Disclaimer: Although I wish I owned Without a Trace and its characters - unfortunately I do not, so please don't sue me.

Author's Note: Based on the episode Silent Partner

Chapter 1

"So I guess you white collar, silver spoon guys are not accustomed to flying with normal people?" Danny baited, as he walked through San Diego airport with Martin.

"What?" Martin exclaimed. He shook his head, he really shouldn't be surprised - Danny had been like this to him since the day he joined the team. Why couldn't Danny drop it? What the hell was his problem? So what? He'd grown up in a big house and had gone to a private school. But if Danny really knew what his childhood was like, maybe he would change his attitude - but he doubted it.

"You know, a commercial plane: packed in like cattle with crappy, dried-out food," Danny reeled off. He glared at Martin - what the hell was his problem? Didn't he understand how lucky he was? Didn't he know how lucky he was to have a loving family, a roof over his head and a hot meal on the table? Didn't he know how lucky he was that he didn't live in fear that he wouldn't wake up one morning? Because that's what he lived with; every day of his crappy childhood.

"What's your problem man?" Martin yelled as he stopped and glared at him.

"My problem?" Danny exclaimed. "Man, if you only knew!"

Martin shook his head. "Whatever! Are we getting on the plane or not?"

Danny looked passed Martin and grinned. "No, we shouldn't," he replied in a distant tone.

"Danny," Martin started. "What are you talking about?"

"Why fly on a commercial plane, where you are crammed next to weird, sweaty people who want to talk to you about their collection of lunchboxes or some other equally weird collection," Danny said with a slight grin.

Martin couldn't help but chuckle slightly. "So how do you propose to achieve this?" he asked.

"Well if I am not mistaken - that is the FBI plane," Danny said, as he pointed in the direction of the gleaming white Gulfstream jet

"And your point is..." Martin trailed off.

"We are FBI agents, I reckon we can wrangle a spot on that plane," Danny said with a smirk.

"Really?" Martin said with raised eyebrows. But all he could think was that he wouldn't have to sit in a tiny seat in between Danny and some weirdo. At least on the FBI plane - despite its size he could get away from Danny and write up the report in peace.

"Of course. I can get us a spot on that plane," Danny said grinning. "Watch and learn Fitzy, watch and learn."

Martin shook his head as he watched Danny flash his ID and walk across to the gleaming white Gulfstream jet. "Man what if-"

"What if your father or some other brass has ordered the plane and its flying to DC?" Danny started.

Martin rolled his eyes. "Yes, basically," he said. He knew Danny wouldn't drop it anytime soon that he was the son of the Deputy Director of the FBI. Didn't Danny realise how shitty it was to be the Deputy Director's son - that everyone judged him by his father not as an individual?

"I may have not been born with a silver spoon in my mouth but I still know a thing or two," Danny said as he strode, confidently towards the plane. He walked into the plane and began to talk to the pilot.

"Yo, Martin," Danny yelled out of the plane a few minutes later. "You're not going to believe this, but the plane's going to New York to pick up some brass - and it's empty."

"And your point is?" Martin asked, trying to hide his grin.

"The point is, my man, we have the plane to ourselves," Danny said as he made a sweeping gesture towards the plane.


"You know the most dangerous part about flying is the journey to and from the airport."

"Martin, if you are trying to diminish my fears, you are failing," Danny said nervously. He dug his nails into the armrests as the plane hit another patch of turbulence

"But then again, if the autopilot fails and struts deploy, we maybe a little bit screwed," Martin started with an evil grin.

"What!" Danny exclaimed.

"Well, the plane will go into a series of violent dives and inclines. The forces that will be exerted on the plane will be so great that - well the plane will probably break apart," Martin continued, as he tried to keep a straight face. He knew it was cruel - but it was payback, for all the comments Danny had made throughout the case. He watched as Danny paled and tightened his grip on the arm rests. "And it's a long way down," he added and looked out of the window for a dramatic affect.

Danny winced; he closed his eyes and tried to take a calming breath. Why the hell was Martin doing this to him? What the hell had he done to him? Sure he had been a bit of a jerk, but he had never played on Martin's fears - not that he knew what they were. "And you know this because you're a pilot?"

"No, I just know a bit about planes," Martin replied. He looked at Danny; he could see the fear in his eyes. He knew he should stop but after the shit Danny had put him through in the last few weeks - how much harm could he be doing? "As you know, planes like everything else in this world are built by the lowest bidder. So the engineer has been working a long shift and rushes the last couple of rivets. Anyway the panel looks fine until at 35,000 feet it flies off into the engine - causing it explode. Sure a plane can fly with one engine, but it can't fly with one wing."

"Fuck off, Martin," Danny yelled, as he unfastened his seatbelt and stormed to the other side of the plane. "You know what? After the last couple of days, I was willing to give you another chance - but now, maybe I was right about from the beginning; you are just like your dad - a cold-hearted bastard."

"Oh and you are holier that thou?" Martin replied sarcastically.

"No. I don't think that," Danny yelled back. He stared out the window. He was so scared that he either felt like he was coming to throw up or pass out - both sounded better that he felt now.

"Sure you don't," Martin muttered under his breath. He sighed and looked out the window. What he hell was Danny's problem? Why couldn't drop it? The plane shuddered violently and Martin frowned - that wasn't turbulence. He glanced across at Danny, who remained tense. The plane made another violent shudder to the right - he felt his heart leap into his mouth. This was definitely not normal. He looked over at Danny again to see him begin to unfasten his seatbelt. "Danny, sit down!"

"What?" Danny exclaimed. "Oh now think you can tell me what to do!"

"Please Danny, just do it," Martin said in a nervous voice.

Danny frowned as he sat and fasten his seatbelt tightly. There was something in Martin's voice that made a shiver run down his spine. "Martin," Danny said - fear evident in his voice

"I dunno - it's probably nothing."

"Martin, if you are messing with my head again..." Danny trailed off.

"I'm not, Danny, I swear to you. I don't know what's wrong but something is!" Martin replied

"H-How do you k-know that," Danny stammered.

"Because I flew a lot when I was a kid," Martin explained. "And this is not normal," he said as the plane continued to shudder violently.

Danny stifled back a panicked scream when he heard an explosion and the plane began to feel like it was falling out of the sky. He closed his eyes and dug his finger nails into the armrests as he heard the cockpit alarms sound. He was vaguely aware of someone yelling that they were going down and for the first time in years, he prayed. The next thing he knew he was being violently thrown around and heard the deafening sound of crumpling of metal - before everything went deathly silent.


Leaning back in his chair, Jack glanced at his watch - it was late. The case was closed and he was going to send his team home. They had worked several cases back to back and he could tell his team needed a break, so he was going to send then home and let them come in late tomorrow. He sighed as he heaved himself up and wandered into the bullpen.

"Everyone go home - you can do the paperwork tomorrow," Jack said tiredly.

"Are you sure?" Viv said as she started to pack up.

"Yeah - I'm beat. I left a message on Danny's cell. So go home," Jack yawned.

Sam looked from her desk. "The boys have caught the 1140 United flight, barring delays in LAX, they should be in just before ten."

"That's if they didn't kill each other on the way over," Viv added with a small smile.

"They will be fine," Jack replied, trying to sound confident.

"Sure will they will, Jack - just as soon as they have crawled out of their caves and stopped trying to kill each other with spears," Sam joked. She looked across at Viv who was stifling back a laugh.

"Seriously, Jack, did you really think that sending them across the country would make them rely on each other," Viv commented as they began to walk towards the elevators.

"Yes. They would've been forced to rely on each other and secondly, I wouldn't have to deal with them while they duke it out," Jack replied with a smile.

"So they will come back from this case - changed men," Sam added with a smile.

Chapter 2

Slowly opening his eyes, Danny blinked with confusion at the twisted metal frame and exposed wires. What the hell had happened? Why did his whole body ache? Why did his head hurt? Shivering slightly, he pulled his light jacket closer to his body. Letting his eyes adjust to the inky darkness, he tried to work out what had happened and where they were. Using his 'night vision' and the various sparks from the exposed wires, he surveyed his surroundings-- twisted metal, the sparking wires, the wreckage that surrounded him. What had happened? Then it hit like a shot to the stomach. San Diego... getting a spot on the FBI plane... fears... Martin baiting his fears... Martin shouting a warning and - and the plane crashed. He turned to one side and emptied the contents of his stomach onto the floor. Where was Martin? Was he dead? Was the pilot dead? Was he alone? Where was he?

With trembling fingers, he slowly unfastened his seatbelt and looked around. To the right of him, he saw Martin slumped in his chair. He felt as though the air had been sucked out of his lungs. Was he the only one alive? Carefully, he stepped over the twisted metal which was once the plane's cabin. Inhaling sharply, he saw blood trickling down Martin's face. He looked at Martin's pale complexion; he didn't look as though he was breathing. Danny felt himself begin to panic - what would he do if Martin was critically injured? What would he do if Martin was dead? What would he do if he was the only one alive and help never came? Staring at Martin, he slumped against the wall and held his head in his hands. He knew he should check on Martin and the pilot, but fear and panic was overwhelming him. If he closed his eyes tightly enough maybe he when he opened them again he would be in the office debating theories with the team - but somehow he knew this wouldn't happen.

Taking a deep breath, Danny tried to pull himself together. Martin needed his help and he didn't even know what the pilot's condition was. He somehow forced himself to stand. Feeling his knees begin to buckle, he grabbed the wall for support. He closed his eyes and took a few more deep breaths. Opening his eyes again, he waited for the dizziness to pass. Slowly, he walked over to Martin to check him. He had to know what his condition was, then he could deal with it. He had already wasted enough time as it was. With a shaking hand, he checked for a pulse. He let out a breath that he hadn't realised that he was holding when he found a strong, steady pulse.

"Martin, wake up. Come on, man, you're scaring me," Danny pleaded desperately as he tapped Martin's face. He felt himself panicking again when he got no response. "Please Martin, wake up."

Checking Martin's pulse again, he was relived to find it remained the same. Martin's breathing was strong and steady. He was just unconscious. It was just a matter of time before he woke up - if he woke up. Danny sighed and raked his hands through his hair. There was nothing he could do for Martin right now - but he could check on the pilot. Slowly and cautiously, Danny made his way to cockpit. He inhaled sharply as he scanned the cockpit - the pilot was slumped against the controls. He took a couple of deep breaths before he stepped forward toward the pilot. When he found no pulse, he slumped against the wall of the cockpit. He knew what had happened - the pilot died saving them. He had to get out here. He found himself almost running through what was once the plane. He burst out of the wreckage and collapsed on the ground outside. He felt his body shake as panic took hold. The pilot was dead, and Martin was unconscious. Pulling his knees up to his chest, he took some time to take in his surroundings.

He was surrounded by whiteness, that had spots of rocky terrain. He shivered as the icy cold wind bit into his body. He was in the middle of nowhere - as far as he could see there was nothing - nothing but mountains and snow. He let his head fall into his heads and let a few tears escape. He was going to die out here.


"Are the boys in yet?" Jack asked as he wandered through the bullpen.

"Not that I have seen," Viv replied as she walked to her desk with a mug of steaming coffee.

Sam looked up from her desk and smiled. "I haven't seen them. Do you think they are still alive?" she asked in a light-hearted tone.

"How many times do have I have to tell you two - they will come back and they will have bonded. They will make a great team," Jack stated.

"Have you been taking something? Because this is Danny and Martin we are talking about. The last time--sorry--the only time I have seen them together they have been at each other's throats," Viv exclaimed.

"They will be fine, they just need-"

"They just need to get the cavemen out of them," Sam finished. "The million dollar question is how long is that going to take?"

"You obviously have little faith in me. Viv remember when Danny joined the team - what did you think?" Jack started.

"Jack, it's not that I don't think that Martin wasn't a great choice, its just-" Sam said

"We know Danny and Martin will make a great team eventually. They are two young men who are marking their territory and they will stop - but as Sam said - when?" Viv cut in

Jack smiled and shook his head. He had known that Danny and Martin had the 'right stuff' from the moment he had meet them. He knew as soon as they had settled their differences they would make a great team - but it was a question of how long would it take. "Anyway back to the original question - has anyone heard from the boys?"

"Not today," Sam replied. "I haven't heard from them since Martin phoned from the airport."

"They probably got held up in traffic or something," Viv reassured

"Surprisingly, I am not that bothered. They must have got back after midnight. So I will give them a break - a small one. If they are not here in a few minutes, they will be doing overtime for free," Jack joked. He smiled as he picked up a stack of paperwork and sat down at the table.

A few hours later

Leaning back in her chair, Viv sighed. They had been doing paperwork for hours and it didn't feel like they had made any headway. "This is one thing they forgot to put in the recruitment leaflet. They never tell you how much paperwork you will have to do," she commented.

Jack smirked. "Well I don't know about you, but I have done over half," he joked

"I think paperwork should come with a health warning," Sam added. "Anyway...now I am worried? Where are Danny and Martin?"

Jack looked up and scanned the bullpen. "They haven't called in yet?" he asked nervously.

"No," Viv replied, concern building in her voice. "What time did you tell Danny to come in?"

Jack looked down at his watch inhaled sharply. "They should have been here three hours ago," he exclaimed. "Viv try and contact Danny - Sam you try and get hold of Martin," Jack ordered. He closed his eyes briefly as Sam and Viv started ringing the boys home and cell phones. He held his head in his hands. Why was he so nervous? They were only three hours late. But his gut told him otherwise - something had happened to his agents.


"Yeah!" Jack answered in a startled tone.

"I have no reply from Danny's home phone and his cell is going straight to voice mail," Viv said concern evident in her voice.

"Same here," Sam added.

"Ok," Jack said as he took a deep calming breath, raking his hands through his hair. "Ok, the boys have probably slept in so there's no point in-"

"Freaking out," Viv cut in. They hadn't slept in - she didn't know how she did, but she did. If they were going to be late, they would have phoned in. Mostly because of the job, but also because the wrath of Jack Malone.

"Yes," Jack continued in a distant tone. "Ok right, we need to..." he stammered as he raked his hands through his hair again to pull himself together. "Viv, go to Danny's. Sam, go to Martin's. I will stay to deal with them were they turn up."

Jack rubbed his face wearily, even though he had slept for hours last night - it felt as though he hadn't slept in weeks. He watched Viv and Sam hurried off towards the elevators. He hoped they return shortly with the boys or at least a phone call to say they were fine - but he doubted it. Maybe the job had made him paranoid - but his gut was screaming at him. He knew something had happened to them - the question was what hospital--or God forbid--morgue they were in.

He jumped slightly when the phone rang, he stared around his office and wondered how long ago Viv and Sam had gone. He stared at the caller id and inhaled sharply.

"Viv," he answered tensely

"Jack, Danny's not here and no one has seen him since he went to San Diego. I checked his answering machine and a part from the messages left by us, there was a message left from woman, presumably a date. She was supposed to meet him last night and he never showed," Viv reeled off. "Have you heard from Sam yet?"

Jack rubbed his temple - what the hell had happened to his agents?

"Jack," Sam called out tensely.

"Martin wasn't there, was he?" Jack guessed.

"No he wasn't. What about Danny?" Sam asked nervously

"No he wasn't there either. Viv checked his messages and a part from messages from us there was a message from a woman - he was supposed to meet her last night," Jack replied

"So they have been missing for-" Sam looked at her watch. "Twenty eight hours."

"Yeah," Jack agreed tiredly. "Ok start checking the hospitals and the-" He couldn't continue. He didn't want to know that his agents where dead.

"This is Danny and Martin we are talking about-"

"Yes I am aware of that. What is your point?" Jack snapped

"My point is," Sam said, ignoring Jack's snappiness. "My point is that as soon as they got to New York they would have gone their separate ways - I think we just think about looking at San Diego."

"Ok, fine. Call the airline first," Jack said shortly

Sam briefly glared at Jack but she knew his shortness came from caring about his agents. After finding the number, she returned to her desk and dialled it. She frowned when she was told the information. Martin had phoned her from the airport. He said he was just about to check in. If someone had taken Danny and Martin, someone would have seen it. Danny and Martin were two highly trained, fit guys. It would take a lot to take them against their will.

"U-mm, Jack, they never made it on to the flight."

"What?" Jack exclaimed

"I phoned the airline - they never were on that flight," Sam repeated.

"Maybe they missed it, or there wasn't enough room on it," Jack said in desperation. "Check the rest of the flights."

"I have checked all United flights and I am just about to check the rest - but Jack, they should be here by now," Sam exclaimed

Frowning, Jack knew Sam was right. "Ok, fine. U-mm, I will start checking JFK, La Guardia and every other commercial airport in the New York area. Maybe something happened to them at the San Diego airport," Jack suggested.

"If something happened, we would have heard about it. I know for sure that Danny can take care of himself. He took out one of those 350 pound 'celebrity minder' guys," Sam commented.

Jack frowned. "Fine - when did Danny take out this guy," he asked with raised eyebrows.

"Oh ages ago at a martial arts class," Sam explained with a grin.

"Oh," Jack said with a small smile. "Why were you and Danny at a martial arts class?"

"It was when I first joined the team. I saw Danny leaving - asked him off hand what he was going to do when he left work and he invited me. I never realised how graceful he is," Sam replied with a grin.

Jack smirked but his expression turned grim as he remembered why he was having the conversation. "Ok right," he stammered. "Sam I need to check all flights out of San Diego bound for New York in the last twenty four hours, I will start checking with New York airport security."

Several frustrating hours later, Viv leaned back in her chair and sighed. "I've got nothing - its as though they have disappeared off the face of this earth," she exclaimed.

"Wait. I think I have something," Sam said as spun around. "I have just got off the phone with the check in staff that was on when Danny and Martin were due to fly. She remembers them, she says they cancelled their ticket!"

"What?" Jack yelled. "How did she remember them? How did they seem?"

"Whoa Jack, calm down!" Sam said. "Apparently, they were relaxed, and she remembers them - get this -- because they were so good looking and charming!"

Viv rolled her eyes. "Did they say why they cancelled the ticket?"

"No," Sam replied somberly

Clenching his jaw, he stared as his agents empty desks. "Ok, we know Danny and Martin were at San Diego airport at 11 am yesterday, where they appeared relaxed. But they cancelled their flight back to New York," he reeled off. He looked down at his feet, he didn't want to do this but he had to. "Viv get a recent photo of the boys, Sam open a case number - the boys are missing."


Martin slowly opened his eyes and gasped in pain, as what felt like a sledgehammer had been taken to his tender skull. Slowly surveying the loose sparking wires and the twisted metal, the last thing he remembered was Danny pissing him off at the airport. He rested his head in his heads and started to massage his temples. He took a deep calming breath as he forced himself to remember what had happened. He remembered the cancelling his ticket and getting on the FBI plane with Danny. He remembered playing on Danny's fears, he remembered Danny freaking out. He gasped and inhaled sharply as he remembered the plane going down. He looked around franticly - where the hell was Danny? What if Danny's last thoughts were him taunting him. God he was such a bastard. Danny was scared of flying, he had played on those fears and the plane had crashed. He slowly unfastened his seatbelt and walked across the plane searching for Danny. He could've sworn he heard something outside. Finding an opening in the wreckage, he carefully climbed out. Martin closed his eyes briefly as he was met with the bright sunshine reflecting off the brilliant white snow. Squinting, he slowly began scan the area looking for any forms of life - looking for Danny.

"Danny," he called out when his eyes fell on a hunched figure.

Danny looked wildly around, he was sure that someone had just called his name - but how was this possible - he was the only one alive. He let his head fall into his hands. He was now hearing things.

"Danny," Martin called again as he approached the hunched figure.

Danny looked up again, he frowned. "Martin," he tried, as the figure approached him.

"That's right Danny, are you all right man?" Martin asked as he sat down next to Danny. Although he could see no obvious injuries, it didn't mean that Danny had escaped the crash completely unharmed.

"Am I all right?" Danny exclaimed. "How can I be all right? We've been in a fucking plane crash. The pilot's dead. We are in the middle of no where and I thought you were dead, too!"

"Danny, calm down. We are going to fine," Martin reassured as he slightly shook Danny's shoulders. "We are going to fine. We just have to sit tight for a day at most, then they will come and pick us up."

"What if they don't? How do you know this?" Danny rambled in a lost panicked tone.

"All planes have emergency beacons, traffic control has been monitoring our flight - so they will know our position within a couple of meters," Martin explained. "It's going to be all right man."

"You don't know that! And-and the pilot's dead - he has a wife and two kids, what are they going to do?" Danny exclaimed.

"Once we get home, we will make sure his family is looked after," Martin reassured.

"I think we should start walking now - while we still have a chance. For all we know, those beacon things don't work and air traffic control hasn't monitored a damn thing," Danny said as he stood up.

"Danny, listen to me. Sit down, shut up and listen to me!" Martin yelled. He watched as Danny slowly collapsed to the ground. "The beacons will be working and in the unlikelihood that they aren't - we stand more a chance of being found if we stay with the plane."

Danny didn't respond at first, his first instinct being to argue with Martin, but then he relented. "I guess so," Danny said quietly. "And the plane gives us shelter. I am sorry Martin, I, I just, well I dunno."

"Don't worry about it. If I had come to first and thought I was the only one left, I'd be freaking out, too," Martin reassured. "And if the plane had crashed in some city - I would be totally freaking out," he added.

"Man, if it had crashed in a city - there would a lot people around and our cell phones might actually get a signal," Danny replied, relaxing a little.

"Yes, but cities freak me out," Martin confessed.

"Seriously?" Danny started. "What's there to be freaked out in cities?"

"They are confined, lots of people and very few places to escape. Probably the complete opposite to why you get freaked out in the country," Martin exclaimed.

"I guess so. But this? Isn't the country. It's the middle of freaking nowhere. Do you think the team knows yet?" Danny asked, deep in thought.

"I dunno - I hope so. You think Jack will be worried?" Martin asked "Yes," Danny replied with a smirk. "I pity anyone that has information - especially if they are stupid enough to withhold it from Jack."

"Do you think that he let us take it easy for a while?" Martin asked with a grin.

"I doubt it. But just so you know - Jack Malone has far greater medical knowledge that a doctor of thirty-seven years," Danny joked.

"Great," Martin replied sarcastically. He shivered slightly and pulled his jacket closed to his body. He didn't know how he was holding together right now - but he had to until Danny got his head on straight. He was terrified and cold. For one of the first times in his life, he really wanted to see his father - anything would be better that this.

The plane was two hundred miles off course and locating beacons were smashed beyond all recognition. No one knew where they were, and no one was coming to rescue them. - but Danny and Martin didn't know this. As far as they were concerned a helicopter would pick them up in a couple of hours - little did they know the search planes were searching 200 miles from their present location.

Chapter 3

"So when was the first time you flew?" Danny asked, as they huddled in the wreckage as the icy wind whipped around them.

"I dunno, I guess I was a few months old," Martin replied, slightly shivering. "My parents travelled a lot when I was a kid. To begin with, I travelled with them, but soon they left me at home with a nanny."

"What was that like?" Danny asked, trying to keep the judgmental tone out of his voice.

"Which one? The travelling or the nanny?" Martin asked quietly. He waited for Danny's smart ass comments about the nanny, the comments about him being a poor little rich kid.

"I don't know. About the travelling, I guess."

"It was interesting - I was just too young to remember or appreciate it. As for the nannies, it depends on who was the nanny. Some were really cool and nice - but most weren't," Martin said in a lost, distant tone. "Some were more interested in the pay check than anything else. But the majority of them were the strict English school mistress type."

"Oh," Danny said quietly, suddenly feeling guilty for judging Martin. "So your parents weren't around much?"

"Not really. My mom was and still is a socialite. My purpose was her 'access' to a whole new level of society - you know 'society' children parties - the kind that all the great and good kids go to. My father, well he, I-I guess he was preparing me for politics from the day I was born," Martin finished quietly.

Danny looked down - not knowing what to say, but interest drove him. "U-mm, so what was your father like?" Danny asked as he tried to build a mental image of Deputy Director Fitzgerald as a father.

"He was," Martin started, but stopped. He closed his eyes as he thought back to his childhood.

"And where do you think you are going?" Victor Fitzgerald growled at his son.

"I- I was going out to see James at his house," a thirteen year old Martin Fitzgerald stammered as he turned around to face his father.

"After this!" Victor exclaimed holding up a test paper. He looked away; he couldn't stand it when his son stared at him with his big blue eyes. But he had to do this - Martin would thank him later when he was sitting in the White House.

"Dad," Martin whined, as he stared at his French test paper. It was only an A-, most parents would be over the moon but not his. His father pushed him and his mother didn't really care as long as he didn't embarrass her. "I was really tired after football practice."

"Well then you should train harder, and then you wouldn't be so tired!" Victor replied coldly.

"Dad, I really try, I promise, but the guys are like twice the size of me. I really do try, but 'cos I am small they always target me!" Martin exclaimed. He looked down and nervously played with his hands. After some of tackles, he could barely stand, but he knew he had keep playing.

"I hardly believe that, Martin! You should take responsibly for your actions. Have you been drinking those protein drinks I got you?" Victor asked

"I tried them, but they made me sick," Martin said quietly.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Victor asked gently. "We could have tried a different brand. Martin, I know you think I am tough on you, but I am only doing this for you."

"Yeah right!" Martin yelled.

"Do not take that tone with me!" Victor yelled back. "You will thank me later in life - when you are campaigning for election."

"Politics!" Martin exclaimed. "Did you even think about consulting me about this? Mom! Do something!" He stared at her, eyes burning with rage.

"You should do want your father says," Sarah Fitzgerald said in a disinterested tone. "Darling, I think we should go to the gala that Governor Wallace is holding."

"Of course, darling," Victor said as he kissed his wife. "I am not done with you yet!" Victor added as he glared at Martin.

"And what are you going to do? Ground me!" Martin exclaimed. "Are you going to get a team of FBI agents to watch me?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Martin, I just want the best for you - that's all" Victor explained.

"As if you care - you just don't want me to embarrass you," Martin yelled. He turned and stormed out - slamming the door behind him.

"He was kind of strict, but he just wanted the best for me," Martin said in a quiet, lost tone. He looked out of the wreckage in the blizzard that surrounded them. Were they ever going to get out of this alive? Would he ever see his father again? He let his head fall into his hands. He couldn't believe that he just told Danny of all people about his childhood.

"Martin-Martin," Danny said frowning with concern as he watched Martin let his head fall into his hands. "Hey man, are you all right?"

"U-mm what?" Martin stammered as Danny pulled him out of his deepest, darkest thoughts. "U-mm yeah, sure, I-I mean I'm fine!"

"Are you sure?" Danny asked, his voice full with emotions and concern. He looked at Martin's pale face and shaking form. He found himself panicking again - was this because of what Martin had just told him or was it the head injury?

"I'm sure," Martin replied quietly and gave Danny a small smile. "I'm fine, Danny. I promise you - but I can't wait until that helicopter picks us up."

"Tell me about it," Danny sighed as he leaned back.

Meanwhile, helicopters circled the area of the planes last 'known location'. There was nothing but snow and ice. There was no sign of the plane, no sign of the wreckage. Just how bad was the crash, the pilot thought. He looked down and sadly shook his head; in his opinion, even if they had survived the crash, the survivors probably wouldn't survive the incoming storm.



Jack dug his fingernails into his scalp - what the hell had happened to Danny and Martin? He didn't understand. Someone would have seen something if some had happened to his agents. He closed his eyes tightly and massaged his temples, as he could feel a headache coming on. He rubbed his tired eyes and sighed - just waiting for the phone call or appearance of Deputy Director Fitzgerald.

"Jack, what the hell happened? Where is Martin?" Victor Fitzgerald yelled as he stormed into Jack's office.

"Victor, I-I don't know," Jack stammered, not knowing what else to say.

"What! Why the hell not? My son has been on your team for a few weeks and you let something like this happen?" Victor exclaimed as he slammed his fist down on Jack's desk for added affect.

"I would never put Martin in danger!" Jack yelled back. "He and Danny Taylor were flying back from San Diego after a case. We know they made it to the airport, but they cancelled the tickets," Jack started.

"You sent my son across the country with Agent Taylor?" Victor yelled.

"Danny Taylor is a good agent and he is on my team as is your son," Jack said as calmly as he could.

"I don't care - Martin is my son and I know that Agent Taylor has no family so all decisions will be going through me!" Victor said coldly.

"Danny may have no family but I am his emergency contact, so every decision that involves the both of them - well I hate to break to you Victor but I will be making those decisions as well!" Jack yelled back. He stood up and started to pace his office. "They are my agents and I know they are alive!"

"For God's sake Jack, you don't even know what happened to them or where they are," Victor yelled.

"I am following every single lead and I will not sleep until I have found them. If I knew where they were, do you really think I would be sitting here?" Jack exclaimed.

"You're obviously not trying hard enough!" Victor yelled. "I am going to get Martin's disappearance some press coverage."

"Good, I think that will help," Jack sighed. "So are we going to a joint interview or individual ones?"


"Danny is missing as well. I want his case to get press coverage as well," Jack explained calmly but he could feel his blood begin to boil.

"Right now, my main concern is Martin, and anyway, Agent Taylor's image will not sell - my son's will," Victor sneered.

"Danny is great agent and good kid. He's a success, he is living the American dream and if you don't think that image will sell, well I will sell it," Jack spat as he stormed out his office, unable to stay in the room with Victor Fitzgerald for a moment longer.

Viv frowned as she listened to Van Doran speaking with a couple of agents. She, like the rest of the team, had been avoiding Van Doran like the plague. She knew that she wouldn't rest until the boys had been returned safe and well. She sighed and poured herself a large mug of coffee knowing that she would be needing it. She frowned as heard the last part of Van Doran's conversation.

"I am sorry, ma'am, but I overheard you talking about one of the FBI planes that has crashed," Viv said, as she followed a hunch.

Van Doran frowned slightly. "We don't know much, apart from, we lost contact with the plane when it was flying over the Rookies and it was flying to New York."

Viv inhaled sharply, she some how knew the answer to her next question, but asked it all the same. "Where did the flight originate from?"

"San Diego," Van Doran replied.

Closing her eyes, she somehow knew that the boys were on that flight. The boys had probably been in the plane crash, they were still missing but at least now they knew where to look. But all she could think of was that they were probably hurt and cold - she didn't want to think of the other scenario that was playing out in her head.

"Agent Johnson?" Van Doran asked as she read Viv's tense body language. "Look if you didn't think I didn't notice what case you and Jack have been working on."

Viv looked up, knowing her game was up. "Do you have the passenger manifest?" she asked quietly.

"Agents Fitzgerald and Taylor were not on it, if that's what you were going to ask," Van Doran replied.

"I-I think that they are," Viv stammered. "They may not be on the passenger manifest, but I still think that they were on the flight."

"Why do you think that?" Van Doran asked curiously

"Because," Viv started. She turned around to the group of young male agents who stood around the coffee. "Can I ask you a theoretical question?" she asked them.

"Yes ma-am," one of the agents replied nervously.

"If you were flying back across the country from a case, and you had to stopover as well. What would you do if you saw one of the FBI planes' and found out it was taking the same route as you?" Viv asked

"I would see if I could get a seat on the FBI plane and I would cancel my ticket," the young agent replied.

Viv smiled softly. "Thank you," she said to the young agent. Turning her attention back to Van Doran, she added. "That's why I think Danny and Martin were on that plane."


Somewhere on the Rocky Mountains

"Where the hell are they?" Danny exclaimed, as he paced around the wreckage. "It's been two days Martin - why the hell aren't they here?" "I don't know Danny, but I am sure they will be here soon!" Martin replied as he rested his head against his knees.

"Didn't you hear me Martin? It's been two days! I think we should start walking while we still have a chance," Danny said as he started to storm off down the mountain.

"Danny!" Martin yelled, as he started to chase after him and tackled him. "Danny, listen to me," Martin yelled as he shook the struggling Danny. "Listen to me, man - we need to stay with the plane. When and if we do try to walk out of here, we are going to go prepared!"

"Fuck!" Danny swore. He sat up and scanned the bleak landscape - he didn't understand why people found it so beautiful. He didn't understand why people would come out to areas like this out of choice. "All I am saying is that if they don't arrive in, let's say two days, then I think we should walk out."

"I think that's a good plan, but we need to get the food, water, GPS units and the right clothing sorted," Martin explained. He looked at the wreckage and then to the mountains and wondered how they were going to walk out. He was an experienced rock climber and hiker but he doubted Danny was. "Did you ever go the mountains when you were a kid?"

"No," Danny said looking down; he really didn't want to talk about his childhood. "I went to the Everglades a couple of times though. - but they're nothing like this."

"That sounds cool. Who did you go with?" Martin asked, trying to divert Danny from continuing to panic.

"My brother, and it was cool. He use to let me drive once we got up there," Danny said in a distant lost tone.

"It must have been great to have an older brother," Martin said quietly as he tried to get Danny to open up more.

"Yeah it was - especially after our parents died. He always use make time for me," Danny said with a small smile. He closed his eyes and thought back to his childhood.

An 11 year old Danny Alvarez stood by the door with his head down. "Raffi," he whined. "Why do I have to go to school?"

"Because you have to, Danny and if you don't they will separate us - you know the rules," Raffi replied as he moved around their tiny apartment.

"But Raffi I hate it and it's so boring - what's the point?" Danny exclaimed as he started to play with the frayed strap on his school bag.

Raffi bent down in front of his little brother and held his shoulders. "Bro, you have something that I don't have and nor did Papi. You have a chance to have a far better life than I do!"

"What do I have?" Danny said in a slightly confused tone.

"You have a damn good brain, Danny. You work hard at school, get a good job and make Mom and me proud," Raffi said as he gave his baby brother a gentle hug. "One of us has to have the Merc or bemmer!"

Danny grinned, he returned his brother's hug and ran out the door to catch the bus - little did he know that was the last time he would see his brother alive. Several hours later, Danny ran into the apartment clutching his math test paper. He was grinning from ear to ear.

"Raffi," he called out. "Raffi, I got an A+ on my math test!"

Danny looked around the empty, silent apartment. Something was wrong - he knew it. Raffi was always home when he got home from school and if he wasn't he would have left a note. He slowly started to walk to this brother's room, but stopped. Something told him that something terrible lay within those walls. But he had to go in there - what if Raffi needed his help? He nervously pushed open the door and gasped. He closed his eyes, maybe when he opened them this would all be a dream. Very slowly and hesistantly he opened them again, only to be met with the same image.

"Raffi," he cried out and dropped down next his brother's body. He pulled the syringe out his brother's arm and threw it across the room. "No, Raffi please don't leave me. What I am going to do without you. I love you Raffi please wake, don't go," he sobbed. He cradled Raff's head in his arm and fell asleep - tears still streaming down his face.

"They found me two days later," Danny continued in a very quiet, lost tone. "I don't know. I guess I made an impression on the teachers because they noticed I was missing - at my school, that didn't usually happen."

Martin sat in stunned silence - not knowing what to say. "U-mm," he stammered. He wanted to say something lighted hearted but not insensitive, to break the silence. "U-mm, Doctor Harris would have a field day with us." He smirked hoping that Danny wouldn't see it as a dig at him.

"A field day?" Danny joked. "Man, she would have an annual conference and five book deal!"

The sat and joked on the mountainside, but what they didn't know was that two weather fronts were about collide above them. The extreme heat from the recent heat wave in Utah was about to collide with the icy mountain - causing one of the worse storms on record for the region.

Chapter 4

Resting his head against the cool glass, Jack asked himself, "Why was this happening?" Maybe he shouldn't of sent Danny and Martin across the country to work on a case – together. But he doubted it was the reason they were missing. He knew that they would watch each others' backs. He knew they wouldn't jeopardize each others' lives. No, there had to be a third party involved in the disappearance of his agents. Missing – Jack thought as he dug his fingernails into his scalp. He had been working missing persons for eleven years and he had been waiting… dreading for this day when someone close to him went missing. He closed his eyes – this could not be happening.

"Jack!" Viv called out as she approached her tired, guilt-ridden boss and friend. She frowned with concern when he didn't respond. "Jack," she tried again.

Slowly, he looked up to the voice that was calling his name. "Viv," he tried. "Have you got any leads?" He knew there wouldn't be, this case had been one dead end after another. It was as though the boys had disappeared off the face of the planet.

"Yes," Viv replied nervously. She had no idea how Jack would react to her news.

"What?" Jack exclaimed. "What is it? Do you know where the boys are?"

"Whoa, Jack, calm down. Okay?" Viv said calmly.

"I will not calm down until they have been returned safely and I am yelling at them for making me worry!" Jack ranted.

"Jack!" Viv exclaimed. "Are you going to let me tell you what the lead is or not?"

"I am sorry, Viv," Jack responded, raking his fingers though his untamed hair. "What have you got?"

"One of the FBI planes crashed somewhere over the Rookies," Viv started.

"And how is this relevant to Danny and Martin?" Jack exclaimed. "You said you had a lead!"

"If you would let me finish! The plane was flying from San Diego to New York," Viv explained. She stopped and let the weight of her words sink in.

"W-What?" Jack managed to stammer.

"Danny and Martin weren't on the passenger manifest, but-"

"This is Danny and Martin we are talking about. They wouldn't pass up a chance to fly on a private jet," Jack interjected solemnly. He rubbed a hand over his wearily face – now he had to deal with the lovely Deputy Director of the FBI. "Have they got a location yet?"

"Yes, but-" Viv stopped, not knowing how to phrase the next part.

"But what Viv? What aren't you telling me?" Jack demanded, he could feel his blood pressure rising. What was worse than the boys being in a plane crash?

"They haven't found anything, yet," Viv started but was soon cut off by Jack.

"What do you mean they haven't found anything?" Jack exclaimed.

"They can't find the plane or any of the wreckage," Viv said quietly.

"What? You can't just lose a 100ft plane – they are obviously aren't looking hard enough!" Jack yelled.

"Jack!" Viv exclaimed. "Calm down and listen to me. I know they are alive and they are way too stubborn to give up. They would probably stay alive just so they could annoy you once they got back."

"They don't annoy me," Jack said in a very quiet, lost voice.

"Sure they don't – they annoy me sometimes. But what I wouldn't give to have them in the office bickering with each other," Viv said gently. "We will get them back."

"I hope so Viv, I really hope so," Jack said quietly.

"We will, and then you can ground them, and chain them to their desks," Viv said light heartily

Jack produced a small smile. "Wish me luck. Now I have to deal with the wonderful Deputy Director," Jack said sarcastically.

Viv smiled. "You'll be fine. Just don't give him an inch and stand up for Danny," Viv said. She looked at Jack's slightly confused expression. "Jack, Martin has his father – who let I remind you is the Deputy Director of the FBI – Danny only has you. You have to make sure that Danny isn't passed over because of the power game."

Leaning back against the wall, he felt the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. "Don't worry," he sighed. "I promise I won't let that happen."

"I know, Jack," Viv said with a smile. "Oh and good luck."

"Thanks Viv," Jack said slightly sarcastically. He rolled his eyes. This was the moment he was dreading, when he had to tell Martin's father – the deputy director of the FBI no less – that his son had been in a plane crash. He slowly walked towards his office and rubbed his weary face. Taking a deep breath, he walked into the bear pit.

"What the hell was that about?" Victor yelled, as he stormed p to Jack. "I just want information on my son's case and you storm out – I hope this is not how you treat all of the victims' families. I will be taking this up with your supervisors."

Jack closed his eyes as Victor continued to rant, of course this wasn't how he treated the victims' families. It was just this case was striking a little to close to home. "Victor," he started quietly, "Victor, I have a lead on the case."

"You are just a cold, heartless bastard – my son could be dead or dying out there and you don't give a damn!" Victor exclaimed as he continued to rant – not hearing what Jack said.

"Victor," Jack started again. "Victor, damn-it listen to me!"'

Victor stopped and looked up, barely drawing breath. "What?" he yelled.

"We have reason to believe that Danny and Martin were in a plane crash," Jack explained – he stood and waited for Victor's onslaught of words.

"What?" Victor exclaimed – fear evident on his voice. "How do you know that, where's the evidence, is Martin okay?"

"One of the FBI planes was flying from San Diego to New York and it crashed en route," Jack explained.

"And you think my son was on that plane?" Victor started. He looked at Jack's fearful expression and knew the answer; it was all Taylor's fault. He just wished that his son wouldn't have had to mix with the scum of the earth. If he had taken a career in politics, Martin would be mixing with the right kind of people – not like Taylor and Malone. "Damn-it Jack, this has to be all Taylor's doing."

"What?" Jack said in disbelief. "Why the hell is it Danny's fault?"

"Because `Taylor' is the reason my son is on that flight!" Victor spat.

Feeling his blood boil, he hated the way Victor Fitzgerald said Danny's name as if it was some form of insult. "Danny is a good kid, he's smart and he's a good agent. He isn't perfect, but I hate to break it to you—neither is your son," Jack said coldly.

"What?" Victor said in a cold voice as he stood over Jack.

"Your son broke major protocol on his first day and could've got our missing person killed," Jack explained in a calm voice.

"What are you trying to say?" Victor exclaimed.

"I am saying that your son isn't perfect. Nor is Danny, nor am I and I hate to break it to you, but nor are you. We are human beings – we are naturally flawed. And it's just as much Martin's fault as it's Danny's why they are on that plane – but they didn't crash it."

"Why are you so protective over Taylor?" Victor asked. "He's only an agent."

"Because I have known him for four years. And he's a good person. And my team and I are basically the closest thing to family he's had in a very long time," Jack explained. "But they are both my agents and there's nothing I wouldn't do to get them back!"


Somewhere in the Rookie Mountains, CO

Danny stared at the bleak landscape. It had been four days since the crash and there had been no sign of rescue, so they had decided to walk out. He had asked Martin if he needed any help packing up the stuff they would need, but Martin had turned down the offer – telling him in a light-hearted tone that he would be in the way. Danny understood Martin's reasons, but he needed to do something. The thought of walking throughout the bleak mountainous terrain filled Danny a gut-wrenching fear. It wasn't that he wasn't physically fit; he ran three miles everyday – but this, the challenge he was about to undertake – he didn't think he could do it. Martin probably had been walking in the mountains from the moment he could walk. Leaning against the wreckage, he wrapped his arms around his chest as he let a cough escape. He had been gradually getting sick over the pass couple of days, but he hadn't let it show – he couldn't. Martin already had enough to think about – he didn't want to put anything else on his plate. He shook his head. It was probably nothing – the air was probably to clean and cold, he just needed time to get use to it. There was no point in worrying Martin about stupid fears.

"You all right, man," Martin said as he wandered out carrying supplies.

"W-What," Danny stammered, temporary confused by Martin's question, as it pulled him deep out his thoughts. "Sorry, I was just thinking. I'm fine," he quickly added.

"About what?" Martin asked, as he sunk down next to Danny.

"I may not have been a boy scout – but that cloud," Danny said as pointed the ominous black cloud that was rapidly approaching them. "That cloud looks like bad news."

"Shit!" Martin swore. "You're right, it's a snow cloud and from the look of things—a bad one!"

"So should we wait out the storm?" Danny asked nervously. He just wanted to be anywhere but on this mountain right now. It wasn't just the remoteness that scared him. But the sheer scale of the hike that they were about to undertake and the fact the incoming storm had Martin freaked out.

"U-mm," Martin said as he surveyed the area. Even with the wreckage, they were too exposed here and with the storm – there was a serious risk of avalanche. "We are too exposed here – we have to move."

"What are you talking about? There's a storm approaching, surely we shouldn't be walking in the mountains where we will be more exposed," Danny exclaimed nervously.

"You are right in theory, but my other concern is the risk of avalanches," Martin explained. He looked at Danny's fearful expression and added. "It will be fine. I am sure there will be a cave or something like that we can shelter in."

"But you don't know that!" Danny exclaimed. "You don't even know which way we are supposed to be going! You haven't even looked at the maps!"

"What maps? I would've looked at the fucking maps if you had told me about them!" Martin yelled, as once again, he could feel the tension rising between them.

"I did tell you about them! I even started to look at them and plan our route. But you think you are so high and mighty and think someone like me could never figure out a route," Danny yelled back. He turned and started down the mountain. What the fuck was Martin's problem? Was he the only one that was trying to get them the hell off this mountain?

"Oh don't play the `poor little Danny Taylor card' with me," Martin yelled. "Oh come on! How bad was your childhood? I bet it was paradise compared to mine."

"What – where the fuck did that come from? Danny yelled. "Do you really wanna hear what my childhood was like? Do you wanna hear that the bastard use to break bottles over me and stub cigarettes out on me – is that what you want to hear?"

"No Danny, I didn't. I'm sorry," Martin said instantly regarding what he said.

"I will fucking tell you about my `paradise' childhood," Danny yelled.

A seven-year-old Danny Alvarez quietly entered the family's apartment. He scanned the apartment – looking for any signs of his father. Finding none, he quickly walked towards his room, which he shared with Raffi. He wished on occasions that he had his own room, but the majority of the time he was thankful that he shared it with Raffi. Raffi, was his big brother and his protector. He shielded him from the worse of his father's abused, but today was not one of those days.

"You ungrateful brat, come here," Marco Alvarez yelled.

Danny felt himself freeze up with fear. He wanted to run and hide, but he knew if he did, the abuse would be worse. He closed his eyes and took a breath, by the sound of things; his father had been drinking – a lot. He just hoped that he hadn't done anything to piss his father off – but he knew he had. Everything he did was wrong. He raked his hands through his hair and tried to hide his fear – but it was pointless, his father could smell fear.

"Yes, Papi," Danny said in a small innocent voice.

"Don't play innocent with me," Marco yelled. He drunkenly swung the near empty whisky bottle around and gestured to a piece of paper on the table. "And your teachers have been phoning about you – why the hell are you drawing attention to yourself!"

"Papi I-I," Danny stammered as he looked down at his science paper. He hadn't studied much but somehow he had managed to get 95%. He looked down – what was he supposed to say? It wasn't as though he had studied for this test. He just found school easy.

"What the hell do you have to say for yourself," Marco growled. "Why the hell can't you be normal?" He stood over his youngest son and took a long swig of whisky. He had two useless sons. One was failing everything, while the other was some kind of genius – but both were drawing attention and he didn't like that.

"U-mm, I-I," Danny stammered as he looked around wildly for some form of escape – there was none. He felt a tear roll down his face and angrily wiped it away. He didn't want his father to see his fears – but he knew he had failed. He just hoped Raffi or his Mom would turn up before his father killed him.

"Cat got your tongue. boy?" Marco sneered as he emptied the whisky bottle – not wanting to waste the precious liquid on the poor excuse he had for a son. He smiled as he watched Danny look wildly around with his big, fearful eyes. He sighed. Danny was weak. He never put up much of a fight, so disappointingly this would be over quickly. He brought the empty bottle down hard on Danny's shoulder, laughing when Danny cried out.

"Oh come on, you pathetic brat," Marco laughed as he landed another sharp kick to his son's chest. He bent down and looked into Danny's pain and tear-ridden eyes. He smiled and pulled a pack of smokes from his pocket. He flicked the lighter in front of Danny and landed a hard punch to Danny's stomach. He never hit on the arms, legs or face, as it would leave marks, that the world to see. He lit up the cigarette and took a long drag. He smiled as he watched the fear dance across Danny's eyes. "So, Danny do you have any thing to say?"

"U-mm, y-yes," Danny managed to gasp though the pain. He tried to curl up into a defensive ball – knowing what was coming next. "I-I am so sorry Papi. It will never happen again."

"The thing is, Danny, it will and if you are not screwing up getting A+'s etc the teachers will notice and then I will get more phone calls and attention," Marco sighed. He took one final drag of the cigarette before slowly exhaling – blowing the smoke into Danny's eyes. "Danny, you have screwed up and there is nothing we can do about it," he sneered as he stubbed the cigarette out on Danny's shoulder.

Danny cried out in pain as he felt the cigarette burn his skin. The room darkened. The blackout was coming but he welcomed it this time – anything to get away from his father. If he was unconscious, he couldn't feel his father's abuse – so he went towards the darkness.

"What the hell have you done?"

Marco slowly looked around, to come face to face with his oldest son. "He screwed up so I taught him a lesson," Marco growled.

Raffi pushed passed his father, and gathered Danny up in his arms. "He's a little boy, Papi. Danny has done nothing wrong! You should be proud of him – Mom and I are!" Raffi exclaimed as he quickly checked his baby brother over for any life threatening injuries. He knew their father would never take Danny to a hospital - they would ask too many questions. So he pushed his father and stormed into his room. Danny began to whimper as he gently laid him on his bed. Raffi cradled Danny in his arms and stroked his hair. "It's okay, Danny, I've got you. He won't hurt you now – I promise. It's okay Danny-boy, I'm so proud of you," Raffi said in-between tears.

"That was my `picnic' childhood, Martin and if you think it got better after my parents died then you are sadly mistaken," Danny yelled. He felt tears begin to stream down his face and angrily wiped them away. He wanted to get as far away as possible from Martin but he knew he couldn't. Why the hell did Martin have to bring up his childhood now?

"D-Danny I'm so sorry; I didn't mean it like that, I'm so sorry man. There is no excuse for my behaviour, but I am sorry," Martin stammered as he slowly approached Danny. "I know its no excuse, but with the snow and everything…well…I guess- I'm sorry Danny that I is no excuse."

Danny collapsed and buried his head in his hands – not wanting Martin to see his tear streaked face. He could understand what Martin was saying this whole situation was getting to him as well – probably the reason why all of his tightly guarded emotions were so close to the surface. "Its okay," he managed to sniff.

"Okay," Martin said as he looked towards the plane. He had looked at the maps and had seen what looked like a cave just over half a mile from here. He could run half a mile in two minutes in normal conditions – but these were not normal conditions. With the thin air, the deep snow and minimum amount of supplies they were taking they had to start moving now before the storm hit. "Danny, there is what looks like a cave half a mile from here, but we have to go now if we wanna make it before the storm."

Danny continued to stare at his feet. As much as he hated it, he had to rely on Martin – his life depended on it. He slowly pulled himself to his feet, biting back a cough as he did. "What are we waiting for – let's go."


26 Federal Plaza

Jack sat silently at one end of the conference room – Victor Fitzgerald sat at the other. They had barely exchanged a word since they had been here.

"Do you think my son is still alive?"

The question had been said so quietly and suddenly that it had caught Jack completely off guard. "U-mm, sorry? Yes I do," Jack managed stammer. "I may have only known Martin for a few weeks, but I know he is tough, smart and stubborn - so is Danny. Victor, we will get them back alive."

"And what we if don't?"

"I-I don't know," Jack stammered.

"The thing is Jack, that you would have only lost two agents, you can replace them. But I would've lost a son – I could never replace Martin," Victor explained.

Jack closed his eyes and thought of his girls – he didn't know what he would do if something happened to them. But Victor was wrong, the boys are irreplaceable. "Victor I have two girls. I don't want to even think about what I do if I lost them. But you're wrong. I couldn't just replace Danny and Martin – they are vital, irreplaceable part of my team."

Victor was just about to answer, when someone entered the room. Both men looked up nervously – not knowing what to say. The small, fat man cleared his throat. "Are you here for agents Fitzgerald and Taylor?" he asked.

"Yes," Victor said as he stood up and shook the man's hand. "My name is Deputy Director Victor Fitzgerald of the FBI," Victor said, enhancing that the fact he was the Deputy Director of the FBI. "I am Martin's father."

"Y-Yes sir," the man stammered. "My name is George Thompson of the FFA. I am investigating the disappearance of flight GA -34524 NY." He glared at Jack. "Who are you?"

"Special Agent Jack Malone," Jack said, as he extended his hand.

George glared at Jack. "I am sorry, but you are not family member. So I can't divulge any form of information."

"What?" Jack exclaimed. He stood over George Thompson and coldly glared at him. "Special Agent Taylor has no family and as I am his emergency contact – I will acting on the behalf of his family – understand?"

"Y-Yes," George stammered. He looked around wildly; he didn't know how these two men would react when he told them the little, but depressing news. "U-mm at 1800 we lost radio contact with flight GA – 34524 NY."

"So it may not have crashed?" Victor asked, staring at the squiring figure of George. "If you have only lost radio contact with it, then it may have been hijacked."

"Y-Yes, that is true, and while the beacons have not been activated, I don't believe that flight GA – 34524 NY was a victim of hijacking."

"Why not?" Victor demanded.

"Because I believe, we would have received a ransom demand by now," George explained nervously.

"Not necessarily," Jack said speaking up for the first time. He cleared his throat as two sets of eyes stared at him. "That plane has a range of several thousand miles, they could've flown it down to South America where the kidnapper could've dealt with it on their own turf. But there is another reason why you think the plane wasn't hijacked."

"Yes sir, u-mm well flight GA – 34524 NY just disappeared off the radar and no hijacking could have done that. Also, we have had no visuals on it," George explained.

"So what are you doing to get my son back?" Victor growled.

"We have several rescue helicopters and search planes sweeping the area. Sir, we will get your son back – I promise you. I will personally make sure that we get Martin back," George reassured.

Jack stopped pacing the room and looked up. He glared at George and Victor – did they have any value on Danny's life. He stormed up to them. "And what about Danny's life? Does that have any value?" Jack yelled.

"Yes sir. Of course it does," George stammered.

"It's just saving Danny wouldn't move you up the DC ladder," Jack yelled. "But you better listen to me. Danny has worked in the New York office for five years, he is well known and well liked – so a lot of people wouldn't be happy if you didn't treat his life the same as Martin's. Oh and another thing George, I will take his death personally," Jack growled as he stormed out of the office.


Somewhere in Rookie Mountains, CO

Martin put the last of the metal sheeting up, just as the wind started to howl. He shivered slightly and looked down the cave to where Danny was. He was concerned about him – Danny had been quiet and withdrawn during the walk over. At first Martin wasn't too concern but then he had seen Danny was struggling. He knew Danny was as fit as he was – he had been running in the park and met Danny. Wanting to prove himself, he had pushed himself as hard Danny – he found Danny and himself had been equally matched. But during the walk over, Danny had been clearly struggling – if he was struggling now on relatively easy terrain how was he going to cope with the rest of the trek?

"Man, are you okay?" Martin asked as he sat down next to Danny. He still felt guilty for pushing Danny earlier – he really didn't mean to pry in to Danny's obviously painful childhood.

"I am fine. Why wouldn't I be?" Danny said quickly and defensively. He looked down and continued to busy himself with the fire. He had rigged up a device, which enabled them to burn a fire and not die from smoke inhalation.

"Nothing," Martin said slowly. "Look, Danny, I am really sorry about before. I never meant to pry. I never meant to imply that your childhood was a picnic. I am really sorry, man."

"It's fine, it's in the past," Danny said absentmindedly, as he continued to stare into the fire. It was so cold in here, even right next to the fire he felt cold. He held back another cough that he could feel brewing in his chest. He didn't want Martin to think that he was weak. He didn't want Martin to have something that he could use against him.

"Are you sure your all right? I mean you seemed to be struggling a little," Martin said

"What?" Danny exclaimed. "What the hell is your problem? Everything is a competition with you, isn't it?" He tried to bit back the cough but couldn't and started to have a coughing fit.

Martin grabbed a bottle of water and quickly uncapped it, handing it to Danny. "Easy man, it's okay. Just breathe and take small sips," Martin coached.

"Thanks," Danny said breathlessly, as the coughing fit ended. He looked away and silently swore – why couldn't he keep it together? Why was he so weak? He took a long swig of water and continued to gaze at the fire.

"It's okay to ask for help – it's not a sign of weakness," Martin said quietly.

"I am not weak. I am fine, I just have a cough, that's all," Danny said as he started to nervously rant. "I am not weak, Martin. Why do you think I am fucking weak!"

"Listen to me! I do not think you are weak – far from it. But it's okay to ask for help, it's not a sign of weakness. I know it's hard. It took me a while to realise it and half the time I don't ask for help when I should. But this is a different situation Danny – we are relying on each other."

"And who told you that?" Danny exclaimed

"My Aunt Bonnie," Martin replied.

A nine year old Martin Fitzgerald hung his head as he watched his parents pack up to go on yet another trip. He watched his father with added interest as he yelled on the phone at some poor person.

"Damn it," Victor Fitzgerald yelled.

"What is it?" Sarah Fitzgerald asked as she sipped her coffee.

"Mary Lyman – the new au pair – has called to say she can't do it, something about family problems," Victor spat.

"What are we going to about him?" Sarah exclaimed as she pointed at Martin.

"I don't know. I guess I could phone my sister," Victor suggested. He picked up his phone and quickly dialed Bonnie's number. "Bonnie, its Victor…. yes I am fine… look can you do me a favour and take Martin… Great, I will see you half an hour."

"Is it worked out?" Sarah asked hesitantly, as she looked between her husband and her son.

"Yes Bonnie has agreed to take Martin for the whole summer," Victor said, he looked at his son and gave him a small smile. "I am sure you will have a great summer Martin, probably a hell of a lot better than with an au pair."

Martin slowly nodded, to be honest he really didn't know what to do. But as the news slowly sunk in he produced a small smile. He loved Bonnie and her family, it was a place where he could feel like a child. Half an hour later, they arrived outside Bonnie's family home. After the cold, slightly official farewells from his mother and father, he looked down at his case and bit back the tears that threatened to fall. He slowly looked up, when he felt a set of comforting hands on his shoulders.

"It's okay, Martin, you can ask for help – its not a sign of weakness," Bonnie said soothingly.

"But I-I," Martin stammered, as he could feel his defences slowly breaking down.

"You are not weak, Martin, but it takes a strong person to ask for help," Bonnie said gently as she hugged him.

Martin let himself collapse into Bonnie's comforting embrace and let the tears fall. He didn't know why he was crying – his life was better that most people's.

"How about you help me make some cookies?" Bonnie suggest with a smile.

Martin produced a small smile and took Bonnie's hand and let her lead him into the warm family home – a place that felt more like home that his.

"Most kids spend their whole childhood not wanting to be treated like children but I loved it. When I was at my Aunt Bonnie's, I was a child, not an adult in a child's body," Martin said quietly. He closed his eyes as he listened to the howling storm outside – which sounded like it was getting worse.

Danny frowned with concern as he looked at Martin, sensing Martin wanted to change the subject. "The storm sounds like it's getting worse out there."

"Yeah I am glad we moved from the plane," Martin replied. "At least it's warm in here."

"True, but how long do you think this storm will last?" Danny asked nervously.

"I dunno, but if it lasts any longer, we may be trapped in here," Martin exclaimed.

Chapter 5

Rocky mountains, CO 108 hours missing

Martin hung his head. He couldn't believe he was going to die like this. He thought that he would be married with kids and grandkids before he died. But no – it looked as though he was going to die in this cave with Danny. "We are going to fucking die in here!" Martin yelled out fear and frustration.

"No we're not." Danny said his voice full of determination, as he looked up from the fire.

"And how the hell to do you know?" Martin exclaimed.

"Because we are damn lucky we are in this cave – if we weren't, we'd be dead," Danny said calmly.

"Don't you think I know that?" Martin yelled. "No , we are going to die right here in this fucking cave. We are trapped in here now, Danny!" Martin yelled, as he started to pace the small area.

"We're not trapped," Danny replied again in a calm voice "Once the storm is here, we will move the fire and heat up the metal panels – thus melting the snow and freeing us."

Martin blinked and stared at Danny. He shook his head. Why the hell was he freaking out? Why the hell couldn't he keep it together? "Damn-it. I'm sorry Danny, I-I," Martin stammered as he held his head in his hands.

"It's okay man, I mean you have kept together up to now – I haven't," Danny reassured as he looked down. "U-mm I-I. Tell me the truth, what do you think our chances are for walking out here of here?"

"I don't know Danny, I really don't," Martin sighed. He looked at Danny, he could've sworn he looked paler – but maybe it was just the gloomy light. "I don't know, u-mm how are you feeling? Are you okay?"

Danny looked down, he wasn't fine – but Martin didn't need to know that. "I'm fine, just not use to all this clean air and mountain shit," he joked. He looked up and smiled – hoping that Martin would be convinced.

"Okay, if the storm clears and we get out of the cave, we may able to walk out. I mean, in theory, we should have stayed with the plane, but something felt wrong. So now our best chances lies in us being able to walk out," Martin said depressingly.

"No, Martin. You are wrong. Our best chances lie with Jack," Danny said – his voice full of hope.

"Do you really think Jack will be still looking for us?" Martin questioned.

"I don't think, I know he will be. He won't rest until he has found us," Danny reassured. "I just hope he gets to us before the storm does."

Several hours later

Danny opened one eye and scanned the area. The howling wind appeared to have stopped, but there was no sign of Martin. He sat up and looked around the cave blearily eyed.

"Martin?" he called out nervously. He squinted as he turned towards the cave entrance, to see that it was open.

"How are you feeling?" Martin asked from the cave entrance.

"Fine, how long have you been up?" Danny questioned quickly as he slowly got up and stood next to Martin.

"A few hours," Martin said absentmindedly.

"A few hours?" Danny exclaimed. "Why didn't you wake me, we could have started walking out!"

"You looked like you needed to sleep in and anyway it took a few hours to melt the snow – so it was pointless waking you," Martin explained. "Why don't grab something to eat before we head out?"

"Okay," Danny said in a distracted tone, as gazed out across the mountainous landscape. Yesterday had been really hard work and he knew it was only going to get worse. The terrain was going to get harder and their food sources were going to run low – in short they would be lucky if they ever saw New York again. He pulled out a couple of energy bars that they had found in the plane. He started to eat one of the tasteless bars. "So how far are we going to walk today," Danny asked trying to keep the fear out of his voice.

"Whatever we can manage," Martin said. He looked across at Danny and added. "It will be fine; it's always hard to begin with."

"Yeah," Danny said in a small, lost voice. "I'm ready. Let's go."

"Only if you are sure you are ready," Martin said as he pulled the GPS units and handed one to Danny.

"I'm sure," Danny said with a small smile.

"Okay then, we will do the same thing as we did on the way over here. This way we won't come separated," Martin explained as he hand Danny a rope. "Danny, it will be fine. You will be back in New York before you know it."

After several hours of walking, Danny collapsed to the ground after Martin called out that they were taking a break. He held his head in his hands and breathed hard. Before he knew it he was having a coughing fit, he felt as though he was about to break a rib. He felt a hand on his shoulder and a bottle of water waved in front of his face.

"It's okay, man. Just breathe," Martin coached, as he squeezed Danny's shoulder.

"Thanks," Danny gasped breathlessly as he took a swig of water. He closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around his chest. Why was this happening now, of all times? He was exhausted; all he wanted to do was sleep. But he couldn't – he had to keep on pushing, he had to keep on going – but he didn't know if he could.

Martin looked at Danny's downcast expression with concern and wondered what he could say. He barely knew Danny – they'd spent most of their time avoiding each other and when they were paired up they barely spoke to each other. He took a breath as he tried to think of a `safe' topic. "So why did you join the FBI?" Martin asked.

Danny sighed, "Do you want hear the FBI interview version or what the catalyst was?" He closed his eyes, he was relieved that Martin changed the subject. He didn't want to talk about his heath, or about the hike. Even talking about his pass with Martin was better than that.

"What the catalyst was, I guess," Martin replied.

"I was thirteen and I was dealing with a lot of stuff. But due to a run in with a local gang, I met Special Agent Toby Jackson," Danny started.


"I told you. Raffi is dead," a thirteen year old Danny stammered as he backed up against the wall. His eyes wildly darted around the abandoned warehouse.

"Why don't I believe you – you lying little brat?" one the gang members sneered as slowly advanced up to Danny. "Your brother owes us money."

"I-I swear to you Raffi is dead. He probably died from some crap you sold him," Danny yelled – his temper getting the better of him. He instantly regretted it the moment he said it as he watched one of the gang members flick out a knife. He felt himself shake with fear as the knife glinted in the sunlight.

"I only sell the very finest of merchandise," Jason Roberts – one of the gang members – leered. "See the thing is Alvarez, I don't really care whether or not your brother is dead – I just want the money!"

"How much did my brother owe?" Danny stammered. He franticly scanned the warehouse again – looking for a way of escape.

"$40,000 and I want it now," Jason demanded coldly.

"I-I don't have that kind of money," Danny said nervously. He felt beads of sweat run down his back – it wasn't because of the hot humid Miami air, but it was because of fear. "But I can get it – it's just going to take time," he quickly added.

"TOO… much time," Jason growled as he slammed Danny against the wall. "But little man if you work for us your can start paying off your debt."

"B-But it's Raffi's debt, not mine," Danny exclaimed nervously. He swallowed and took a deep breath as he listened to the other gang members laugh around him.

"As you said Raffi is dead – it's your debt now," Jason explained evilly. "So are you going to join us or not."

"I-I," Danny stammered as he looked round of means of escape. If he joined them, he would lead the life Raffi led and looked what happened to him. Besides he wanted to make Raffi and his mother proud – and if this meant dying in this warehouse then so be it. "No – No I don't want to join you," Danny said determinedly.

"What?" Jason exclaimed in shock – no one had turned down his `offer' to join the gang before. "I suggest you reconsider," he said as he stabbed Danny in the chest.

Danny felt the world spin as he clutched his chest and fell to the ground. So this was it – this is what dying felt like. He tried to take a deep breath but it was too difficult and painful. He watched as though he was in some kind of trance as he watched his blood began to pool around him. His only chance stood with the monsters around him – but he would die before he joined them and looked as though that was going to happen.

"So have you reconsidered?" Jason growled as he kicked Danny in the chest.

"Y-Yes," Danny gasped. This was the end – he knew it, but there was no way he was going to join them. He was going to make Raffi and his mum proud of him.

"And your answer is?" Jason sneered as he stood over Danny's broken body.

"And the answer is still the same – no," Danny said, his voice barely more than a whisper now. He closed his eyes as Jason stood over him with a gun. So this was it, he was finally going to see Raffi and his mom again. He waited for the sound of the gunshot, he waited for the impact of the bullet – but it never came. He vaguely heard the door being kicked down and voices yelling – but he was too far gone to care. He just wanted to give in – to leave this life of hell, but someone else had other ideas. Why did Jason what to save him, Danny thought as he cried out as someone pressed down on his stab wound.

"Hey kid, its okay. My name is Toby and I am with the FBI, you're going to be okay but I just need you to open your eyes for me," Toby said in a soothing and reassuring voice.

Danny slowly and cautiously opened his eyes a crack, to be met with the blurry image of an older man in a suit. He closed his eyes again – it was just too difficult to keep them open. He wanted to slip into a peaceful eternal slumber – away from all of the pain and fear. But he felt Toby tapping his cheek again.

"Hey kiddo you have to stay awake," Toby said gently as he ran a hand through Danny's hair. "What's your name?"

"D-Danny," Danny said, his speech slurred from the blood loss.

"Okay, Danny you're going to be fine, but you just have to keep eyes open for me – can you do that?" Toby asked gently.

Danny weakly nodded. "I'll try," he slurred. He didn't know how much time had passed when the medics arrived. He was so tired, he just wanted to sleep but amidst the confusion he heard Toby's voice - telling him to hang on and fight. But it was so difficult – he couldn't. He felt his body slipping towards the darkness against his will.

He slowly blinked his eyes open. He didn't feel as cold as before nor did he feel the excruciating pain – he felt strangely groggy – did this mean he was dead? He let his eyes explore the room as he tried to work out where he was. The room was sterile, white and had a cold feel to it. He looked to one side and frowned with confusion when he saw the bank of machines – where was he? He tried to sit up but gasped in pain and clutched his side as pain shot through it. He heard a gentle voice and set of hands pushing back down. He frowned and looked towards the voice.

"Danny, you're in hospital but you're going to be fine," a doctor said as she checked Danny's vitals.

"Hospital?" Danny said in confusion as he tried to put his jumbled thoughts together.

"Yes, you were stabbed remember?"

Danny closed his eyes, as his mind began to put his jumbled thoughts together. He looked around for any sign of Jason. Jason and his drug buddies would be looking for him for payment. "Yes," Danny said quietly as let himself get lost in his thoughts.

"An Agent Jackson wants to talk to you when you're feeling up to it."

"T-The FBI wants to talk to me?" Danny stammered nervously – having completely forgotten meeting Toby in the warehouse in his delirious state. He looked away, he had been in trouble with the police before for a couple of stupid kid things. But the FBI – that was serious, even his father hadn't been in trouble with the FBI.

"Shall I tell him you are ready to talk to him?" the doctor asked.

"I guess so," Danny said quietly.

A few hours later, Danny sat nervously on his hospital bed waiting for the FBI to end his life. He couldn't believe that he had got in trouble with the FBI.

"Danny," Toby said as he approached the nervous looking Danny.

Danny's head shot up and span around to face the voice. "U-mm," he stuttered.

"How are you Danny?" Toby asked as he sat down next to Danny's bed.

"Are you with the FBI?" Danny nervously blurted out.

Toby frowned but then smiled. The poor kid had been semi conscious through massive blood loss, so of course he probably didn't remember him. "My name is Special Agent Toby Jackson, I met you at the warehouse."

"You did?" Danny exclaimed nervously. "I am sorry Special Agent Jackson but I can't remember you."

"That's okay, you were semi conscious at the time," Toby said with a kind, reassuring smile. He observed Danny's nervous body language and added. "It's okay. You are not in trouble, I just need to ask you a few questions – if that's alright?"

Danny racked his brains and then it came to him – the voice and the smile. Toby had been at the warehouse – he saved his life. "U-mm I don't know if help but I will try," Danny said. He looked down – his life was over, either way he looked at it. He might as well die helping the FBI.

"Danny if you are worried about what the gang will do, we can protect you," Toby said, as he looked into Danny's fearful eyes.

"How are you going to do that?" Danny asked nervously, as he stared down at his hands with great interest.

"We can change your name and move you. Due to your age, the DA won't force you to testify in court," Toby explained. "Its up to you Danny, no one will force you into anything."

"U-mm so I will go into witness protection?" Danny asked

"Sort of, it won't be official. These guys are fairly low level and stupid. If you aren't Danny Alvarez of Miami anymore, they won't be looking for you," Toby explained.

"Any name, anywhere in the world?" Danny asked with added interest. He had a chance to start over and this time he wasn't going to blow it.

"Not quite, but how about New York?" Toby asked. He knew Danny wanted to go to New York, after he had gone through Danny's possessions and had found a dog-eared Fodor's copy of New York.

"New York! That sounds cool," Danny said with a small smile.

"Danny Taylor of New York – sound good," Toby asked

"Sounds very good. So what do you want to know about Jason Roberts and the gang," Danny asked. So he told Toby everything he knew about the gang – knowing that he would be safe from them and that he was leaving his old life behind.

End of Flashback

"Toby is the reason I joined the FBI," Danny said slightly distantly. "I screwed up after I finished law school. I was sorting out my apartment and I found Toby's card. I don't why but I found myself phoning him."

"And he persuaded you to join the FBI?" Martin said

"Not really, I guess my mind was already made up. I phoned him, well I don't know why I phoned him – but I'm glad I did," Danny said slightly rambling. He racked his hands through his hair and coughed slightly. "We talked about what I had done, what I wanted to do and he ended up suggesting the FBI. He helped me get ready for the tests and academy."

"He sounds like a really cool guy," Martin said as he dug into their supplies and pulled out a tasteless energy bar.

"He is, I am still in contact him. After a tough case, I sometimes will phone him. You know just to talk things through," Danny said in a far off tone. "You know it's just…"

"He must be a great person to talk to. I mean he's not on the team, but he's not a stranger so he understands the job," Martin suggested. He wished he had someone like that to talk to, especially after the tough cases. After the tough cases he either ran several miles until he threw up or he sat at home staring at the TV hoping his father wouldn't call.

"Yeah I am really lucky I have a lot of really good people in my life," Danny said as he stood up. He looked around him. He felt like hell, but he had to keep going. The farther he when today, the harder he pushed himself – the more likely he would see the people he loved his life again. "Let's go; I really want to do a few more miles before nightfall."

"Sounds like a plan. Are you sure you're up for it?" Martin asked, his voice laced with concern.

"I'm fine Martin," Danny lied. "But I'll tell you what I will be more than fine when are sitting in the office being yelled at by Jack."

"You know it's a crappy situation when we want to be yelled at by Jack," Martin joked as he stood up and started walking.


26 Federal Plaza 114 hours missing

Jack buried his face in his hands, as he vaguely listened to George and Victor discussing plane crash. He had felt like an outsider since the moment Victor had mentioned the fact that he was the Deputy Director of FBI. He was simply an FBI agent who was looking for his agents. It was like `they' didn't put any value on Danny's life, like Danny's life was worthless to them. He leaned back on the chair and thought of Viv's words before he entered this godforsaken room. Danny's only chance to be heard was through him. He cleared his throat causing the two other men to look around.

"Danny is a tough kid, there is no way he would just give up," Jack said.

"I am sorry Agent Malone, but I have looking through Agent Taylor's file and spoken to Deputy Director Fitzgerald here; there is nothing to suggest that he has it in him to survive," George explained.

"Firstly, it's Special Agent Malone and you are talking about Special Agent Taylor. Special Agent Taylor may not have mountain experience that Martin has," Jack started. He stood up and walked over to George and stared down him. "But you are wrong; Danny has more than enough in him to help him survive. He's tough, brave and stubborn. There is no way in hell that he would just give up and neither will I!"

"Jack, we are only stating facts!" Victor exclaimed.

"No you are not," Jack cut in as he glared at Victor. "You know nothing about Danny, you barely know your own son!"

"I would watch your mouth," Victor yelled as he stood up and glared at Jack. "Of course I know my own son. He's been my son for 30 years and he's only been on your team for two months. I know my son."

"I don't think that you know him as much as you think you do. I let him god damn breathe, Victor!" Jack exclaimed.

"He's certainly changed since he joined your team," Victor sneered.

"Yes he has – he's more relaxed. I expect my agents to work their asses off. But I also need them to be able to relax, because if they don't - they are not going to do their job properly," Jack explained coldly. "You suffocated him so much that you don't realise what a great individual he is."

"How dare you talk to me like that about my son," Victor yelled.

The two agents glared at each other for several moments, before George interrupted them. "Excuse me Deputy Director and Agent Malone, I have an update," George said sombrely.

"What is it?" Victor growled his eyes not leaving Jack for a moment.

"I think you should both sit down," George suggest nervously. He looked down at the floor for a couple of moments. He was terrified of how these two agents might react when he told them his latest terrible update.

Jack felt his heart skip a beat. "W-What," he managed to stammer.

"T-That was James Styles of the search and rescue, u-um he," George stuttered. "U-mm h-he."

"He what?" Victor yelled. "What has happened to my son?"

"U-mm Styles, well u-mm. The search has been called off because of the storms and avalanches. He believes that there is no way hell that anyone could have survived," George blurted out.

Both men look down and stared at floor. Jack was the first to recover. "But they are restarting the search after the storms have passed, right?" he said in desperation.

"Well u-mm, it's well. When they do, it will be a recovery mission. But that won't be for several weeks as the region is set to be hit by several weather fronts," George said sadly.

"You-you think my son is dead. You think Martin is dead," Victor stammered as he held his head in his hands. He felt tears threatening to fall and angrily bit them back. He was a Fitzgerald – he wasn't supposed to cry.

"I am sorry sir, but I have looked at the data myself. And in my opinion, there is no way they could be still alive," George continued gloomily. "U-mm sir I need your consent to, u-mm." George trailed off, not know how to phase the information.

"You-you n-need my consent for the search to be called off?" Victor said into his hands. "Y-you really think that Martin is dead?"

"Unfortunately, that's what the evidence points to. Sir, you are not consenting for the search to be called off, you are just signing to say that you understood what I told you," George explained. "I am sorry, sir."

Victor hastily grabbed the form and scrod his signature at the bottom, before bolting out of the room. Jack turned away as George pushed the form towards him. He wasn't going to sign it; he wasn't going to sign something that affectively signed the boys' death warrant. The boys were still alive - he knew it. They were out there somewhere, they needed his help – and he wasn't going to fail them.

"Agent Malone, please, can you sign this?" George pushed.

"No – my agents are still alive. I am not going to sign their death warrant," Jack growled.

"I am sorry, Agent Malone, but you have no legal power. The deputy director does, but you are not Agent Taylor's legal guardian, nor do you have power of attorney," George explained.

Jack glared at George, what the hell did he think he was doing? Didn't he know that Danny and Martin were still alive? Everyone else may have given up on the boys but he wasn't

"Screw you, George – take your form and shove it up your ass. My agents are still alive and even if you have given up on them – I haven't," Jack growled as he stood up and stormed out of the room – slamming the door behind him.


Rocky Mountains, CO 122 hours missing

Martin closed his eyes briefly as he felt his legs burn from exposure. He knew Danny wasn't well and he was worried that it was turning into pneumonia. But he had to hand it to Danny, he hadn't complained once. He had carried soldiering on. So this was the strength that Sam was talking about – he just hoped it would last.

"Hey man, are you okay? Do you want a break?" Martin called back.

"U-mm yeah that would be great," Danny gasped breathlessly, as he clutched his aching ribs. As soon as Martin stopped, he collapsed to the ground and tried to take deep but painful breaths.

Martin was by his side in a second. "Easy man. It's okay, Danny. Just relax," Martin said. He closed his eyes as he sat down next to Danny. He wanted to yell and cry out – this was so insanely unfair. Hadn't the plane crash been enough? It wasn't Danny's fault he was getting sick, Danny was pushing himself to the limit and probably passed it. He just didn't know how much longer Danny could keep going. But whatever happened he was not leaving this place without Danny – he owed that to the team.

"Are you all right?" Danny asked in concern at Martin's far off expression.

"What? Yeah, I'm fine, man," Martin managed to say as Danny pulled him deep out of his thoughts? "What about you?"

"Me? Well – I'll live," Danny said with a smile.

"Danny!" Martin started his voice full of concern and fear. For Danny to say that he was anything but fine – meant that there was something seriously wrong.

"It will be fine. Why don't you tell me why you joined the FBI now?" Danny said as he quickly changed the subject. Anything to avoid talking to about himself.

"Do want the FBI interview version or my version?" Martin asked with a smirk.

"Considering the FBI interview version is probably the same as mine, I'll go for your version," Danny said grinning.

""Well apart from the chicks and the guns," Martin started in a light hearted tone. He looked over at Danny – who was grinning like a Cheshire cat. "It has a lot to do with my father."


Martin groaned and rolled over as the phone woke him. He had been out celebrating the end of his exams until the early hours and was defiantly feeling the affects of it. He groaned again and picked up the phone – hoping it wasn't his father.

"Hello," he said groggily

"Martin, it's your father."

Martin groaned again and looked at his watch. "Dad its seven o' clock in the morning," Martin exclaimed.

Victor Fitzgerald ignored his son's last comment. "I'm in town with Senator Lennon and Joseph Chadband," Victor said in his annoyingly arrogant voice.

"Yeah right, u-mm okay," Martin said as he forced his hungover mind into gear. "Who is Joseph Chadband?"

"Martin, he's the chairman for the Republican party in Washington state," Victor exclaimed.

"Sorry dad, what do you want me to do about it," Martin said as he tried to keep the annoyed tone out of his voice.

"I am thinking about your career," Victor exclaimed, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "I want you to meet with us for lunch and discuss your future."

Right, Martin thought, more like you and the political heavy weights will discuss my future while I sit there and smile and nod at the right places. "Sure Dad. When and where?" Martin found himself saying.

"The Ivy at one o' clock," Victor replied sharply.

"Okay. See you there," Martin sighed – as if I have a choice he thought.

Several hours later Martin wandered through campus with a down cast expression. He had just spent three hours having his future discussed. Apparently he was going to do some accountancy course and charity work. When he turned 25, he was going to campaign for one of the state congress seats – which was apparently was going to come available in a few years. It was as though his future had be planned, all needed to do now was mail order the wife, kids, dog and house with a white picket fence. He looked down and carried on walking to his room

"Hey man you should look where you are going," a voice said as he bumped into them.

Martin looked up. "Oh shit. Sorry, Mike," he said as he came face to face with his best friend.

"Let me guess, you have just had lunch with your father."

"Yeah," Martin sighed. "God he is such an ass, why can't he just stay the hell out of my life?"

"Because he's your father," Mike joked

"What are you doing now man?" Martin asked as he leaned against the wall.

"I'm going to the careers fair, but I guess you have had your career planned," Mike joked

"They may have planned my career but they can't force me to do it," Martin said as he started to walk towards the careers fair.

Mile jogged to catch up with Martin. "With your father, I don't doubt that," he joked

Martin wandered into the careers fair. He didn't know why he was drawn to the FBI stand, it was as though he was in some kind of trance. He found himself standing there staring at the information before he heard a voice.

"So you're interested in joining the FBI?"

"U-mm, yeah," Martin managed to stammer. He sighed it wasn't just to piss his father off but it was career he could see himself doing – unlike politics. "I've just graduated in criminal justice and I was about start on an accountancy course."

"Excellent," the FBI recruiter said, as he pushed over an application form. "So what's your name?"

"Martin, Martin Fitzgerald," Martin said with an easy smile, as he waited for the comments about his father.

"This is going to sound like a strange question, but do you know Victor Fitzgerald?" the FBI recruiter said

"He would be my father," Martin replied with a smile

"Following in your father's great career, I hope."

"Something like that," Martin replied.

End of flashback

"So that's how I joined the FBI – not exciting as you," Martin said with a smile.

"I don't know – escaping for the cruel world of politics sounds pretty cool to me," Danny replied. "So Senator Fitzgerald shall we start walking again."

"Hey – in a few years time, that would have President Fitzgerald, thank you very much," Martin joked as he stood up.

"I think you will find that it would be, President Taylor. That has a nice ring to it, don't you think?" Danny said with a massive grin.

"President Taylor. God help us," Martin exclaimed in mock disgust.

"Not as bad as my grouchy Secretary of Defence, Jack Malone," Danny joked.

"I don't know if I would have Jack as my Secretary of Defence or State. I think he would be quite good at it," Martin said as he walked around, observing the terrain.

"If some country or head of state didn't do want he wanted, he would growl or scare them until they did," Danny joked. "Of course I would make sure that you and the girls would have some high ranking and important job."

"Me too," Martin replied. "So who would be your chief of staff – you know the person you would trust with your life?"

"I don't know," Danny replied. "Who would be yours?"

"I don't know," Martin said as he walked towards the ledge. He didn't realise that it was only supported by ice not rock. It wasn't designed to hold the weight of a fully grown man. It started to give way.

"Martin!" Danny yelled as he watched in horror as Martin disappeared off the ledge. "Martin!" he yelled again when he got no reply.