Summary - A dark ending to endgame and how the events afterwards effect the team. Spoilers well endgame, so this is mainly about the two characters that were in the last seconds of endgame. Not complete, currently writing chapter 5.

Huge thanks to anmdo for betaing this fanfic

Chapter 1 - 6 | Chapter 7 - 10 | Chapter 11 - 13 | Chapter 14 - 15

Chapter 1

1 week previously

Four men sat in an upper eastside hotel room in New York City. They were trying to negotiate what three of these men called a `business deal'. The fourth man looked outside into the crisp May night, wishing that he had never agreed to this meeting. "We need you to infiltrate Cali, a high level drug cartel in Colombia to see if they are planning any terrorist attacks," the short but dominant figure said.

"And what happens if I don't?" the fourth man asked.

"Then we will kill your family, everyone on your team and their families," the short figure replied.

"You can't do that!" The fourth man said, slightly panicking, "you will never get away with it."

"We are the CIA—we can and will."

The fourth man felt himself go numb; he let his head fall into his hands. He had to do it. He couldn't let the people he loved die just because he didn't want to do something. This left him with only one choice. "I'll do it," he said in a near whisper.



Danny ended the phone call with Jack and smiled. It had been a difficult case and now it was turning into a vial night, but at least the phone call had delivered some good news, Viv was going to be alright.

Martin listened to one side of Danny's phone call. It was obviously good news and presumably about Viv. Martin had found it incredibly difficult to focus on their latest case, as he like the rest of the team were extremely concerned about their fellow agent.

Martin watched as a blue panel van pulled in front of them. He found himself smiling finally since this day was at an end. He and Danny just needed to transport Adisa to the holding cell, and then they could go home. He had decided that he would – if possible – pop by and see Viv before work. He watched the traffic lights turn to green and waited for the van to pull off. He waited. Damn, he thought, as he looked at the van. You drift in front of me, and then you don't go when the light changes to green. He sounded his car's horn. And then Martin watched in horror as two guys jumped out of the van with automatic weapons and opened fire. From that moment, Martin Fitzgerald's life would change forever.

Chapter 2

Martin felt as though an invisible bond had wrapped itself around him securing him to his seat. A couple seconds had passed before he found he was able to react. He kicked open the door and pulled out his gun in one smooth action glancing quickly to his right to see Danny had done the same. They exchanged glances before they both opened fire. Martin was so intensely concentrated on eliminating the threat that stood before him and Danny that he didn't notice the two goons that came up behind them, armed with syringes. He felt a sharp prick on his neck and then everything went black.

Danny smiled. At least today was going to end on an `up note' or so he thought. He looked out of the windshield into the rain, and his thoughts of this day ending on an `up note' rapidly changed. His first instinct was to duck; his second was to fight back. Quickly opening the door, he rolled out onto the cold, wet tarmac. He pulled out his gun and prepared to open fire on the two men who had started to shoot at them. Who was he kidding? He knew both he and Martin were very good shots, but against automatic weapons? Fourteen bullets against the terrorists eighty: you do the math, Danny thought. Before he started to shoot, he quickly looked over at Martin as if to say, `Good luck, man. I hope to see you on the other side of this.' He moved his finger to the trigger and was surprised to see his hands were not shaking. He certainly felt they should be. He was coming rapidly to the end of his clip, when he felt a sharp prick in this neck and then everything faded to black.

Dornvald quickly ceased fire as he saw two his men drug the two agents. He signalled to driver of the van to back up before signalling to the two goons to throw the two agents into the van. He then quickly got into the van.

"Drive!" he yelled at the driver. He felt himself been slightly thrown back into his seat as the van sped off. The blue van made a few quick turns out of the `crime scene' before it slowed down, passing several police cars with their sirens, as it drove to its destination. After a 20 minute drive, the van arrived at an abandoned warehouse. It slowly drove in, while two goons hurriedly closed the doors, so that their valuable cargo would not be discovered – yet. Once they were sure that the building was secure, Dornvald opened the van's doors and tossed the two still unconscious agents out. "Put them in the corner," he said in a quiet menacing voice, "and set the video link up."

While trying to ignore the pounding headache, Danny slowly opened his eyes. He quickly glanced around him and guessed he was in an old warehouse. He vaguely questioned himself whether or not this was the same warehouse Adisa and his crew had used earlier and then nearly laughed. The drug must have done more damage than he thought. `Adisa's warehouse' was still crawling with FBI agents and other law enforcement agencies. He blinked his eyes a couple of times, and it was then he remembered about the firefight. `Martin!' he thought. Danny looked around again, slightly panicking as he tried to find Martin. He heard a low groan to the left of him and glanced across to see Martin stirring. On his quick visual assessment, he didn't think that Martin was injured, but it had only been a quick glance.

In a low voice so not to draw attention to them, Danny tried to get a response from Martin. "Martin, hey man, are you ok?"

Martin blinked his eyes a couple of times and turned towards the voice to see Danny. "Danny, where the hell are we?" he asked as looked around.

"Man, I have no idea, some kind of warehouse. But you're alright?" Danny questioned again.

"Yeah. I'm fine. What about you?"

Before Danny had a chance to respond, he was being dragged away by one of Dornvald's goons. "Enough chat, the boss wants to see you," the goon rasped at Danny. Danny felt himself being dragged over the cold, rough cement floor to where Dornvald sat. Danny, only using his eyes, looked around at his new location. To one side there was video camera hooked to a laptop with some sort of cell phone attached. He felt a cold shiver down his spine; he didn't like the look of this. He quickly shifted his brain into gear. Maybe there was a possibly to negotiate. Well at the very least, he thought, he could try and negotiate Martin out here.

"So FBI agent, do you know why you are here?" Dornvald asked slightly chuckling.

"No I don't. Please can you tell me?" Danny replied with an edge of sarcasm laced in his voice.

"We are going to kill you," Dornvald said smiling, "Unless we get two million dollars and that lovely girl, Paige, that you were looking for earlier today."

Two million dollars and Paige, Danny thought, sorry the US government would never agree to that. If he could just stall them for a few hours, then maybe Martin would have a chance. Not that he cared about politics, but the political ramifications would be much greater if Martin died than if he died. If they murdered Martin, then they would be hitting the government indirectly and the government would be forced to take action. If they killed him, then he would be just another FBI agent tragically killed in the line of duty. If Martin died, who knows what the consequences would be. If I died, Danny thought maybe I would get a funeral with full honours and a small article in the paper. Martin was also his friend, and he would do anything to get him out. "Two mill and Paige. Is that a package deal or a special offer?" Danny said sarcastically. The comment earned him a swift kick to the chest. "Ok I guess not," Danny replied with a wince.

"Agent, I am being serious."

"So I am," Danny replied. "Look, you don't need both of us. You don't need him," Danny said indicating to where he believed Martin was.

"Why?" Dornvald questioned, "Because his father is the deputy director of the FBI," he said answering this own question.

Danny was a little taken back. He didn't think Dornvald knew who they were; this put a whole new slant on their situation. "Yes, because his father is the deputy director of the FBI. If you think that it will be the ace up your sleeve, you are mistaken. It will bring nothing but trouble. So just let him go. You will still have me," Danny said hoping he was persuading Dornvald.

"And why would you want to help me?" Dornvald asked, trying to hide his smile. He was enjoying watching Agent Taylor beg for his partner's life.

"Because, if you let him go then it would send a good signal to the negotiating team. Negotiations may go better, and I would have a good chance of getting out of this alive," Danny answered. He didn't care how cocky it sounded, but if it drew attention away for Martin, then he was doing the right thing.

Dornvald laughed, "Agent Taylor, I don't why you're in the FBI. You should quit and do stand up comedy. But I have had enough comedy for one night." He signalled to one of his goons. "Good night Agent Taylor."

With that Danny was dragged to the far side of the warehouse. Once left alone, Danny started to think just how he and Martin could get out of this situation alive, or if it all went to hell how he could get Martin out alive. He thought of his family and how his relationship with Raphi had changed for the better. And how, if he died, Sylvia, her unborn child and Nicky would alone in this world. How he loved his job and the people he worked with and although his love life was non-existent, he had never been so happy. Finally he felt he belonged somewhere. After a lifetime of searching, he had found home.

On the opposite side the warehouse, Martin was thinking of similar things. He drew his knees up to his chest as a vein attempt to conserve some body heat. He wondered if Jack knew about this yet. He looked out the small window at the top of the warehouse. There was no mushroom cloud rising over New York, which meant Jack didn't know. He thought of how he and Danny could escape. Maybe he could cause a distraction and buy Danny enough time to get out of there. But he didn't know how many goons there were so this action could very well send Danny to his death. He thought of what he would do if he got out of there alive. He thought of how happy but stupid he had been. Why hadn't he listened to Sam, and understood her reasons to not going public with their relationship? He thought of the team and how much he enjoyed working with them. He thought of his family and how disappointed his father had been when he had taken Jack's job offer. He belonged in New York; it was his home, not Seattle or DC. He heard Danny being dragged to a far corner of the warehouse and hoped he was all right. They would be ok; Jack would find them.


Wednesday 0830 – 11 hours since the ambush Jack walked out of the elevator. For the first time in ages, he had slept well. Today was going to be a good day, he thought, but in the back of his mind he knew otherwise. Coffee in hand, he walked through the various offices before he came to his. He stopped and looked over at Sam with raised eyebrows. Danny and Martin were usually in before Sam - not that it mattered. It was just an observation. "Morning" he said as he approached her, "Danny and Martin in yet?"

Sam looked up and smiled at Jack. "Morning. And no, the boys aren't in yet. It's amazing I got in before them."

Jack was just about to continue his conversation when Van Doran rushed up. "Jack, were any of your team transporting Adisa last night?"

"Yes. Danny and Martin were. Why?" Jack asked in concern.

"Well, the police found the car that they signed out."

"And?" Jack said trying control himself, just what was Van Doran not telling him?

"It was found at an intersection. Jack, it was completely shot out. Have they come to work or left any messages?"

"No. No they haven't. WHY THE HELL IS THIS THE FIRST I AM HEARING ABOUT IT?" Jack yelled at Van Doran finally losing it.

"Jack, calm down," Van Doran said looking around at the agents who had stopped work and were now looking in their direction. "I only found out about it 20 minutes ago."

Any grip that Jack had on restraint was now lost. "20 minutes! It took you 20 minutes to tell me. 20 minutes that Danny and Martin don't have!" Jack looked around. He didn't care that the whole office was staring at him; he just wanted his agents found, unhurt.

"Jack!" Van Doran exclaimed

"Don't tell me to calm down. My agents are out there, probably in the hands of some psycho. They could be bleeding to death out there and you want me to calm down. Do you have any feelings?" Jack said still yelling at Van Doran.


"Fine, I will stop yelling, but I won't calm down. Do we have any leads?" Jack said.

"Not yet, but if we do--you will be the first to know," Van Doran said, as she turned walked towards her office.

Jack ran his hand through his hair and sighed. Why the hell hadn't he made them take back up? Why the hell hadn't he gotten someone else to do it? He could cope and work if it was someone else, but this was his people, his family. It was impossible not to become emotionally evolved. A hand on his arm pulled him out of his thoughts. He turned to see Sam, strong and calm as ever.

"Jack, you have to calm down. You're not going to help Danny and Martin like that," she said, handing him a file. "Here's the case file on our last case. I don't know if it will help, but it's a start."

Jack looked at Sam and took the file. "Thanks, Sam. How can you be so calm?" he asked her.

"Jack, you think I didn't want to yell at Van Doran? My friend and my-"she stopped herself, "and Martin are out there. I love them. I can't think of life without them. But we have to stay calm, for Danny and Martin." Sam said as she tried to reason with Jack.

"I guess you're right," Jack said as he sat down and started read through the file.


Martin stirred as the sunlight streamed through the small window in the warehouse. He groaned as he felt his muscles protesting from a night on a cold, damp cement floor. Not moving he looked around to see if he could see Danny. Finally, he saw Danny in the far corner of the warehouse. Although he looked unharmed, Martin could not be sure.

"Good Morning!" He heard an enthusiastic voice call out; he turned to face the voice. He looked up at Dornvald who looked like he had at least six mugs of strong coffee. "So Martin" Dornvald said, grinning manically, "how are you on this beautiful day, which may well be your last?"

Martin squinted against the light. "I would be a lot better if I wasn't here."

"Wrong answer," Dornvald said, almost skipping. He signalled to a couple of goons who dragged Martin to a different area of the warehouse.

Martin knew this was his opportunity to try and get him and Danny out of there, at the very least he could get Danny out. And for the first time in his life, he was willing to use his father. "You don't want Danny. He's not worth much. I, on the over hand…well I can be of great value to you. If you release Danny, it will be a sign of good will," Martin said almost wincing when he heard how arrogant he sounded.

"And why is that?" Dornvald asked already knowing the answer.

"Because," Martin paused, "because my father is the deputy director of the FBI and there is nothing he wouldn't do to bring me home," Martin replied hoping he sounded convincing because he was sure that his father wouldn't do what he had just said.

"Maybe, I think you're right," Dornvald responded as he signalled a goon who started mucking around with the video camera.


"Jack, we have contact," Van Doran yelled across the office space.

"Where? Who?" Jack asked desperately

"The video conference room. Follow me."

Jack and Sam quickly stood and at a near run followed Van Doran. They had looked through the file for hours but had found no leads, but they were both convinced that it had been Dornvald's men or some connection to Dornvald that had taken Danny and Martin. After taking an elevator and walking down several corridors, they finally reached the video conference room. It was a small room with a table and several chairs around it.

At the end of the room, set in panel wood, was a large television screen. It was what was on the screen that made Jack and Sam stop and grasp the table. On the screen, they saw Martin held at gunpoint by a masked man.

"Two million US dollars and Paige Hobson or he dies," growled the masked man before the screen went blank.

Jack looked desperately at Van Doran.

"Jack I am sorry but you know our policy. We do not negotiate with terrorists."

Jack stood there and looked at Van Doran in disbelief unable to come up with words of shock… words of anger… words of fear.


"Well done," Dornvald's sadist voice came from behind Martin. "Well I guess I will listen to you. We have you, and as you said, we don't need Danny."

Martin looked at Dornvald in confusion. Had he said what he just thought he had said? It was too easy. He wanted to shout out a warning to Danny, but he was quickly gagged and moved to another part of the warehouse.

Danny was roughly grabbed by two goons and dragged to where he had his first conversation with Dornvald, but the video camera was on this time. They forced him to his knees as he stood directly in front of the camera.

Danny heard Dornvald's voice saying, "Hello FBI, just to show you we are serious." He heard a loud bang, followed by a bitter taste in his mouth before everything went black.

Jack jerked back as he watched Danny's body fall to the ground. He was vaguely aware of Sam running out. He didn't feel he could breathe. He didn't believe he could do anything but stare at the screen. He just watched the silent but shocking images.

Dornvald placed a gun at Martin's head. "Check him," he said pointing towards Danny's body.

Martin approached Danny's body. He hadn't moved since Dornvald's goon had shot him…since that possibly fatal gunshot had rung out through the warehouse. Martin slowly knelt down next to Danny, not noticing that the blood that had pooled around Danny had soaked into his pants. He stopped. He knew Danny was dead. Anyone with the slightest amount of medical knowledge could see that, but checking for a pulse would confirm his fears. When he checked for a pulse and found none then Danny really would be dead, and it would be his fault. If he had just shut up, then maybe they would both still be alive, or at least Danny would still be alive. Why the hell had he mentioned that his father was the deputy director of the FBI? Why the hell had he told them that they didn't need Danny? That he was the only one they needed?

Jack stood in the video conference room, staring blanking at the video image. He closed his eyes hoping that when he opened them he would be in the office debating theories with his team, the whole team. Jack opened his eyes again; the same shocking image confronted him. He must be in shock, he thought, as he could feel no emotion to the events that just unfolded. For god sake, someone had just killed one his agents and another was still in the hands of these animals. Why couldn't he feel any emotion? He watched as though he was in a trance as Dornvald held a gun to Martin's head. He felt powerless. He watched as Martin knelt next to Danny, as Martin knelt in Danny's blood. He noticed Martin hesitate before he took Danny's pulse, before Martin would confirm that all hope was lost.

Martin slowly moved his trembling, numb fingers towards Danny's neck. He was surprised when his fingers meet warm skin. He waited. He felt a lone tear make its crooked path down his cheek. Danny was dead.

"I'm so sorry, man, I'm so sorry," he heard himself say. Feeling a gun being jammed into his back, he heard a voice demanding information. He heard a weak voice answer. "He's dead." He didn't realise that voice was his own.

"He's dead." Those words sent shock waves through the small video conference room in New York. The words that confirmed what they already knew, but with those words all hope that Danny was alive were gone, leaving them with Martin's words of guilt.

Chapter 3

Dornvald had always been fascinated by the movies since his childhood, but he had never made it into drama school so, in a bizarre chain of events, he found himself working security. He couldn't remember the exact date, or the meeting for that matter, when he was recruited by the CIA. He had slept on the idea for a night before accepting the offer; this was his chance to live out his childhood fantasies. He could act. He could play the character of James Bond, but unlike his fictional icon, he was real.

Now he had his chance he to play with special effects. Once he had told Martin that he was right and that they didn't need Taylor, he handed one of his goons a pint of blood – which had been taken from a blood donating session that Taylor had attended – and a high dosage Atenolol capsule. On the bag of Taylor's blood was attached a squib, which is commonly used in the movies to mimic gunshots. Perfect, Dornvald thought, they look realistic enough in the movies but when one's judgement is clouded with emotion, it will be too real. The high dose of Atenolol on Taylor's young, fit, and healthy heart would slow it to undetectable levels, so that he would appear dead.

Dornvald watched as his goons dragged Danny over and gave him the signal that everything was in place. He picked up his uzi from the table beside him and released the clip of live rounds. Then he picked up the clip marked with two dots of green paint and loaded the blank rounds into the gun. He watched as Danny was placed in the execution position, while he walked around so his back was facing the camera. "Hello FBI. Just to show we are serious." He fired one round at his chest and activated the squib and then watched his magic commence.

Danny watched as two goons approached him. One roughly shoved something heavy and what felt like liquid in a bag into his inner jacket pocket, while the other rammed some form of capsule into his mouth. He was then dragged towards where he had his first talked with Dornvald and noticed Dornvald loading his gun. This can't be good, he thought. The same thought but with increased intensity echoed in his mind when he was pushed into the execution position. He shut his eyes and for the first time in years, he prayed. Then he heard Dornvald say those fateful words. After that, everything appeared to be in slow motion. As he heard the gunshot, he bit down – splitting the capsule – then it felt like his body was shutting down. He couldn't breathe properly and black spots appeared and started to grow in his vision. He felt helpless as his body limply fell to the ground. Then everything stopped. He felt as though he was floating; he couldn't hear the voices anymore. What he didn't know now was that to the world Danny Taylor was dead.

Dornvald waited for Martin to inform the camera and, more importantly, the people on the other side of the camera that Danny Taylor was `dead'. He stepped forward roughly pushing the grieving Martin aside and signalled to his goons to turn off the camera and drag Taylor's unconscious body into the next door room where is `employers' would give Taylor his new identity. He smiled as he looked around the warehouse; it looked like any other abandoned warehouse. Then he looked down at the cell phone. It was a clever little thing, the GPS chip had been painstakingly removed and a scrambling device had been fitted. There was no way that they were going to track him through this baby, he thought.

The goons dragged Danny into the small office at the far end of the warehouse and hauled his body onto a table. With a quick nod to the three men who stood in the office, they left. Michael Clarke, the small intimidating figure, stepped forward with a syringe in his hand. After injecting the correct amount of Epinephrine to counter the Atenolol, he waited. He waited for Danny Taylor to slowly come back to `life' so that he could hit him with his new identity. He waited.


Martin fell to the ground as Dornvald pushed him roughly past him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw two of the goons drag Danny away. He tried to close his eyes and turn away, but found he could not. He had to see where they were taking his friend. He watched until Danny was out of sight and started to ponder his own dilemma. Now that they had murdered Danny, he was alone and didn't stand much of a chance. It should have been him that they had killed not Danny, he thought. Hadn't Danny suffered enough in this lifetime? Danny was dead and it was his fault. Jack knew by now and Jack would get them out, he thought, as shock began to claim his confused mind. But he knew life would never be the same again. Maybe if he hadn't honked the horn at the van, Danny would still be alive. If he hadn't mentioned his father, would Danny still be alive? If he hadn't – Martin paused – if he had just thrown the car into reverse, they would probably be sitting in Jack's office being fussed over. If he had just thought? If he had just reacted faster? Danny would be alive. He was too numb to notice the syringe that was being injected in to his neck. He was too numb to comprehend the darkness that was rapidly encompassing him.


He stood still staring blankly at the screen as he watched the men drag Danny's body away. Realisation hit him, Danny was dead. Those bastards had just killed Danny. He stumbled slightly as he was overcome with emotions. He heard someone call his name and gently push him down into a chair. His head fell into his hands and he felt his body shake, but no tears appeared. His grief was past tears. He would never see Danny comforting a terrified child. He would never have to go to the OPR again because Danny had put a paedophile or a drug dealer or rapist in his place. He would never see Danny Taylor again. But his grief would have to wait, he thought. He had to get Martin out; he still had a chance to make it right for one of his agents.

Jack stood up, ignoring the protests around him and looked Van Doran directly in the eyes. "I agree with you, Paula. We shouldn't negotiate with them. We should hunt them down and kill them. I don't give a fucking damn about the political ramifications. Those bastards just killed Danny," Jack said as he yelled at her. He had deliberately mentioned Danny's name making it more personal.

"Jack, you know I can't do anything about it," Van Doran replied

"Yes, you can. You can pick up that phone, and get a SWAT team down there and blow them away," Jack yelled at Van Doran.

"Jack I can't do that. It's tragic that Danny died, but the situation is more delicate-"

"What? Just because of Martin's father, you think he is more important than Danny. That's the reason, isn't it?" Jack said as he eyeballed Van Doran.

"Jack, no-"

"So we are going to get Martin out?" Jack said as he cut Van Doran off again. He looked at her, and knew that they where going to attempt to negotiate with these animals.

"Screw you, Paula and screw your fucking policies," he picked up one of the phones and threw it at the video screen. He watched with satisfaction as black smoke rose from the smashed screen. He turned and walked out of the room. He didn't stop walking until he reached the bullpen. He looked around, feeling the walls close in on him. He didn't believe he could breathe. He stopped and stared at Danny's empty desk, a desk that would never be filled by his agent again. He felt someone's hand on his shoulder, and his senses came rushing back. He stumbled slightly. He felt two hands on both shoulders and someone calling his name. He opened his eyes to see his friend and fellow agent Rick Freedman.

"Jack what's happened?" Rick asked looking at Jack in concern. He had heard about Jack yelling at Van Doran. He had seen Sam run out – he had sent his co-worker Abbey to find and comfort her. Now standing in front of his friend, he needed to know what event had caused this distress. "Jack," he repeated his friend's name trying to get a response.

"Danny's dead and Martin might as well be," Jack said as be managed to respond.

"What?" Rick asked in shock. He looked at his friend's pale complexion and shaking form. "Let's go to my office. " He led his friend to his office and made Jack sit down before he fell down. "Jack, tell me what happened from the beginning," he ordered as he sat down next to his friend.

Jack tried to compose himself. "Danny and Martin were transporting Adisa - who was related to our latest case. In route, they drove into some form of an ambush." Jack paused as he tried to compose himself farther. "They were taken hostage and… and then we got a video message." He held his head in his hands.

Rick looked at Jack in horror. He could guess where this conversation was going, but he didn't want to believe it. He didn't want to believe that his friend had seen Danny murdered. "Jack?" he prompted gently.

"We got a message with someone holding a gun to Martin's head, demanding two mill US and Paige Hobson. A matter of minutes later, we got another message--," Jack paused again. "They executed Danny"

"Oh god, Jack. I don't know want to say. I am sorry," Rick said in shock. This was far worse than he had expected. "And Van Doran is trying to negotiate Martin out of there?" he asked.

"After they killed- sorry after they murdered Danny, Van Doran pretty much kicked me out of the room," he looked directly at Rick. "If they killed Danny without so much as a blink of the eye, what the hell are they going do to Martin?"

"I don't know Jack. I don't know. Look, you are going to go home and I will get Martin out. I swear. Even if I have to storm every god damn warehouse in New York, even if I have to storm the Makeba consulate, I will get him back," Rick said as he tried to persuade Jack. "Now go home."


Sam watched as Danny took that fatal bullet. He had barely fallen to the ground before she had run out. She couldn't face having her last memories of Danny lying in a pool of his own blood in some crappy abandoned warehouse. She did not notice the people she knocked into as she tried to get as much distance between that room and herself. The room where she had already witnessed the brutal murder of one her best friends, a person who she almost thought of as a brother. The room that would soon show the murder of her recently ex-boyfriend, but who remained a friend. She stepped outside into the muggy New York air and watched people rushing back to work after their lunch breaks. They looked as though they were having a typical day, a typical lunch break. She felt her senses come rushing back and stumbled slightly. She leaned against the wall and tried to grasp what she had just seen. She looked uptown and started to walk. As her senses faded out again, she did not notice the concerned voices calling after her. She just needed to get away.


Danny slowly felt himself leave the inky darkness. He jumped slightly in shock as he remembered the gunshot. Someone had just shot him in the chest. Why didn't he feel any pain? Maybe this is was what people described, maybe this was what it meant to go towards the `light'. He was dying or maybe he was already dead. It was the only thing that made logical sense. He suddenly felt someone slapping his face and heard a voice demanding he should wake up. So he was dead, Danny thought and as some sick form of joke, his father was welcoming him to the `afterlife'.

Michael Clarke slapped Danny again, "Wake up!" he demanded.

Danny slowly opened his eyes to realise he wasn't dead and that he still remained in the warehouse. "What the-, " he started as he looked around to see Michael Clarke and his associates.

"Welcome to your new life, Alejandro Rios," Michael said grinning. "To the world, Danny Taylor is dead."

Danny stared at Michael in disbelief. He had thought he would have had a chance to say goodbye, or at the very least to tell someone. But this was it; he has to begin yet another life. He loved his life as Danny Taylor. Sure there were parts of it that he regretted but wasn't that true of every life. Even though he still felt disoriented, he knew he had to get Martin out. There was nothing he could do about his life, but he could still save Martin's. At least Jack, Sam and Viv would get one of them back.

"Please let Martin go unharmed," Danny pleaded, "You've got what you want."

"And why would I do that?" Michael asked

"Because if you do, I will do anything you want. Please just let him go, you don't need him," Danny said as he continued to beg for his friend's life.

"Anything?" Michael asked

"Yes…anything," Danny paused, as he wondered what he as getting himself into and what `anything' might mean. "As long as you let Martin go unharmed."

"I have other ways of forcing you to do `anything'," Michael said laughing

"Look, you know who Martin's dad is; also our boss is going to be pretty pissed when he finds out. It you kill Martin as well, he will not rest until everyone involved in this is dead."

"I see your point and I will see what I can do. But for now…," he signalled to one his associates with a syringe and drugged Danny again. "But for now, none of that is your concern as we have a flight to catch," he said to the now unconscious Danny. He got up and gestured to Dornvald and pointed to Martin. He just hoped that Dornvald understood him and just roughed up Martin but didn't kill him. But this was Dornvald, so he could never he too sure.


Jack had no idea how long he had been wandering the streets of New York or how he came to be in Tribeca. But the bustling streets seemed so peaceful, unlike the events he had just witnessed. Rick had told him it was for the best that he went home, and he would not rest until Martin was returned unharmed. Van Doran, on the other hand, had told him he was too personally involved. Someone had just struck his team, people who he regarded as his family. Someone had just murdered one his family and still held another and he was expected to deal with this rationally? It was bad enough he hadn't been there for Danny and Martin, but he could have been there for Sam and he wasn't. But she needed someone strong right now, not someone who was in a whirlwind of emotions. A whirlwind, Jack thought even that sounded tranquil. At the moment, his emotions were more like a tornado ripping through the land. How could he let something like this happen, he thought as he turned into his street, how could I let this happen? Danny was thirty-two for god sake. He had his whole life in front of him, and in a blink of an eye that all changed. He looked up at the sky and yelled, "Why him? Why them? It should have been me." He looked down and knew what he had to do. He was going to avenge Danny's death, and if those circumstances claimed Martin's life…he would avenge it as well.

He vaguely heard the squealing of tires before he saw the blue panel van. The van sped in front of him before the doors were flung open and a body was tossed out. He blinked several times before he recognised who the body was. Before he knew it, he had drawn his gun and had fired several shots at the speeding van. As he ran towards Martin, he pulled out his cell phone and called 911. Disconnecting the call, he knelt down next to Martin. "Martin," he said as tried to get a response. "Martin…"

Chapter 4

With bleary eyes, Danny looked around the cabin. Usually, he would be excited to fly in a Gulf Steam jet but because of the purpose of this flight, he was anything but thrilled. He rolled over onto his side to get a better look at the cabin and who was inside, but quickly regretted it.

"Alejandro, I see you are awake," Michael said as he threw a file at Danny. "I suggest you read it and memorise it. Your life and the lives of your loved ones depend on it."

Danny sat up, ignoring his pounding head, and slowly pulled open the file that contained the details of his new life. As he read through the details, he was surprised how similar the facts were to his own. Actually, he thought sadly, the details of the recently deceased Danny Taylor. He felt his pockets to see if the CIA had forgotten to remove his wallet. They hadn't. He would have got rid of them himself. He didn't want to endanger the people he left behind, but getting rid of the photos should have been his job. His `first life', the life as Danny Alvarez, he had never really enjoyed hence the reason he changed his name. His `second life', the life as Danny Taylor, he loved and now he had to move on and start another life. He didn't know how many times he could start over, especially with the roots he had formed in the life was he leaving. He looked out the cabin window into the darkening sky and for the second time that day he prayed. He prayed that Martin was all right, and he prayed that the team would forgive him for he had done to them.


"Martin," Jack said pleading for him to wake up. He could not face it if another of his agents died. He nearly cried with joy when he saw Martin's eyes fluttered opened. "Hey Martin. It's okay. I've got you. Just stay still, all right. The paramedics are on the way."

Martin slowly opened his eyes to see Jack and he knew everything was going to be okay. "Jack," he said checking to make sure he wasn't dreaming. He heard Jack continue to reassure him. He closed his eyes momentarily in relief, but as he did, the events of the last day flashed before his eyes. "Oh god! Jack I'm so sorry," he cried.

"Martin… Martin look at me. Now I need you to calm down," Jack said in a firm yet gentle voice. "Now what are you sorry for?"

Jack didn't know, Martin thought to himself. Jack didn't know that Danny was dead. How was he going to tell him? He took a couple of shaky, painful breathes as he tried to prepare himself. "I'm sorry, Jack. It's all my fault. I'm so sorry. I tried to stop them; I promise," Martin paused before continuing, "Jack, they killed Danny," Martin finished and looked away not wanting to see the disappointment in Jack's eyes.

"I know," Jack said as he tried to blink back tears. "I saw what happened. It wasn't your fault. There was nothing you could have done."

"But Jack, I was there. I could have done something… I should have done…," Martin said emotionally, looking away from Jack.

"There was nothing you could have done. If you tried to stop Danny's murder… we probably would have lost both of you," Jack said, feeling relieved as he heard the sirens approach them. "Stay calm. You're going to be fine."

Martin tried to listen to Jack's words. He tried to understand them. He tried to, but he couldn't because he thought it was his fault that his friend was dead and there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it. He was too lost in his own thoughts to notice people surrounding him. He was too numb to feel the paramedics start working on him. He was too out of it to realise that Jack had jumped into the ambulance next to him. His thoughts were lost on his friend's last moments. How was he going to face Sam and Viv after he had caused Danny's death? They all loved Danny. Sure they liked him, but Danny had the closest relationship with everyone on the team… and he had killed Danny.

Jack watched as Martin's eyes glazed over. He tried to reassure him. He tried to get through to him. But nothing was working. He hoped Martin was all right physically, but he knew he wasn't emotionally. To hell with it, Jack thought, even he wasn't all right emotionally. Why the hell should they be emotionally stable at this moment when some terrorist had just murdered one of them. He knew he was racked with guilt, and he couldn't imagine what Martin was going through. Especially since Martin was there. Martin had watched Danny die in the flesh. He had been forced at gun point to check for life signs on Danny's still warm body.

Jack barely noticed the ride to the hospital. He watched as though he was in shock as Martin was wheeled into the hospital. Martin had to be ok; he couldn't face it if Martin wasn't going to be ok. He couldn't face if he lost another agent. He knew he had to contact Sam and tell her that they had gotten Martin back, but he didn't feel he could come up with the words. He stumbled slightly as he remembered that Viv didn't know anything about the ambush… the kidnapping… Danny's death. He collapsed into a chair as he waited for news on Martin.

Jack was still holding his head in his hands when a doctor approached him. "Are you here for Agent Fitzgerald?" He heard the doctor ask.

"Yes," Jack managed to reply. "I have tried to get a hold of his father but… but he's busy," he continued to reply in disgust. After what Martin had been through, what father wouldn't move heaven and earth to be there for their kid. "I'm Martin's boss," Jack added, knowing that they usually only gave out details to family members.

"He's going to be fine. He has a couple of cracked ribs and a mild concussion. So I would like to keep overnight."

"He was unconscious when I found him—after he had been chucked out of a moving van," Jack said, trying to get the full picture of this situation.

"Well, he has high levels of a sedative. It probably saved him from major injury." The doctor looked at Jack's questioning look and added. "Because of the sedative, at the time his body was dumped, his body was relaxed, thus saving him from major injury."

"Can I see him?"

The doctor looked at Jack. His patient seemed so lost, he may benefit from seeing someone he knew. "Sure. Can I ask what happened to him?"

Jack sighed in relief, "I'm sorry I can't tell you what happened. I can tell you… but you probably know this already… he had been through extreme emotional trauma," Jack said as he rose from the chair and began to follow the doctor to Martin's room, where he found Martin asleep. Choosing this moment to gather himself to together, he phoned Sam to tell her after 24 hours of nothing but bad news; he finally had something good to tell her. The phone rang a couple times before she answered. He managed to reply in a quiet, shaky voice. "Sam, its Jack."

"Jack," Sam said emotionlessly. After events of the last 24 hours, she didn't think that she could take anymore horrific news.

"Sam… I'm at Mount Sinai hospital. We got Martin back," Jack said feeling some if his tension being released.

Sam nearly dropped the phone in shock. "Is-is he ok?" she asked as her already tense body, tensed up more.

"He's going to be… he's going to be fine," Jack replied. Sam didn't need to worry about Martin's emotional state right now. "He's cracked a couple of ribs and has a minor concussion."

Sam sighed in relief. "I will be there in 15 minutes or less," she said ending the call.

Jack sat in the chair next to Martin and closed his eyes for a moment. The last 24 hours had been undoubtedly the worse 24 hours of his life. He would like to think that he could end this day on an `up note'. But he know from the moment that Danny that been murdered, this would never happen. He glanced across at Martin and realised how much worse it could have been. Both Martin and Danny could have died. At least they had Martin back, Jack thought as he tried to stay positive in these trying times. He leaned his head back and rested his eyes, but his mind was drawn back to his deepest and darkest thoughts. Viv, he remembered. Viv knew nothing about this, and now he had to tell her about the ambush, the kidnapping, Martin… he had to tell her about Danny. How to do you tell someone that has just had major heart surgery that her `boys' drove into an ambush and were taken hostage; that they had hurt one of her boys; that- that they had murder one of her boys. He glanced across at Martin again, he wasn't about to leave him. He would wait until Sam arrived then he would go and break this devastating news to Viv.

Sam barely remembered to put on her shoes as she rushed out of her apartment. The only thing she consciously remembered was her keys. Sprinting down the street, she was glad that her sneakers had been the shoes nearest the door. She jumped into her car and floored it to the hospital. Even though Jack said Martin was going to be ok, she just wouldn't believe it until she had seen him with her own eyes. She managed to arrive at the hospital without being stopped or causing any accidents in record time. She barely noticed the corridors she ran down to get to Martin's room. She quickly swung open the door and rushed inside. She didn't know what to do when she saw Martin's battered but alive form. She noticed Jack coming towards her and making that decision for her.

"You sit with Martin and I- I will… I- I have to tell Viv," She heard Jack say as she watched him age before her eyes.

How he made it to Viv's room, Jack would never know. Pausing before he entered the room, he tried to collect himself. He tried to come up with the words… but found he could not. He gently knocked.

Viv watched as an aged, haggard looking Jack entered her room. She tried to calm herself as she wondered what event would give her boss and friend this appearance. "Jack, what's the matter? What's happened?" She asked making the pre-emptive move.

"Martin and Danny," Jack said collapsing into a chair letting his head fall into his hands. "Martin and Danny," he repeated.

"Jack, what's happened to the boys?" Viv asked slightly panicking.

"Viv you have to stay calm!" Jack said resting his hand on her shoulder.

"How can I? When you come in here looking like hell and something has happened to the boys," Viv said glaring at Jack.

Jack sighed. There was no easy way to tell Viv about the events of the last 24 hours. "Martin and Danny were transporting a suspect in our latest case to a holding cell. When- when they drove into an ambush." He heard Viv inhale sharply. He paused before continuing. "They were taken hostage… umm we got Martin back," Jack said as he tried to soften the blow.

"What about Danny?" Viv asked. Then she looked at Jack's grim expression and red rimmed eyes. "No Jack, please no, he can't be."

"I'm so sorry Viv," Jack said as he let his head fall into his hands again and let the tears fall. He had failed them.

Viv closed her eyes as she tried to comprehend life without Danny. A life without the person on the team who was always there for everyone, a life without her second son. No one would hurt one of the boys and get away with it. But the fact that they had not only hurt one of her boys they had also killed one and that she couldn't do anything about it would haunt her until her dying day.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    Danny felt his back stick to the cheap plastic seats of the old Toyota pick-up. He felt the bitter taste of adrenaline in his mouth that hadn't left him since the ambush in New York, he thought sadly. He hoped Martin was ok. He glanced up and saw the imposing gates of the Cali drug cartel headquarters, which may be his home for the next… He pulled the pick-up, up to the gates and spoke to the guard.

"Hey, I'm Alejandro Rios and I'm starting work here today," Danny said smiling, trying not to show his fear. He had done undercover ops before, but he had never been this scared. Before, if it hit the fan, he knew that he would have the team backing him up. But now… now he was alone and if it went to hell, he had no back up.

"You can go head, but next time use the back entrance." Danny heard the guard say pulling him out of his thoughts.

"Thanks" he managed to reply. He put the pick-up into gear managing not to stall it this time. After years of driving automatic cars he had nearly forgotten how to drive a stick shift car. As he drove down the long drive, he tried to relax himself, knowing these guys could smell fear.

Danny was amazed by the size of the compound as he drove through it. It appeared to strength on for miles. He turned the pick-up on to one of the dusty side roads and drove up to the back of the house. He gently pulled the pick-up to a stop and watched as a cloud of dust rose around them. Turning off the engine, Danny rested his head on the steering wheel and prayed. He prayed that he would see this op through. He prayed that the team would forgive him. He prayed that all this was just a bad dream and he would wake up in his New York apartment and go to work like every other day. But he knew this would not happen – he probably would never do that again. He sat up and took a deep breath and stepped out the pick-up into his new life.

Chapter 5

1 week since Danny's `death'

Danny woke as the sun streamed through the window of his new apartment. It had been one week since his death. He had watched all the news…waiting for…dreading any reports on the murder of the Deputy Director of the FBI's son – but, thankfully, had seen none. He got up and tried to stretch his tense muscles. What he would give to be back in New York right now, sitting around the table debating theories with the team. But in order to keep them alive, he had to stay in his new life.

Every aspect of his new life was everything he had tried to escape from, and the reasons why he had abandoned Raphi. The only thing that was he was hanging on to… the only thing that was keeping him alive was that if he could see this op through, then he could go back to the life as Danny Taylor.

Trying to maintain some sense of normality, he threw on some sweats and sneakers and went for his daily five mile run. Whatever the cartel had planned for him…whatever the CIA had planned for him, he knew he had to be prepared, hence the reason he was increasing the distance he ran. When he ran, he could lose all of his fears, all of his… he could just think of his happy memories… his life as Danny Taylor. He felt his muscles burn as he pushed himself up a dusty hill. He was glad he could feel pain. He felt as though he was finally punishing himself for what he had done to the team… to his family. By the time he had gotten back to his apartment, he was breathing hard. He climbed into the shower and tried to scrub the guilt from his body. He paused. He knew there was no way; no matter how hard he scrubbed he couldn't wash the guilt from his soul.

Stepping out of the shower, he chucked on some clothes, walked the short distance to his pick-up, and drove it up to the main house. He knew it was only a mile, but he was running late and was bound to need the pick-up later. Danny skid the truck to a halt outside the house and slammed the door. He was slowly getting use to dust and the heat that constantly seemed to stick to his skin. He hesitantly walked into Carlos Vega's office – the leader of the drug cartel. Glancing around the room, he saw the usual people there at first. However his eyes stopped when they set on one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. She was a shade under 6 foot and had a striking curved, tanned body. But it was her eyes and her smile that shone out at him. They were so captivating. Momentarily lapsing into `Danny Taylor' mode, he shot her a small smile and was slightly surprised to see that she returned the gesture.

"AJ, this is my daughter, Lucia," Carlos said to Danny as he nodded to the stunning female beside him. "She has some family business to attend to. I would like you to drive her there."

"Of course, sir," Danny replied. "What car shall I take?"

"Take the X-5," Carlos said referring to the brand new BMW X-5 SUV.

Upon hearing the orders, Danny immediately walked out to find the keys. He smiled to himself. Although this was one of the worst weeks of his life, it had made a slightly upwards turn upon meeting Carlos's beautiful daughter. He was driving a brand new, flashy car with a beautiful woman by his side. He'd learned to appreciate the small good moments in his new life of misery. Finally finding the keys, he walked outside to the driveway to find Lucia waiting for him.

"Sorry it took so look ma'am. I had some difficulty in finding the keys," Danny said as he flashed another grin at Lucia.

Lucia glanced across at Danny and smiled. He seemed different to her than her father's other men. He radiated warmth and compassion, not to mention that he was incredibly good looking.

"No worries," Lucia replied smiling. "But please call me Lucia." As they started to walk towards the car, she looked at Danny as they hesitated by the car's door. "I usually like to ride in the front, if that's alright with you."

"Of course ma-am, sorry I mean Lucia," Danny replied as he rushed forward and opened the door for her.

"Thanks," she replied. She couldn't help but smile at her father's latest employee. He seemed very sweet, and she could already feel chemistry developing between them. But her mind told her to hold back… her mind told her that below the surface, he was like the rest of her father's employee's and client's. They were only after her body or her father's drugs and money.

Finding himself smiling again, Danny started the car's engine. She was beautiful, but sadly she was way out of his league. Besides he wouldn't want to screw her over. Even if he did have a chance with her, he would have to lie to her from the beginning, and he just wasn't that kind of person.


New York
1 month since Danny's `death'

Martin paced back and forth outside Jack's office fingering the envelope that would change his future. This was his only choice… his only option. Martin stopped--his only choice… his only option--he thought grimly. No these weren't his choices or options, they were his father's. His father had set up a job in DC for him and he was too racked with guilt to react otherwise. But to be brutally honest, he didn't want Jack to accept his letter of resignation. But at the same time, he didn't know how much longer he could go looking at Danny's now empty desk without cracking. Every time the team sat around the table debating theories and generally trying to move on, he had to turn his back to Danny's desk. How could he continue to face his friends when he had caused Danny's death? He was so wrapped up in his own depressing thoughts that he hadn't noticed Jack come up behind him and tap him on the shoulder.

Jack put down the phone after a long tedious conversion with Maria's lawyer. He was supposed to have a meeting with them. But something had come up so he had missed the meeting, and due to the circumstances, he had forgotten to call. He ended up flipping out on the lawyer telling him in less than polite words, that the day of the meeting two of his people had been taken hostage. That the same people had injured one of his people and… he drew a shaky breath…and had executed the other. It was then he realised that he had never told Maria or the girls. They all loved Danny and didn't know how he could tell them, when he still could not face the fact that Danny was gone. He glanced out of his office and saw the other agent that haunted his thoughts; it wasn't Danny, but Martin. Martin was taking Danny's death the hardest and to be honest, he was extremely concerned about him. Martin was pale and drawn. His agent, who was always eating, barely ate now. Viv had resorted to cooking meals for him and putting them in his freezer. He crossed the office and tapped his agent on the shoulder, flinching as Martin jumped.

"Martin, what's the matter?" he asked.

"J-Jack," Martin stuttered, "umm… I need to talk to you."

Jack looked Martin up and down… at his skinny form… at his pale drawn face… at the dark circles under his eyes… at the envelope in his hand. He put a gentle hand on Martin's back and guided him into his office and onto the couch.

"J-Jack, umm…," Martin paused, "umm… this letter will explain things better." Martin quickly rose to leave, but found himself soon forced back into the couch by Jack's firm grip on his shoulder.

"Martin sit!" Jack said as he gently pushed Martin back down onto the couch and took the letter from him. He sat down and opened the letter. As he read the letter, he realised he was expecting it… but he wouldn't accept it. "Martin I am not accepting this," Jack said as he tore up the letter.

"Jack, accept it or I'm… quitting. I've got a job waiting for me in DC," Martin said emotionlessly, looking down at the floor.

"What crap has your father sold to you?" Jack asked barely containing his urge to yell.

"It's the only way," Martin said sadly. "If I leave, then you guys can move on." He tried to blink away the tears that had begun to sting his eyes.

Jack, seeing the tears forming in Martin's eyes, dropped his head. "Martin, we have already lost Danny to those bastards. I am not going to lose you as well," Jack said. "Now when was the last time you ate?" Pausing, he looked at Martin. "And contrary to popular belief, coffee isn't a food group."

"Umm," Martin replied, as he tried to remember when he had his last decent meal.

"That's it," Jack said, pulling Martin up. "You need fatting up." Jack made a mental note to himself to contact the `wonderful' Deputy Director of the FBI Victor Fitzgerald.

The next day Jack stormed into the office of Special Agent in Charge of the New York branch, were Victor Fitzgerald was residing.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" Jack yelled at Victor Fitzgerald.

"Excuse me? " Victor said, rising from his chair. "Agent Malone, do not take that tone with me."

"Why shouldn't I…after the way you have treated your son!" Jack yelled at Victor slamming his fist on the desk for added affect.

"He needs to get away from there," Victor replied barely containing his temper as Jack continued to degrade him.

"He needs to be here," Jack countered. "At least here, someone will keep an eye on him."

"He will get over it, Malone. Anyway Martin and Agent Taylor were so different that they couldn't have been that close," Victor said.

Jack glared at Victor. "That just proves to me how little you know about your son. Martin and Danny were very similar. They were both stubborn, hot headed, charismatic, compassionate, intelligence, brave and …" Jack paused, "and both their fathers did not deserve them."

"I will have your job!" Victor yelled, finally losing it with Jack.

"And what are you going to fire me for… doing your job?" Jack asled as he continued to glare at the Deputy Director.

"I do an exceptional job as the Deputy Director of the FBI. The President of the United States even says so," Victor said smiling.

"No, you arrogant fuck—your job as a father! Because if you had been doing that job, you would have noticed how much Martin is suffering. I am not accepting his letter of resignation. He is still on my team," Jack paused and looked down. "At least this way, I can keep an eye on him."


Colombia 6 weeks since Danny's `death'

"I want out," Danny said as he sat in Michael Clarke's car.

"Sorry but we need you in there. The information you are collecting is valuable to our work," Michael replied.

Danny sighed as he leaned back on the car's hot plastic seat, feeling his back stick to it. He was sick of this. He just wanted to go home… back to his `previous life'. "How much longer?" he asked

"I don't know maybe a few more weeks, maybe a couple of years."

"What?" Danny exclaimed, "You know I can just walk away from this and disappear."

"I advise you not do that," Michael said, as he removed a package from his coat pocket and handed it to Danny, "open it."

Danny picked it up and slowly opened it, letting the contents spill out on to his lap. Looking down at the contents, he saw six photographs. There was one of Raphi leaving his apartment, one of Sam and Martin standing outside the office, one of Viv picking up Reggie from school, one of Nicky at a baseball game, one of Silvia walking down a street pushing a baby carriage and one of Jack in the park with Hannah and Kate. Danny turned to look at Michael.

"One of my snipers took those photographs, one phone call from me..." Michael said as he twirled his cell phone in his hand, "and BANG! One of those people will die."

"You sick son of a bitch," Danny said nearly yelling.

"We also believe that you will get more information if you integrate with the group more. Sit down in the evening with them and sample their fine selection of narcotics. Get close to them."

"No way!" Danny yelled, "No fucking way, am I going to take drugs."

Michael picked up the photograph of Jack and his girls and using his fingers to mimic a gun, he placed it on Kate's forehead. "BANG or maybe you would prefer if a 3 week old baby dead, your god-daughter. That's right they still named you as Danielle's honourable god- father." Michael smiled as he watched Danny. "So you will integrate with the group in the way we have discussed."

Danny found himself staring at Michael in horror unable to respond. He felt as though someone had sucked out all of the air from his lungs. He hated drugs. He'd hated them since the day his brother started to use him as his drug mule. But given the choice between the people he loved and cared for being murdered and taking drugs, he would take the latter.

Michael looked at Danny and smiled again. "Good. I am glad we agree. I have scheduled our next meeting in two weeks, same time, same place."

"Fine," Danny heard himself say as he bolted out of the car. Soon, he found himself walking briskly down the dusty streets. Not stopping or turning to look back, just trying to put as much distance between himself and that car. He turned a corner and collapsed against a wall and threw up. He felt his legs collapse under him as he slowly slid down the wall. He drew his knees up to his chest and shook. Somehow he needed to pull himself together and stay alive, so the people he loved didn't die. He rested his head on his knees, ignoring the disapproving looks from passer-bys. He didn't understand his life at the moment. He felt that he hated his new life, especially now after what Michael Clarke had ordered him to do. Parts of this new life were everything he had spend his life running from and now he had to take drugs as well, he feared that he would screw up again. He felt as though he was standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump. As he knew as soon as he started taking those drugs, it would be as though he had stepped off that cliff. That he was freefalling to his unpleasant demise.

But at the same time, he had found some small pocket of happiness… not that he understood it. Lucia was beautiful and intelligent, yet she was the daughter of the head of the drug cartel. She seemed to smile and relax when they were together, unlike when she was with other people. Lucia was his release in his new life. His release from all the weapons and combat training he was under going. Even though it was only small talk and simple flirtatious gestures, those moments warmed his soul.

Chapter 6


Exhausted, Danny dragged his tired, aching body into his apartment after nearly twelve hours of combat and weapons training. But he was glad that he was so tired. It meant he hopefully could fall asleep without thinking about taking the drugs or so he thought. He collapsed on his bed and let his head fall into his hands. He felt his shirt stick uncomfortably to his back, but he was grateful for this discomfort for it reminded him of what he had done. He leaned back and fell onto the lumpy pillows and closed his eyes. But he knew it was pointless trying to sleep, as he could still feel the adrenaline coursing through his body. He would achieve nothing by lying here with his eyes closed. There were only 24 hours in the day and he was already using 20 of them, either for some form of combat or weapons training or cartel business. So over the last couple of months, he had learned to use his time wisely, insuring he used every second of everyday to its fullest extent.

And now he needed to use his free time… to practice taking drugs. Because if he hesitated for a second in the company of Carlos's men, then his cover would be blown and they would kill him…or worse still… the CIA would kill all the people he cared about. He stood and walked to the small kitchen to the side of his sitting room and grabbed a pot of sugar and a knife before sitting down in front of a glass table. He poured some of the sugar on to the table and rubbed his hand over his face as he took a deep breath. He hesitantly picked up the knife and began to cut the sugar as though it was coke. He cut it methodically, always pushing it back together, just as he had seen his brother do. After a few minutes, he placed the sugar into lines and put down the knife. Danny pulled out a crumpled 20,000-peso note from his pocket and carefully rolled it. As though he was ashamed, he quickly glanced around checking to make sure no one was around before he snorted it. He placed one end of the note into a nostril and blocked the other and then slowly lowered his head towards the table. Abruptly, Danny stopped. He picked up the note and knife and threw them across the room in frustration. His head fell into his hand and he let the tears fall. What the hell was he going to do? What was he going to do when he was faced with the real stuff? When he couldn't even snort fucking sugar. He leaned back and rested his head on the wall and thought of the team… his family… and Lucia. He had to do it… he would do it for them.



Lucia sighed in relief as her father gave out the work detail for the day. She was, as usual, going out on family business, but what made her smile was that AJ was driving her. She loved the drives with AJ; he was so funny and sweet. He could always make her laugh, even though she'd be going out on `family business'. She felt safe with him. Just the look he gave to her father's clients was enough to tell her that he would protect her. She quickened her pace, as she followed AJ out of the room. She noticed how tense he was but didn't comment on the matter in front of her father and the other men.

As she climbed into the car with him, she noticed his absence of warmth. "AJ, is everything alright?" Lucia asked looking at Danny in concern.

Danny looked across and gave her a small smile as he tried to hide his fears about the drug-taking session. "I'm sorry, Lucia, for acting all depressed on you. Its…" he paused, "Its just I've got a couple of things on my mind at the moment."

"Oh, I hope nothing too serious," Lucia replied with concern. Sensing that he wanted to change the subject, she turned on the radio. "Do you want the joys of local radio or a CD?" she asked whimsically.

Danny felt himself relax in the company of Lucia's lighthearted nature. "Whatever you want," he said flatly.

Lucia pulled a CD from her bag, "Guns `n' Roses, ok?" She glanced across at Danny seeing him nod with a slightly amused expression; she placed the CD in the player. "Can I turn the volume up? Sorry it just has to be played loud."

He nodded again and she turned up the volume, smiling as she watched his long elegant fingers drum the steering wheel.

They drove in silence for a while, but Lucia could not help but push the question again. "Are you sure you're alright? I mean you have been unnaturally quiet," she repeated in a worried tone.

"I'm sorry," Danny said, as he forced another smile and tried to be a little more engaging in their conversation. "It's nothing, really."

Lucia looked at Danny's forced smile that did not meet his eyes as he tried to appear as though everything was fine, when it was obviously not. For once, she could do something for him, after all of what he'd done for her. He'd never taken advantage of her, even when she had fallen asleep in the car with her head resting against his shoulder. Instead, he'd gently woken her just before they got to the compound. He always made her laugh, and always took a thermos of coffee for them to share when they were on business. Because of all of this, she laid her hand on his shoulder and pleaded again. "AJ you can tell me. I just want to help, after what you have done for me and what you do for me everyday… it's the least I can do."

Danny quickly glanced at Lucia before returning his eyes to the road. He saw the sincerity in her eyes so he confided in her without thinking. "I need to get into your father's inner circle, but in order to do that I have to take drugs and there is no way in hell I wanna to do that," he said before he could stop himself.

Lucia smiled at him and rubbed his shoulder. So he really wasn't like the rest of her father's employees at all, she thought. He was compassionate and funny, and he wasn't a junkie. After realizing this, she tried to persuade him that she really wanted to help and that she would never tell her father.

"Everyday since my mother was murdered, I have been heavily involved with my father's business, part of that involved taking drugs. But what my father doesn't know—is that I have only used coke a couple of times." Lucia paused. "Every evening, when everyone sits around taking drugs, I take a substitute substance and my father nor anyone else is the wiser. It's harmless and looks identical to coke. I just fake the rest. If you want—when I deal out the drugs—I will give you some."

Danny looked at Lucia in amazement. "You would do that for me?" he asked.

"Of course I would. After everything you have done for me…Jesus AJ… for the first time in my life, I feel safe. That's how you make me feel. Please let me return the favour by helping you."

Danny pulled the car to the side of the road, just before the client's house. He always did this, so Lucia could prepare herself. "You really don't owe me anything," he said as he looked at her and noticed the lost look in her eyes. He rested his hand on her shoulder. "Now it's my turn to ask you: Are you alright?"

Upon feeling Danny's comforting gesture, Lucia felt her façade crack. "Oh AJ… I'm scared… but I have to do it… I don't have a choice… but I'm so scared," she said as she collapsed into Danny's arms.

She got like this before every visit with one of her father's clients. Danny had learned very quickly what kind of business Carlos sent his daughter to do. Her father made her get close to his clients to ensure they kept buying his drugs. Getting close to them often meant Lucia had to do things she didn't want to do. Danny's heart broke every time she had to go on these little family business trips. The only thing he could do for her was protect her if one of the clients tried to get rough. He knew it wasn't enough, but it was all he could do and not blow his cover.

As gently as possible, Danny pulled Lucia's trembling body close and ran his hand through her hair. To have her that close took his breath away, but he wasn't about to take advantage of her, especially seeing how vulnerable she was. "Hey, it's ok. I will protect you. If he hurts you… if anyone hurts you in any way… I will deal with them. You know that," Danny said as he tried to reassure her. He hated seeing women and kids afraid. It reminded him too much of his own childhood.

Lucia relaxed in Danny's strong embrace. Just having him tell her that he would protect her made her feel safe, despite what she was about to do. The fact that she was currently lying in his arms gave her a feeling that she hadn't experienced in a long time… the feeling that she was loved. She reluctantly pulled out of Danny's embrace and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks AJ…you know…for being there for me." She paused. "And I meant what I said about helping you out with the drugs."

Danny felt his heart rate increase when Lucia leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. It was only a quick peck on the cheek yet he felt as though he was at school again and he had just scored with captain of the cheerleading squad.

Maybe if they looked out for each other and saw this through, he could persuade the CIA to let Lucia come back with him. Maybe he could give her a chance at living a real life. Maybe he would have a shot at true happiness, maybe he would have a chance of having a family… after all that was his greatest dream… to have his own family. Some people wanted riches, some people wanted fame… but all Danny Taylor wanted was a family to call his own.


New York

It had been two months since he had seen Danny murdered in front of him, and he could still not get the image out of his head. Jack and everyone had tried to persuade him to see a shrink, but he couldn't. His father would see this as a weakness. His father would think he was weaker than he already was. The fact that everyone wanted him to see a shrink proved how weak he was. But now he was trying to make amends. He was trying to move on. Hence the reason he was standing outside Sam's apartment. He had said to himself in that warehouse, two long months ago, that he would apologise to Sam for his behaviour during their relationship and now for his behaviour over the last two months. He wanted to feel happy again. He wanted feel emotions again. He doubted Danny would ever want him to feel this depressed. Martin wiped the tears that he hadn't realised had been falling and knocked on the door. He waited, as he tried to prepare himself, as he tried to think of what he was going to say, how he was going to cope with the rejection. He watched as though he was in a daze as Sam opened her door.

Sam heard a knock at her door and wondered who would be visiting her at this hour. She quickly crossed the room and opened the door to see Martin. He looked so lost and empty, as though Dornvald had sucked the life out of him in that warehouse. "Martin", she said as she put her arm around him and guided him in. "Come in. Do you want anything to drink?"

Martin glanced at Sam shaking his head. "Sam I'm so sorry," he blurted out. "I'm sorry for the way I treated you. I'm sorry I didn't understand. And I'm… I'm sorry about Danny!"

Sam stopped and turned to face Martin. She knew he was down, but she hadn't realised how depressed he had become. How much self-blame he was shouldering. She rested her hands on his shoulders and shook him slightly. "God Martin, you have nothing to be sorry for. Last time I checked, a relationship is a two way street, so I am just as much to blame." She paused and looked into Martin's guilt ridden eyes. "And why do you continue to blame yourself for Danny's death? There was nothing you could have done, nothing, Martin." Sam said as shook Martin again, as she tried to reinforce the issue.

He turned away. "You weren't there Sam; I saw his eyes before he died. He blamed me and why wouldn't he! I was driving the goddamn car, there were a ton of things I could have done. And then in the warehouse, I could have of tried to get Danny out." Martin paused; he wasn't ready to tell anyone about what he had said in warehouse. The words that almost certainly sent Danny to his death. "I know you can't forgive me for Danny's death, but can you forgive me for the way I treated you during our relationship?"

"Of course I do Martin, but as far as I am concerned there is nothing to forgive, you did nothing wrong," Sam replied as she rubbed his shoulders.

Martin took a deep breath and turned to face her, as he tried to summon up the courage. "Then-then can we try again?" Martin asked as he almost pleaded with her.

Sam looked into anguished ridden eyes, as she felt as though she was looking into his soul. But she couldn't start dating him again, not now anyway. Every time she saw Martin, she thought of Danny's last moments. She didn't blame Martin for Danny's death, but she couldn't help to be reminded of her friend's last moments when she looked into the eyes of one of last people to see him alive. She just wondered how she was going to break this to him. Not that every time she saw him she thought of Danny…no that would kill him. How was she going to break it to him that she couldn't date him. "Martin I'm sorry, but I can't," Sam said as grabbed his shoulders. "It's not you, it's me. I need some time."

Martin turned to walk away, but something was holding him back. So she didn't love him and she blamed him for Danny's death, he thought. "Ok," Martin managed to say as he dropped his head and tried to hide the tears. "I understand. I'm going to go now," He said to the floor.

But Sam held on to Martin's shoulders. She couldn't let him walk out the door like that., What the hell was he going to do once he had? She couldn't let him walk to his death. "Martin, stay. I really don't really want to be alone tonight." She said as she pulled him over to the couch and pushed him down. "I'm scared". I'm scared of what you will do to yourself if I let you walk out that door, Sam thought.



Danny sat uncomfortably in the stuffy room filled with Carlos Vega, his other employees and a couple of his clients. From what Danny could figure out from the hushed conversation, they were closing a deal. From the tension in the room, Danny guessed that the deal was worth a lot of money but it also had taken months to reach this stage. So this is what his life had come to… sitting in a stifling hot room with a bunch of junkies and dealers, while attempting to listen in, then repeating all this information back to a weasel in the CIA who he was highly suspicious of. Danny leaned back and tried to relax, but he sat up quickly when he heard a child's shriek and a flash of colour.

"Someone get that damn kid out of here!" Carlos yelled at no one in particular.

Diego, one of Carlos's men, immediately stood up on his boss's command and brutally grabbed the child. The small boy tried to struggle out of Diego's grip. "Damn you little brat, hold still," Diego yelled at the small boy and dropped him violently. The small boy cried out and tried to edge away from Diego.

Danny felt as though he was watching his own childhood. He quickly rose and roughly pushed passed Diego. He knelt down as he tried to coax the small, now terrified boy from under the table were he was now hiding.

"Hey there kiddo." Danny said smiling drawing on his comforting demeanor that he so rarely showed anymore. "How about we get out of this boring room and go play some ball?" Danny looked into the child's eyes and it was though he was looking into at reflection of himself 25 years ago. He held out his hand and watched as the boy slowly and hesitantly moved towards him, before he took Danny's hand. Danny slowly and gently pulled the boy towards him, reassuring him as he did. Then he scooped the boy up, and carried him out the room, glaring at Diego as he passed him. Danny walked down the corridor to the kitchen and put the boy down on the table. "So what's you're name?" Danny asked as he tried to comfort the boy who was now quietly sobbing.

"Christopher, but my mami calls me Chris." Chris said as he continued to cry quietly.

"Chris, that's a cool name. Are you hurt?" Danny asked. Before he could hear Chris's reply, he heard a familiar voice calling out for Chris. Before he could react, Lucia burst into the room. "Hey. I'm sorry Lucia, he ran into your father's meeting room so I brought him in here," he said defensively as Lucia put her arms around the crying child.

Lucia took one look at Danny and knew he would never do anything to her little boy. "Diego?" Lucia asked looking at Danny. Danny nodded, "That bastard. You can add single mother to your list of my weak, pathetic characteristics."

Danny looked at Lucia in confusion. "Lucia what are you talking about?"

"What you must think you me." Lucia said in an ashamed tone as she looked at her now calmed down son and then up at Danny. She let Chris go over to play with some toys, and then she turned her attention to Danny.

"Strong. Intelligent. Beautiful. Single mother, who has raised a great kid. That's what I think of you," Danny replied stepping towards her. He took a deep breath as he realized he couldn't stop himself anymore. "I really care about you, Lucia. I've felt a connection with you since the moment I set eyes on you. What amazes me is that you are as intelligent as you are beautiful and you are one of the strongest people I know."

Lucia looked into Danny's eyes and felt as though she had melted into them. She had never met a guy that didn't just want her body, but cared about her for who she was including that she was a mother. She leaned towards him and felt him kiss her gently on the lips. She didn't pull back. Instead, she responded as she felt him pull her closer. Maybe her luck had changed.