tell her the condo's hers. She doesn't have to move out if she wants to. And if she does, tell her to call the CIA and mention my name. They'll understand."
Michael hung up.
The next day, Michael took a duffel bag with some clothes and toiletries and left the condo, well before Fiona awoke. A black government car picked Michael up in his parking garage.
Later the same day, Madeline called Fiona.
"Michael's going somewhere. He won't tell me where he's going and I don't think it involves him teaching Russian. I was thinking you know since you're still with him."
"I don't know where he's going, Madeline."
"How do you not know?"
"We live together, but we don't talk to each other. I make a conscious effort to avoid him whenever I can. I'm living here until I find a place of my own. And then I can get that apartment I was looking at a few years ago before I moved in with him."
"He called me late last night."
"Oh. I was in my bedroom. I sleep far away from him these days."
"He said he was leaving Miami today, it was business-related and he might not come back. He also wanted you to have the condo so you wouldn't have to move out. And he didn't sound happy that he was leaving."
"Well, what do you want me to do?"
"What do you mean 'what do you want me to do?' I want you to help me find out wherever he's going."
"I wouldn't know the first place to look."
"You're a bounty hunter."
"Whatever Michael told you last night is vague. I can't find him based off of that."
"You've worked with less. And don't you have Sam and Jesse to help back you up?"
"Jesse has a job in a couple of days, and Sam…I'm not sure what he's doing with Elsa, but he's doing something with Elsa."
"A few years back, you and Sam looked all over the city for Michael. You didn't find him."
"He resurfaced on his own."
"But that didn't stop you from looking for him. And he's rescued you a few times."
Fiona mumbled into the cell phone speaker.
"Listen, you and Michael may not be involved any more. I understand. You haven't forgiven him for the CIA deal. But even if you're not dating, he's still Sam's friend, Jesse's friend, my son and your friend. We should look for him."
"I hate the deal as much as you do. But it's the only thing keeping us from prison."
"As far as I'm concerned, the CIA's about to slaughter the only son I have left. I'd rather have him back than have him die alone in some foreign country."
"But I did promise that if I ever—"
"I don't care what you've said in the past. You're not letting my son get killed because of whatever deal he signed a while back."
Fiona sighed. "Oh, all right. You want me to get the boys to Carlito's while you figure out where Michael's gone."
"It's not like I haven't done this before."
"You've done this before?"
"With Tom Card, while he was alive. Of course he lied about my sons. I think this time I'll be more successful. But I'll have to pretend like Michael never called me and I'm freaking out over his disappearance after calling his numbers a few times."
"Good luck, Madeline."
"Okay, so I'm here with you and Sam at Carlito's. You bought us drinks, and we're sitting here waiting for Madeline to call us after she snoops around the CIA building."
"Yep." Fiona shrugged. "I bought you an ice tea instead of some fruity drink. Aren't you happy?"
"I'd be happier if I knew what was going on, Fi."
"Well, Jesse, it seems that Michael has gone missing."
"We know, Fi," Sam said. "It's his CIA job. We haven't seen him in weeks."
"His job at the CIA was teaching Russian to CIA graduates. He's not at the CIA today."
Sam froze. "He's been teaching Russian? Why didn't he tell us?"
"I'm guessing he was embarrassed. All those years in the field, and his deal to keep us out involved the most mundane thing he could do."
"All this time, I thought he was in a position of power there. Poor Mikey. He must've been bored out of his mind."
"Madeline called me. She said he told her he was leaving Miami, it was business-related, he might not come back, and I could have his condo."
"You live with Mikey and you never noticed this?"
"I was avoiding him. I told him I was planning to move out. I think he thought that if he took this job, I'd stop looking for a place on my own."
"Well, that's generous of him," Sam said.
Fiona looked at Sam. She sighed and drank out of her glass. "Yeah, it's nice of him, but I wouldn't have wanted it anyway. I'd still rather have my own place. With or without Michael. But I promised Madeline I'd get Michael back."
"Speak of the devil," Sam said.
Madeline walked up to Carlito's.
"I thought you were going to call, Maddie."
"I was, Sam, but I figured I could catch up to you three instead of phoning you from the CIA parking lot. Where's my chair?"
Jesse pulled a chair from another table and placed it at the table the three were sitting at.
"I talked to Andrew Strong. He's the guy who sent Michael on this mission. He told me Michael had tried to use his power to sell secrets to the GRU, whatever that is."
Sam laughed. "Mikey? Sell government secrets to Russians? Oh, that's a laugh."
"That's what I was thinking. Michael made it his mission to get back in the CIA after he was burned, and then all of a sudden he would betray his government after getting his job back a month later? I played along with it. Strong apologized for Michael not being able to tell me goodbye before he left. How touching.
"I ended up snooping around while Strong had to take some important call somewhere. It wasn't about Michael, so I didn't eavesdrop. I shuffled a few papers here and there, and I found out that Michael's headed to Moca in the Dominican Republic."
"Excuse me for interrupting, but isn't it odd that everything Mike does for the CIA now is in Central or South America? I mean, the guy can't speak Spanish well. I'm guessing whoever Mike's looking for in the Dominican Republic speaks fluent English."
"Hey, buddy, don't underestimate the CIA. They don't care whether you're fluent in any language. As long as you can get the job done, you're their go-to guy."
"I also found out that Michael's looking for some terrorist there—an American expatriate named Randall Burke. That's all I was able to find out before Strong came back and lied to me in my face."
"Don't take it personal, Maddie."
"Oh, I'm not. I know that was his job. The thing I'm more worried about is how you three are going to make it to Moca."
"You're staying here, Madeline?"
"I’m spying on the CIA, Jesse. I have to stay here. Even if it means I get arrested or they find me a bit suspicious."
Fiona looked at her cell phone. She pulled up a travel booking site app. "Getting to Moca should be easy. We pack our clothes, hop a plane to…Ciabo International, drive to Moca and do a stakeout. There's one teeny little problem."
"What's that, Fiona?"
"Your son owes me what I would've paid on my first month's rent in my new place because of this rescue."
"Why does Mikey owe you money when he's not going to owe us money for our tickets?"
Fiona shook her head. "Jesse can pay for his own ticket and you have a sugar mama. Why is that even a question?"
The next day, after they had packed and said their goodbyes to Madeline, Fiona, Sam and Jesse flew to Santiago de los Caballeros. They arrived there in the early afternoon. From the airport, the three took a concho and checked into a hotel.
"We're almost there," Jesse said as the three stepped into their hotel room. "You people have a plan other than to drive to Moca and look for Mike?"
"No," Fiona said. "We'll figure something out."
"And how are we going to Moca? We didn't rent a car at the airport."
"We'll rent something somewhere, of course. But Michael owes me for the hotel and the rental when we find him."
"Why are you telling us this, Fi?" Jesse said.
"It's true. He owes me money for this whole rescue situation."
"Sounds to me like you're not over Mikey, missy."
"No, Sam. I'm over Michael. My services require payment. I thought we all knew this by now."
"A long time ago, you told me Michael didn't have to pay for your services. I don't want to think about how he paid you."
"The payment was…it was good. But this isn't the past. This is the present. I want money, not favors. Besides, that's not the most important thing. How are we going to find Michael here if the only hint we have is 'he's in Moca?'"
A motorcycle passed by their hotel room.
"Of course. We’re renting three motorcycles. And we'll need three bandannas. No, wait, two." Fiona lifted up the scarf she was wearing around her neck with her thumbs.
Sam and Jesse looked at Fiona.
"I don't have time to teach you how to ride a bike, boys."
It was late afternoon when Fiona, Sam and Jesse drove into Licey on motorcycles. Sam and Jesse's faces were covered with bandannas. Fiona, the most fashionable of the three, had her scarf covering her face and her designer sunglasses on.
The three stopped at a colmado. Fiona pulled out a map of the island. Near them was a black SUV.
"I believe we are in Licey."
"Yeah, Fi, we're in Licey. You're lucky Jesse and I rode bicycles when we were younger or we would've crashed into a few trees."
"There are two ways we can get into Moca from here." Fiona started pointing at roads on the map. "Two of us can keep going east on Carretera Duarte to Moca. From there, we can split up at around...I think that's a prison."
"Uh, Fi, that prison might not be there. I saw on one of the local papers that it's going to be demolished. That might be an obstacle."
"Well, we'll have to be careful if we reach that prison there, Jesse."
"Is rescuing Mike more important than our safety, Fi? We want Mike to be safe too, and I don't have traveler's insurance for a hospital in the Dominican Republic."
Fiona hesitated. "Michael might be in more trouble than we are right now. He could be getting shock treatments. Maybe he's being waterboarded right now. Or someone's depriving him of sleep and giving him some sort of drug."
Sam and Jesse looked at her.
"It could happen. This is Michael we're talking about.
"Anyway, I need a volunteer to go south to Monte de la Jagua and go through south Moca. No matter what happens, we're going to meet in the parking lot at this hotel." Fiona pointed to a hotel in Moca on the map. "Well, I hope there's a parking lot. Kinda hard to tell on a map."
Sam and Jesse continued to look at Fiona.
"I guess we're going to draw straws. You're in luck. I always bring a knife with me, and this store might have straws."
Fiona went in the colmado and brought back three straws. She cut two of the straws with her switchblade knife to uneven lengths.
"Short straw goes to Monte de la Jagua."
Fiona ended up with the longest straw. Sam drew the middle straw, which left Jesse with the shortest straw. Fiona patted Jesse's back. "You'll be fine."
Jesse, Fiona and Sam left the colmado in Licey to head for Moca.
While Jesse was driving to Monte de la Jagua, a black SUV was following him. It passed him on the street. Jesse didn't notice the SUV passing him.
Then the SUV made a left turn, blocking the road to Monte de la Jagua.
Jesse stopped just in time to avoid hitting the SUV.
It was too late for Jesse to avoid the man walking in front of his motorcycle with a cloth. The man yanked off his handkerchief and put the cloth in his face. The cloth smelled sweet; it was soaked in chloroethane.
Jesse started to feel faint. Two men, also from the SUV, picked him off of the motorcycle and pushed him into the SUV.
The SUV backed up and continued driving south, through Monte de la Jagua and into Moca.
When that same SUV passed Fiona in a barrio on the west side of Moca, she had no idea Jesse was inside.
The SUV drove to Juan Lopez, a rural, mountainous area a few miles north of Moca. It pulled into a pink house along a dirt road.
Jesse was still being gassed with chloroethane rags. While one of the men covered his face with a rag, the other men walked them into the house.
The men tied his wrists and ankles together with a zip tie. He was placed against a wall in one of the rooms.
Jesse was still woozy from the chloroethane. He tried to make out faces and voices, but he couldn't get anything to register in his brain.
He thought one of the men in the room looked like Michael, but he wasn't sure. Then he passed out for the night, a combination of the chloroethane and the onset of sleep.
After Sam arrived at the Moca hotel, Fiona called Jesse's cell phone. She kept getting the The person you're calling is not at the phone right now. Please leave a message message.
"I've called him five times, Sam. Something's wrong."
"You think he got kidnapped?"
"I thought he'd be too tall to get kidnapped. And I thought all the kidnappings happened in Columbia these days."
Sam nodded. "Yeah, he's been kidnapped."
"It's getting darker. Let's ride back to the hotel. We've got to find Michael and Jesse now. Madeline's not going to be pleased."
Sam and Fiona had continental breakfast at their hotel the next day. They sat at their table in their room, eating eggs and toast.
"Are you still continuing this mission with those glasses and that scarf? It's 75 degrees outside."
Fiona finished chewing and swallowing her toast, glaring at Sam. "At least I don't wear Hawaiian shirts everywhere I go."
"Hey, lay off the shirts, sister. They're a trademark."
"Oh, I've got to call Madeline."
"About Mike and Jesse."
"Yeah." She sighed, pulled out her phone and called Madeline. "Here goes nothing."
Madeline picked up her phone.
"I was wondering if you had any new information on the CIA and Michael's mission."
"I've got nothing right now. I can go back, pretend to be senile and see if I can get any more information, but it might be tough. But I know that tone in your voice. You're hiding something."
"Uh…yeah. We're still looking for Michael."
"It's, uh…it's Sam and I that are looking for Michael. And Jesse. We're not sure what happened to Jesse, but my guess is he was kidnapped."
"Why are you telling me you lost both Michael and Jesse?"
"I thought you wanted to know before Sam and I started looking for them."
"Honey, I'm not going to be happy until you bring them both back. You're a smart girl. You'll figure out something. Goodbye, Fiona."
Fiona sighed. "All I have is to drive around Moca until we can figure out where there might be a place with suspicious activity."
"Did you pass by a bar while you were out looking for Mikey yesterday?"
"Sam, this is not the time for a drink."
"Maybe the people Mikey's working with work upstairs in a bar. We can have a drink and then bust them. Easy."
At the house in Juan Lopez, Jesse woke up to two people talking outside the room he was being held at.
"You just got here two days ago, Michael."
"I did, Burke. The CIA fired me. I had to flee to somewhere where they couldn't touch me. The Dominican Republic was the first place I could think of. And I thought about you."
The second voice was Michael's voice. Jesse's haze hadn't misled him at all.
"Are you sure you're not alone? Is the CIA trailing you?"
"I don't know that guy you kidnapped. I think kidnapping him's a mistake. You snagged a tourist minding his own business by accident."
"If he was a tourist, why was he in a group of three people that split up near Moca? I wouldn't tour Moca without my friends."
"I think he got lost or distracted. But I've never seen him before in my life, and I know for certain he's not CIA. Let me talk to him. I'll see what I can get out of him."
"You just came back here. How do I know you're not setting me up?"
"Have your guys look for papers and websites all over Central America. You can even check the Herald. I'm in all of them. The guy that tried to sell out the CIA. That's me."
There was a long period of silence.
"Okay, Michael. You'd better not be setting me up."
The door opened to the room a few moments later. Michael walked in the room alone. He shut the door.
"Jesse, what are you doing here?" He kept his voice low.
"Looking for you, Mike."
"How'd you even find out where I was?"
"I told her I'd be gone for a while."
"Long story short, Maddie snuck into the CIA, found out where you were and we flew out here to get you back to the States."
"Sam, Fi and me."
"She's calling all the shots on our mission."
"I thought she didn't want to speak to me."
"I'm guessing she still doesn’t."
"She's here because Maddie talked her into doing it. She keeps saying it's business. Oh, and after this is all over, you owe Fi money she would've put into her own apartment and the money we spent renting motorcycles. And my motorcycle, I guess, since she'll be charged for that. Unless you saved the motorcycle. That would be nice."
"I don't think Burke's men saved any motorcycles yesterday. Sorry, Jesse. And if anything else goes wrong, I assume I owe her everything else if I get out of here. I understand. But you're all blowing my cover."
"We know that, Mike, but the way you told your mom that you were leaving, you made it sound like you were going to be killed sometime in the future."
"If I don't do this job, you're all going back to prison forever, and for something that I did. And I don't want Fi to go back to prison ever again." Michael looked down. "The way she looked in there, she was so scared, so hungry. Sometimes Fi will haunt me in my dreams with her prison outfit looking like that. And then I wake up and realize she's free and herself again. If she goes back, I'm scared that she'll die without me.
"I can't let Fi blow my cover. There's got to be a way to stop her from getting up here."
"I could try and tip her off, Mike, but you know she's going to come for you. And I know you're upset about Fi and all, but I gotta get out of here. And then I have to find a way back to Santiago, because that's where our hotel is. And I've got to pee so bad."
Michael took a breath. "I've got an idea. From what I overheard yesterday, you were gassed with chloroethane. Are you strong enough to break through your restraints?"
"I think so, Mike."
"I don't know why they did your restraints like that. It's the work of amateurs, not professional terrorists. We're going to need to stage a fight and you're going to have to make a run for it."
"And what happens after I get out of here?"
Michael frowned. "You hide until you're sure you can get back to Moca."
"I'm guessing I can't hot wire a car or something and flee."
"It's too dangerous. They have weapons, but I'm not sure where they're located here. And there are armed guards looking after their SUVs. Sorry, Jesse. Let's hope you don't get killed by a hitchhiker or kidnapped again."
"That's very reassuring, Mike. At least I can use the bathroom somewhere."
Jesse hit the twist tie wrapped around his wrists against his jeans twice. The twist tie broke. Jesse then reached for his right shoe. He undid the paracord shoelace on it and pulled it off the shoe. With the shoelace, Jesse created a friction saw. After a few seconds, Jesse broke the twist tie on his feet. He laced and tied the shoe again.
After standing up, Jesse slammed Michael against one of the room's walls. Michael punched him. Jesse hit Michael with another punch. The staged fight went on for a minute until Jesse kicked Michael in his groin. Michael fell to his knees and got in the fetal position.
"Don't mention it." Michael groaned.
Jesse opened the door and ran out of the room as fast as he could.
Before Burke's men could shoot at Jesse from inside the house, Jesse was out of it.
Jesse ran down the street until he reached a church. He paused for a second before he ran into it. It wasn't empty; there were a few people inside the hall he entered.
He put his hands on his knees. It took him a while to stand up.
"¿Dónde está el teléfono?"
"Jesse! Are you okay?"
"Other than a full bladder, I'm okay."
"Some friends of mine picked me up in their SUV and took me to their place after I got lost."
"You know, our friends from the store in Licey."
"There was an SUV at the store in Licey…oh, now I remember."
"And my friends happen to know one of our friends and his new best friend."
"You found Michael?"
"They're getting along okay. If you pick me up at Santo José's in Juan Lopez, I can tell you more about our friends. And now I'm going to look for the little boy's room." Jesse hung up.
"Was that Jesse?"
Fiona nodded. "And now Michael's made me rent a car. You call the concho while I get ready."
"And then put it on Mikey's tab."
"The concho and the rental car."
"Is there anything Mikey won't owe you after this job's over?"
Burke found Michael in the fetal position in the room Jesse was held in, holding his groin.
"Michael, what happened?"
"I tried to interrogate him but he was too strong. He overpowered me and made a run for it."
"Are you okay?"
"I'll be okay in a few minutes."
"Stay here. Well, you're stuck here. Stay down there. We're going after him."
Two hours later, Fiona pulled up to Santo José's in a compact car. She and Sam ran into the church. Jesse was standing in the church's hallway.
"Are you okay, buddy?" Sam said.
"Yeah, I'm alright."
Fiona's cell phone rang. It was Madeline.
"I think we might want to go back into the little boys' room for this."
"Fi, I thought you and I weren't going to revisit that period of our lives ever again. And you're still living with Mike for the time being."
"We're not. I mean the thing between you and me, not Michael." She raised her eyebrows.
Fiona walked into the bathroom a couple of minutes before Jesse walked in it.
Once they were in the bathroom, Fiona answered Madeline's phone call.
"I'm guessing this isn't going to be good."
"Sometime this morning, Strong left the CIA building. I was going to pester him again about Michael to get you more clues, and someone he works with told me the news. They told me there was a kidnapping yesterday in Michael's operation, and Strong's afraid it might blow Michael's cover. And since you told me Jesse went missing yesterday, I think at least Jesse knows where my son is."
Fiona gave the phone to Jesse. "Hi, Maddie."
She took the phone back. "Yeah, he's alive, Madeline."
"The next time we talk, Michael had better be with you."
"He will, Maddie."
Fiona hung up.
"I wish you didn't hang up. Maddie might've wanted to hear this."
"Mike doesn't want you to rescue him."
"Because of the CIA deal."
"So who do I keep a promise to, Madeline or Michael? Someone's promise is about to be broken. And I think it would be worse to be chewed out by Madeline for not getting her son back to Miami than to not rescue Michael."
"You could lie and say he was shot by someone while you were trying to rescue him."
"And what happens if he resurfaces in Miami, what, nine months later? I may not even be able to even get past Madeline's front door." Fiona shook her head. "I don't care what Michael says. We're going to rescue him. I'd rather have him alive than dead."
"That's funny. Mike said he'd rather take the job than see you perish in prison. Said he was haunted by how you looked at Allarod."
"I don't care if I have to go back to prison. I'm upholding my promise to Madeline. Michael is coming back to Miami whether he likes it or not."
Jesse sighed. "Figures he's not worried about how I'll do in prison. Let's go rescue Mike."
Sam was looking out the door of the church. "Guys, I think we have a problem."
"What's up, Sam?"
"There's a couple of SUVs going up and down the street. I’m willing to bet they're looking for Jesse. You think Mikey's with them?"
"I don't know, Sam. He might be still at Burke's place. He's in a bit of pain. I had to kick him in the balls so I could get away."
"You kicked Michael in the balls?"
"Yeah, Fi. I did. But it was part of a cover."
"I liked doing that to him."
"O…kay," Sam said. "But the coast is clear for now. Fi, you're still driving, right?"
"Why wouldn't I be driving? You two drive like old women in rush traffic on Biscayne. Who knows what you two would do with a compact car?"
"Wow," Jesse said. "Thanks, Fi."
The three ran out of the church to the car. Fiona drove away from the church and Burke's hideout, heading south towards Moca.
For a while, it seemed the coast was clear. Then Fiona passed a driveway with a black SUV sitting in the middle of it.
Fiona saw the SUV in the car's rear-view mirror. "This would happen to us, wouldn't it?"
"It would," Jesse said.
"It usually does," Sam added.
"This isn't the Genesis Coupe, boys, but I'll try my best to outrun this son of a bitch. And it seems this car's top speed is over 200 miles per hour. This should be easy."
Fiona was able to outrun the SUV, getting a quarter of a mile lead on it. She kept her distance from the SUV until she drove onto a dirt road between Juan Lopez and Moca. There, on a part of the dirt road without any residences or businesses, Burke's other black SUV blocked the road. Fiona was forced to stop before she slammed into the second SUV.
"Of course, I can't outrun an SUV that's a road block." She took off her glasses and hid them in the car's glove compartment.
"A guy who likes to yell a lot. That's all I got."
Burke's men tied up Sam, Jesse and Fiona the same way they did Jesse earlier: with twist ties around their wrists and ankles. Their mouths were gagged with tape. All were conscious.
Fiona's rental car, driven by one of Burke's men, along with the two SUVs, drove back to his compound. Once they were there, the three were pushed into the same room with Michael—the same room Jesse had escaped from. Since Jesse's escape, Michael had also been tied up with zip ties and duct tape.
Burke stepped into the room when all four were inside it. "You've been lying to me, Michael. I don't know who these people are, and I don't know if they're CIA agents or lost tourists. But I'm sure they shouldn't be here. And I'm going to find out who you people are, starting with the girl."
Fiona lowered her eyebrows, as if she was attempting to put on a scowl.
One of Burke's men came up behind Burke. "Sir, there's a white SUV near the house. It seems suspicious."
"Can it wait?"
"No, I don't think it can wait. We might need to take action now."
"Let me check it out. Then we'll talk to the girl."
Burke and his man left the room.
Jesse looked at Sam. Sam looked at Jesse. The two of them looked at Fiona. She looked back at all of them. All three then looked at Michael.
Michael was the first to break out of his restraints. He hit his wrists behind his back and broke the zip tie around them. He reached for his shoes and sawed the zip ties around his ankles with his shoelaces, also made of paracord.
The first person Michael went to after he was freed was Fiona. He took off her duct tape.
"Do you have a switchblade knife on you?"
Fiona raised her eyebrows. She shook her head. "I always have a knife, Michael."
"Where is it?"
"In my back pocket."
"Can I use it?"
Fiona rolled on to her stomach. "Hurry up."
Michael pulled the switchblade knife from Fiona's pocket.
"I've got it, Fi."
Fiona rolled on her side.
Michael cut off Fiona's restraints first, followed by Sam's and Jesse's. They all stood up after they were freed.
"Okay, so how are we going to get out of here?" Jesse asked.
"I told you to tell Fi not to find me."
"I listen when I want to." Fiona shook her head. "You've known me for ten years. You should know that."
"I can still complete this mission. I think the CIA is here, or at least Strong's men are. I can find a way to get to the CIA—"
"No, Michael. This ends now. You're coming with us. The CIA was never your family. We are."
"Fi, I'm not letting you go to prison."
"I promised Maddie I'd get you out. And I promised a long time ago that I'd never leave you again. I'm keeping those promises. We're here. Your mission's over. You may as well come with us. And if we go to prison…we'll figure something out. We're in this together."
"I hate to interrupt your lovers' quarrel," Sam said, "but we should be getting the hell out of here."
"Michael and I are not dating any more, Sam."
"I know, I know." Sam pointed up. "But we're in this funky room with a small window, and it's all the way up top in the middle of the room."
"Let me guess. I'm going to be hoisted up through that window, open it as quietly as I can and you want me to find a way to break you out of here."
"…Yeah," Sam said.
"Wait. Fi, forget what I said about the CIA."
"You're coming with us?"
"I should've stayed with you in the first place."
Fiona tried not to smile, but she couldn't help herself.
"You need something before you go."
"What would I need?"
"You're in the Dominican Republic. There are guns all over the island. You need something that goes bang."
Fiona's eyes widened.
"They're Makarovs, but they'll get the job done outside."
"And Burke doesn't have a locking mechanism on this door. He's relying on his prisoners to stay bonded."
"Burke doesn't know you as well as he thought he did, right, buddy?"
"You're damn right, Sam."
Michael opened the door enough for him to slip out of the room. He moved around the compound, hiding around corners and desks to avoid Burke's men. Michael reached a table that had pistols and rifles lying across it. He tucked two Makarov pistols in his pants and grabbed two more. He returned to the room and handed three of the pistols to Sam, Jesse and Fiona.
"Now back to me getting out of that window. If those weasels still have their SUVs, this can get a bit messy, but we'll get out of here. I suggest you boys stay by the door. So…are you going to pull me up or not?"
Jesse walked over to the window. He waved his hands in a "come here" motion. "Let's do this."
"I wanted to hoist you up, Fi," Michael said.
"But Jesse has the range."
Fiona stepped into Jesse's hands. He bolstered her up to the window's ledge. She inspected the window. The opening was large enough for her to crawl out of, and she wouldn't have to fall to her death, or at best, a very bad injury. There was one problem: the lock on the window was corroded.
"And we've got a stuck lock. But I've got this."
Fiona used both of her hands to move the lock from the right to the left. At first, the lock wouldn't move. Then it started moving counterclockwise.
"You almost got it, Fi? My hands are about to give out here."
"Yeah, I've almost got it."
After a few minutes, Fiona was able to open the lock and push the window open.
"Can you give me one final push?"
Jesse pushed Fiona out the window. She fell to the ground. The few scrapes she got from the fall she could ignore until after everything was over.
Nearby the building were her confiscated rental and the two SUVs. Two of Burke's men were guarding the vehicles.
Fiona spotted a stick close to Burke's house. She snuck over to the stick, grabbed it, and broke the window to one of the SUVs. The men didn't hear the window shattering.
After sweeping up the glass on the driver's seat, Fiona broke into the steering wheel and hotwired the SUV.
The SUV went straight into the room where the rest of Michael's team was. That was when Burke's guards paid attention.
Fiona backed up the SUV as much as she could. Although the front end was smashed, the engine still ran. She couldn't leave the engine running because oil was leaking from it. She ran to Michael, grabbed his hand and started running. Sam and Jesse followed them.
Michael stopped her. "Wait, Fi. You're still forgetting something." He tapped her Makarov.
"Oh." She said it without a breath. "Too bad we can't do that to the other SUV."
Fiona walked to the other SUV. She pulled out her Makarov and shot the front left tire out.
Following her lead, the rest of the team took out the rear right and left tires.
Before Burke's men could catch them, all four ran to the compact car. Fiona took the driver's seat; Michael, shotgun. Jesse and Sam took the back seats.
"All of Burke's SUVs are crippled," Fiona said. "That should buy us some time." She opened the glove compartment and pulled out her glasses. She grinned.
"What about the CIA, Fi? They're looking for me."
Fiona drove away from Burke's house, heading northwest, further into the mountains of the Dominican Republic.
"We'll see if the CIA minds me taking my friends on a nature drive."
Strong's men were, indeed, in front of Burke's compound with a white SUV. As soon as Fiona crashed one of Burke's SUVs into the compound, Strong's men stormed it. They were wearing bullet-proof vests and had rifles and revolvers in hand.
They didn't see Fiona leave the compound with Michael and the rest of his team.
"Damn it," Strong said under his breath. "Now we're going to have to wait until Burke relocates to Higüey to catch him."
Burke and his men had their rifles in their hands to meet Strong and his men.
"Stand down," Strong said to Burke and his men.
Burke and his men had their weapons still in the air.
"I said stand down."
Burke put his gun on safety and put it on the floor of the compound. Burke's men followed suit.
"Where's Michael Westen?"
"I'm wondering the same thing as you are."
"I know he's here."
"He was here. But now he's gone. And some of my pistols are gone, but you don't care about that."
"I would care if the local police cared more about Russian firearms."
"We threw him in a room with a tall guy, this middle-aged guy and this girl with long hair. They all escaped when one of them stole one of my SUVs and smacked it into the wall. You can check it out if you'd like."
Strong went into the room where Fiona crashed the SUV. The SUV destroyed a huge chunk of the wall as well as the window that Fiona climbed out of.
Strong sighed. "Haas, call Moca police. Have them detain Burke and whoever's here for as long as they can. And has anyone seen Westen?"
"We caught the two guys and the girl. The girl he escaped with, she had a white car. It had a Hyundai logo." Burke told Strong the license plate number of Fiona's car. "Michael knows one of the people. He might know all of them. Otherwise they wouldn't have broken him out."
"Oh, and Haas? Have them put out an alert for a white Hyundai. Whoever's in it has Michael."
Thirty minutes later, Fiona was still driving in the mountains.
"We're in the middle of nowhere," Jesse said. "It's been a while since I've seen a gas station. What happens if we have to abandon the car? We have no food, no shelter, and it's going to be a while before we reach anything that looks like a building."
"We'll walk until we get to a building," Fiona said. "This is our war, not the Dominican Republic's. We can live."
"Fi, this is my war. You three got in the middle of it."
"But we're your friends, Michael. As much as you'd like to pretend you are, you're not alone in this."
"I'm doing this job for you."
"Are we going through this again?"
"Fi, I don't know if you've seen this, but—"
"There's a white SUV trailing us and I need to shake it. I'm on it, Jesse. It's hard to focus when your concentration's being broken by petty arguments."
"Who are those guys? It's not Burke's men, unless they had a white SUV in their yard we must've missed."
"I think that's the CIA, Sam," Michael said. "They figured out where we were."
Fiona drove as fast as she could in the car. The CIA SUV was able to catch up with Fiona no matter how she drove.
"It's not working. Hold on."
Fiona made a hard U-turn on the highway she was driving on and turned south. The CIA SUV caught up with her.
"I'm going to have to turn around and drive side by side with it. I can't outrun the bastard."
"But at least we'll have a fighting chance of avoiding our tires being shot out."
"Michael, you know me so well."
Fiona made another U-turn and headed north. Once the SUV caught up with her, she drove to the left of the road and slowed down beside the SUV. Cars driving south were forced to pull over. Pedestrians stopped and watched the spectacle driving past them.
When the few cars and pedestrians were out of the way, a CIA officer in the SUV rolled down the window closest to Fiona's car. He started shooting at Fiona's tires. The bullets from the gun were ricocheting against the road.
Michael pushed Fiona's head down. "Get down."
Everyone in the car ducked as the officer kept shooting at Fiona's car.
"What kind of gun does he have?" Fiona was peeking as much as she could to keep the car steady and out of harm's way. She alternated pushing the speed and brake pedals to change the car's speed.
Michael peeked out of his window. "M9."
"Fourteen more shots. Shit."
"It could be worse. We could be on the car's right side and they might've had two M9s."
The officer kept shooting at the car, trying to hit the tires. After missing her tires for the fifteenth time, the officer rolled up his window.
Michael and his team sat up in their car seats.
"Time for me to pass. Everyone have their seat belt on?"
Fiona passed the CIA SUV and drove as fast as she could, getting a distance on it.
Fiona passed a gas station while getting away from the CIA SUV.
"I guess that's the last gas station we'll see for a while," Jesse said.
"That's a great idea."
Fiona made a three point turn and headed back to the gas station, parking at a pump. She hid the car behind a SUV already parked at a pump.
"Fi, are you crazy?"
"I thought that was obvious, Jesse. But what I was thinking was if I get more gas than the CIA SUV, I can outmaneuver the SUV until the SUV gives out of bullets and gas. Then we can swap out the license plate with the license plate of some similar-looking car in Moca, and we'll be home free."
Jesse nodded. "Oh."
"Fi, I have a bag in Ju...wan Lopez. Can we stop there before you head to Moca?"
"Is there a catch somewhere?"
"My place is on a different street and south of Burke's compound. I'll give you directions to a highway that'll allow you to get into Moca without meeting Burke's men."
"Sure. And if we're going to Juan Lopez, Jesse and Sam can do the license plate swap out there while I help you with your bags."
"It's only a bag. The CIA allowed me one."
Fiona smiled. "I will help you with your bag. And then I'm not heading through Juan Lopez any further. I've had enough SUVs for the day. Now one of you needs to decide who's going to get me a screwdriver while I pump gas. I'm getting about 840 pesos' worth of it."
Fiona shook her head. "No straws."
Jesse shrugged and headed towards the store. Michael grabbed his shoulder. "I've got this, Jesse. I owe her."
By the time Michael came back with the Phillips screwdriver, the white SUV was approaching the gas station.
"Fi," he said, "it's time to go. You think you got enough gas?"
"I think so."
Fiona put the nozzle back on the tank and climbed back in the driver's seat. The others got back in the car. Fiona sped in front of the SUV, and the chase began again.
When there weren't any pedestrians or other cars on the road, the CIA officers in the SUV began firing at Fiona. Much to their chagrin, Fiona was able to drive to the SUV's side. The officer behind the driver's seat kept shooting at Fiona's tires and missing. And the other officers in the SUV couldn't get a lock on Fiona's tires when she was weaving back and forth behind them, waiting for oncoming traffic to pass.
Twenty miles later, the CIA SUV was forced to pull over. It had run out of gas.
The CIA officers got out of their SUV and attempted to shoot Fiona's tires as she made a U-turn south towards Moca. They failed.
When Fiona arrived at Michael's residence in Juan Lopez, Michael handed Sam the Phillips screwdriver. He nudged his head towards a white car similar in shape to Fiona's rental. Sam and Jesse got out of the car and headed towards the other white car.
"Those two always need their quality time, don't they?" Sam said.
Jesse shrugged. "Gives me more time to spend with you, buddy."
"Hey, Elsa is the only lady in my life, okay?"
Fiona and Michael headed to his residence. The place was empty except for Michael's duffel bag on a table.
Upon seeing the bag on the table, Fiona said "You never even had the chance to unpack."
"My mission was to find Burke and lie to him as soon as I could to get accepted to his fold. I was going to come back here someday."
Fiona cleared her throat. "Now that we have your duffel bag, we can go over the list of things you owe me."
Michael's eyes widened. "You have a list of things I owe you."
"I wrote it down while I was on the plane and in the hotel." Fiona pulled the list out of her pocket. "You owe me three months' rent on an apartment. I had my eye set on this quaint little place on the Beach. You also owe me… " She looked at the list. "Whatever's left of the money I paid for the hotel room, rental fees on two motorcycles, the price of a missing motorcycle, my car rental, gas and a screwdriver."
Michael clasped Fiona's empty hand. "I owe you my life. Is that good enough?"
Fiona stared at him. "It's not money. But it's more valuable." She sighed. "This is my entire fault. If I was talking to you, you wouldn't have even done this."
"No, Fi, it's my fault. Tom Card's death? It's my fault. Running around from the CIA? It's my fault. I should've surrendered when I had the chance and not taken that deal to keep you free."
Fiona shook her head. "Jesse, Sam, your mother and I would've done anything to get you out. We're a family, Michael. That's what we do."
Michael smiled. "Thank you, Fi."
"And if anyone's going to take you out for good…it may as well be me."
"You're not going to do that."
"Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Depends on my mood."
Michael and Fiona looked at each other. They kissed.
Sam appeared in the doorway of Michael's residence. "I'm guessing you two made up, but we've gotta go. The license plates are switched, and I don't think we'll ever be able to set foot in the Dominican Republic again."
Before leaving, Fiona returned whatever she could in Santiago. Whatever she couldn't return, she paid to replace. And she called Madeline at Cibao International with these words: "Madeline? I found him. We're coming back tomorrow just before noon."
The team left the Dominican Republic early the next day, making a stop in Atlanta before heading back to Miami. Michael and Fiona spent a lot of time together on the plane and in the airports, talking about several things: his boring CIA job before the failed Burke mission, her bounty hunting gigs and jobs helping others. Sam and Jesse kept their distance.
"I remember when I didn't want Mike and Fi hooking back up. But I'm glad they're back together."
"You didn't want them to hook up?"
"It's a long story. Has Mikey ever told you about the time we all met in Ireland?"
"Yeah, he has."
Sam laughed. "Wasn't it a funny story? No, it's hilarious."
"I'm sure arresting Mike's girlfriend because you didn't know she was part of his op is a funny story. And did you know she tried to kill him after she found out who he was?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah."
"You people are sick."
"Hey, you're with us, right?"
Madeline met them at Miami International. Without words, she hugged Michael when he got out of the terminal. Then she hugged Fiona.
"Thank you, Fi."
"That's what we bounty hunters do. At least I'm not sending Michael to jail. And I didn't hit him with a beanbag round."
That night, Michael was surprised when he saw Fiona in his bedroom.
Fiona turned to him when he opened the door to the bedroom. She was naked except for one of Michael's dress shirts covering her body.
"I forgot to include what I lost in that loft fire. You owe me my snow globes, some dresses, some shoes and all of my shirts."
Michael looked at her.
"What? All of my shirts were burned in the loft. I'm borrowing this one for the night."
"You only wear my shirts, Fi. And I need that shirt."
Fiona shrugged. "Well, you may as well try to rip it off my body."
"I don't want to rip it off your body. I'm not going anywhere in a ripped shirt."
"As I said, try and take it off of me."
"I can't take it off your body if you're upright." Michael pointed to the bed. He smirked.
"That's going to give you an unfair advantage."
"I'm willing to take that advantage to get my shirt back."
Fiona smiled and jumped into Michael's bed.
Michael lay down on Fiona. He started kissing on her neck. Fiona grinned and rolled her eyes.
Michael undid one of the buttons on his shirt. "This will take a while."
"You're going to have to stop me from buttoning up the shirt again."
"You're not doing that right now. Your arms are still."
"I'm waiting a few hours before I button the shirt. Then you can try and take the shirt off of me again."
Michael laughed. He kissed her neck again.
The next morning, Michael found Fiona looking out at Biscayne Bay, wearing his shirt, buttoned up. He was wearing a towel wrapped around his waist.
"What are you doing, Fi? Thinking about the loft?"
"No. I was thinking about where I was going to live next."
"That place that you spotted on the Beach?"
"Michael, I was thinking of putting my three months' rent, once I have it back, into another place."
"Coconut Grove? Coral Gables?"
"I figure that if the CIA thinks you've defected from them, they'd stop paying for the condo and you'd need the help."
"So does that mean you're staying?"
"Of course. Where else would I call home?"
Fiona smiled and grabbed Michael's hand. They both looked at each other.
"But what are we going to do about the CIA?"
"We'll figure out something. We always figure out something." Fiona took a deep breath. "But right now, I still have this shirt around me. I thought you wanted it back."
"I still do want the shirt back."
Fiona ran back into their bedroom. Michael grinned and ran after her.