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July 1st 0300 hrs
Berlin Germany
Teufelsburg

The Hostages sat huddled in the small building at the top of the hill. One woman sat alone her head held high but tiny rivers of fear coursed through her. She would never let these men know how afraid she was. Flanked on either side by a heavily armed terrorist she waited. The terrorist leader had threatened to execute her first - America's Ambassador to Germany if their demands weren't met.

Twenty-five American, British, and German diplomats were to be summarily executed by the terrorists at exactly eight am if an equal number of political prisoners were not released from American prisons. Matt and his team knew that the President did not and would not give in to the terrorists' demands. Trout had sent the team in to Berlin hoping that Matt could affect the hostages' release. Five hours until the deadline and Matt and his team were in place. The grounds were heavily guarded at least fifteen terrorists were visible and armed to the teeth.

The lights surrounding the compound were blazing, sending eerie shadows dancing across the night sky. In four and a half hours the German anti-terrorist team had orders to move in and end the standoff. Matt knew if that happened more than one hostage was going to die.

A drizzling rain had started about twenty minutes ago making it very difficult to see even through the high power scope atop the Remington. Bringing the rifle around he watched the huddled hostages as they sat in the little shed. They were cold and several of them were shivering and close to hysteria. Swinging the big rifle to the left he saw the lone hostage with two guards, one stationed on each side. A third man stepped up behind her. Benny Ray watched as her chin came up and her eyes flashed fire - unyielding. The terrorist grabbed her by the hair jerking her head backward but the woman didn't give an inch as she glared back at him. Releasing her hair he lashed out backhanding her across the cheek. Benny Ray growled deep in his throat his finger moving toward the trigger. Slowly the woman's head came up and Benny Ray watched as she laughed at her attacker. The terrorist raised his hand again but she didn't flinch. Benny Ray grinned thinking that this woman had the heart of a warrior.

Moving on Benny Ray watched the coming and going around the compound, waiting for Matt's order when the sky above him crackled with lightening. Barely seconds later the roar of thunder split the eerie silence. His mind registered the event but his searching eyes never wavered from their mission observing the compound.

He had noticed the splintered tree behind him as he climbed into position, it's smashed and splintered trunk had been struck by lightening once before. The receiver in his ear crackled as Matt's voice chimed in. "Report!"

"Angel Two in position," CJ voice rang out. "Ready to detonate on your signal Major!"

"Roger," Matt answered.

"Angel Three," Benny Ray answered. "I have the compound in sight, total of fifteen armed roving guards."

"Roger," Matt answered.

"Angel Four in position," Chance replies, "Three Tangos North side."

"Roger," Matt answered.

Margo shivered glancing up as she answered, "Angel Five east side in position, I count two more Tangos. The storm raging around this mountain brought back many old memories that she would sooner forget.

"Roger," Matt answered. "Listen up people we do this fast and we do it quiet. CJ wait for my signal."

"Roger Angel One, on your mark!" CJ sat hidden in the brush about ten feet below the compound. He had planted explosive in strategic areas along the compound. The charges would blow windows and doors but wouldn't cause any major damage to the building. The detonations were merely a distraction, drawing the terrorist away from the main attack.

"Go!" Matt stated.

From his vantage point above the compound Benny Ray waited, Matt, Chance and Margo would notify him when their targets had been neutralized, then it would be his turn. From the corner of his eye could see movement coming from the bushes to the east of the compound - Margo he thought. Atop the building a second movement caught his eye and he tensed raising the Remington. At that moment the sky above him crackled again and the simultaneous roar of thunder was deafening as the lightening struck a large oak tree behind him. He knew he was too late the sniper on the roof had Margo in his sights. Fire erupted around him blurring his vision. Silently he screamed her name as the ground beneath him opened up. His body jerked in agony as the jolt of electricity passed through him. He felt himself falling - a black hole opened beneath him dragging him downward endlessly downward as the darkness claimed him. Time stood still as he fell. His mind focused on one thought, he had failed her and Margo would die because he hadn't taken the shot.

From the edge of the trees a sudden shiver coursed through Margo and a familiar voice screamed in her head. Her reaction was instantaneous and she dove for cover as a crack of thunder ripped through the night sky a second time.

The gathered people ducked as every hair on their body crackled with electricity, covering their eyes as the lighting struck the hillside. The bolt sizzled through the already burned out tree sending sparks and smoke billowing into the night sky.

A hundred yards away Matt saw the tree explode, calling Benny Ray's name he hoped against hope that the sniper was far enough away to survive the strike. Again he called but only silence greeted his inquiry. His heart ached as he called again only to receive the same answer - silence.

Teufelsburg, Germany

The morning sun was just breaking over the horizon as his eyes fluttered open. Benny Ray groaned as his aching body finally returned to consciousness. Blinking away the haze he rubbed his eyes trying to clear his mind of the foggy confusion. His head pounded as he lay on his back for several minutes wondering where the hell he was. The last thing he could remember was Margo moving through the bushes. Sucking in his breath he suddenly remembered the figure rising up out of the darkness on the roof of the building.

"Margo." he murmured rolling over. Dizziness washed over him as his abused body protested the sudden movement. Resting his forehead against the cool ground he waited while the spinning world came to a standstill. Opening his eyes he raised himself up on his elbows. Looking down he caught a glimpse of the watch on his left wrist. The crystal was shattered the hands frozen at exactly 3 am. Looking up he spots his pack and the Remington lying about ten feet in front of him unharmed, but what surprised him most was the huge oak tree off to his left. It stood whole and green it's crisp green leaves waving gently in the wind. Shaking his head in disgust he mumbles again, "You're loosing it Riddle." Crawling forward he picks up the rifle peering at the Teufelsburg compound spread out below him. His eyes reflected numb shock at the picture presented for him. The area was a hive of activity as uniformed men and women walked in and out of the buildings. Cars - American cars were lined up in the parking lot. An olive drab bus slowly worked its way up the hill to stop just below the main building. Laughing men and women also in uniform - American uniforms stepped off the bus and walked up the steps and into the building. What the hell was going on, where were the hostages and terrorists, where was Matt and the rest of the team. Shaking his head in bewilderment Benny Ray watched as a few minutes later more uniformed people come out of the building and boarded the green bus.

This was a dream it had to be, but if it was it was a bad one a very bad one. All he wanted to do now was wake up. Rubbing his eyes he shook his head again but only the dizziness answered his call. That's when he saw her, she was younger, five or six years younger but it was her just the same. Margo! Through narrowed eyes he watched her go in to the building. Beside her a tall slim man laughed lightly at something she said. Touching his arm lightly they went into the building smiling at one another. Three hours later they emerged getting into a little silver Mercedes before taking the winding road down the mountain. Writing down the license plate Benny Ray stuffed the little piece of paper into the pocket of his vest.

He sat on the hillside for eight hours, watching, waiting, and wondering. His steely eyes were filled with bewilderment. Where were they, Matt and the team were gone. He felt lost and alone in a world gone totally crazy. The cell phone is his pack wouldn't even register a signal not even a dial tone, all he could hear was the crackling of static.

Slowly he picked up his gear and made his way down the hill. Before the mission he had taken a good look at the map of Berlin that Trout had provided. Half a mile away lay the "Grunewald" several thousand acres of forest lay waiting deep in the heart of the bustling city. He needed time to think and plan and the Grunewald would provide him a place away from prying eyes.

Reaching the road he waited for the traffic to thin before he crossed the road into the forest unseen. Shouldering his pack he sprinted across the road continuing to run deeper into the forest finding a dark place away from the city.

Grunewald
Three days later 1310 hrs

He was tired, and baffled by the events of the last three days. Nothing was as it should be. Teufelsburg was alive with American soldiers, no terrorists, no German anti-terrorist team but most bewildering of all was no Matt, Margo, Chance or CJ where the hell could they have gone. He'd spent the last couple of days between his nest on the hill and his hidey-hole in the forest. This afternoon was different, he lay beneath some brush watching the hikers and bikers as they strolled the well maintained paths through the forest. The Grunewald had just about everything you could ask for even a lake. It was called the Wansee a few kilometers to the west used for swimming, boating and windsurfing. Earlier he had seen several horses as they galloped down the bridle paths in front of him.

About fifty feet away two women sat on a small wooden bench chatting in German. The younger woman had lifted her young son out of his stroller so he could stretch his legs and play. At the moment Benny Ray smiled gently as he watched the little man chased a fluttering butterfly across the trail. It skipped and hopped from leaf to flower just out of reach of the little tykes hands. His mother yelled to him once but the boy ignored her as he continued on in his quest to capture the butterfly. Giggling the boy moved across the gravel path and under the fence into the dirt bridle path. He was getting just a little to close for Benny Ray's piece of mind when the sounds of crunching gravel and galloping hooves reached his ears. Looking up he cringed to see the little boy kneeling down in the bridle path behind a large log lying across the trail. Leaping from his position beneath the brush he sprinted for the little boy as the horse came around the trail heading for the log.

Grabbing the boy Benny Ray knew he hadn't been quick enough. The rider had seen the flash of a body but the big gray horse was going too fast to stop. Gathering the big horse the rider asked him for a huge jump. Leaping high into to air the big horse grunted with the effort as he sailed into the air. From behind the log Benny Ray could hear the horse grunt as both it and the rider tried to avoid the collision. Dropping down Benny Ray gasps as the gray's front hoof struck his left shoulder. He hit the ground hard rolling several times but doing his best to protect the little boy wrapped in his arms.

He lay on the ground dazed by the impact as the numbing ache coursed through his shoulder. The little boy unaware of his recent narrow escape laughed delightfully at his tumble. From behind him Benny Ray could hear the screams of the boy's mother and the crunching of booted feet as someone made their way toward him.

The gray's rider had brought the big horse to a quick stop turning back to see if anyone had been hurt. Seeing the man lying on the ground she quickly dismounts dropped the horses' reins to kneel beside him. The little boy chose that moment to roll away from his rescuer to run toward his hysterical mother.

Reaching out the rider gently touches his cheek, jerking her hand away as a sharp electrical shock courses through her arm. Shaking her head she looks down to see the rise and fall of the man chest and she knows that's he's alive. Speaking softly, her voice low and coaxing, "Can you hear me," she says in German, "Are you hurt!"

He couldn't understand her but the voice was soft and melodious as it filtered through the pain in Benny Ray's body. Taking a deep breath he slowly opened his eyes. The face was familiar somehow but he just couldn't place it. The rider sucked in her breath at the pain and frustration reflected in the sapphire eyes. She asked again in German "Are you hurt!"

Unable to understand her Benny Ray closes his eyes whispering, "Would it be too much to hope that you speak English."

"No," she whispered back the voice and accent that of an American, "I speak English."

His eyes fly open meeting and holding the light hazel eyes of a young woman. She was probably in her mid twenties. Leaning over him her golden wind blown hair caught the sun's reflecting light as it danced in the wind forming a golden halo behind her head. Her white shirt gently billowed outward in the afternoon breeze. He blinked in confusion as he looked at the gold and white angel hovering over him. "I have got to be dead," he whispered wryly.

Now it was Maureen's turn to be confused, "What," she whispered?

Shaking the fog away he ignores the question by not answering.

Her face was flushed and her eyes mirrored her feeling of concern. "Where did Troubadour hit you," she asks?

Struggling to a sitting position against her protests. Benny Ray mumbles, "It's nothing."

"I felt him hit you," she says in frustration, "and it wasn't a light tap."

"I'm fine," he murmurs, sending her an icy look.

From the way he was holding himself she could see that he was favoring his left arm. As he tried to rise she pushed him back to the ground saying, "Stay put!"

He wanted to resist but his arm ached unbearably and trying to stand had send waves of dizziness washing over him.

"Where did he hit you," she asked, her eyes steely and unrelenting.

"Left shoulder," he whispered.

Gently she pulled the black T-shirt off his shoulder finding a huge bruise already staring to darken. "I need to get you to a hospital," she whispers.

"No hospital," Benny Ray states as he spins away and gets to his feet. Standing up the young woman puts her hand out steadying him as he begins to sway sideways.

Behind them the boys mother who had finally calmed down after finding her son unhurt begins to speak. In Benny Ray's head the indistinguishable words tripped over themselves as they tumble off her tongue. Shaking his head he shrugs, not understanding a single word but catching his breath as the movement aggravates his injured shoulder.

"She's thanking you for saving her son's life," the woman beside him translates. "She wants to know what she can do to repay you."

Grumbling Benny Ray whispers, "Tell her next time to keep her eye on the rugrat."

He could see the reproachful look in her eyes and relents. Smiling slightly his eyes soften as he says, "Tell her I'm just glad the boy is safe, that's all the payment I need!"

Stepping up the woman hugs him gently placing a tearful kiss on his cheek. Handing him a crumbled strip of paper the woman takes a couple steps backward still chattering before scooping her son up and walking away. Turning she waves several more times as she puts the boy back in his stroller before walking away.

Looking down at the piece of paper he can see what looks to be the woman's name and some numbers written on it.

"She said if you ever needed anything, day or night, you were to call her."

Stuffing the paper into his pocket Benny Ray turns away looking back over his shoulder as he says, "Thanks for your help."

"Oh no you don't," she says grabbing him by the shirt, "That shoulder need to be looked at. I'm not going to let you fade into the bushes. My horse hit you pretty hard!"

"It's just a bruise," Benny Ray said through gritted teeth, "I'll be fine."

Snorting at him in disgust, she says, "I'm not leaving you here, you can come with me to get the shoulder looked at or I can follow you home, either way I'm staying right beside you."

Angrily Benny Ray turned back wanting to tear her apart, but seeing the anxious troubled look in her eyes he stops. His shoulder ached he was hungry, dirty and very, very tired. Hell it wouldn't kill him to see a doc and maybe check into a hotel. He had a feeling he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon!

Seeing his surrender she whistles toward her waiting horse. The big gray lifts his head and trots to her side. "Can you ride," she asks?

Shaking his head yes, Benny Ray reaches for the stirrup, a few seconds later with her covert help he's sitting in the saddle as she mounts up behind him. Reaching around him she feels the slight bulge beneath his shirt and knows immediately it's a gun. A little shiver coursed through her but she didn't say a thing. Berlin was a dangerous place - intrigue and danger abounded in the city and the man dressed all in black, wrapped in her arms radiated danger.

Pulling herself together Maureen says, "The stable is only a mile or so from here, I'll get someone to put Troubadour up and we can go get that shoulder looked at.

I'm Maureen McMasters the young woman says softly.

Softly mumbling "Sorry," he says, "Benny Ray Riddle."

Troubadour's long smooth stride carried them quickly toward the stable. Benny Ray was surprised to see them enter the gates of Berlin's old Olympic complex. The sign on the gate as they entered the stable area said "British Saddle Club"

The stable yard was nearly deserted except for one lone soul whistling as he walked through the large barn. He turns as he hears the iron shod hooves crossing the gravel path.

Stopping Troubadour outside the barn, Maureen slides to the ground standing to the side somehow knowing Benny Ray was loath to accept help. But she stood ready just in case as he slowly dismounted the big horse. Slightly wobbly knees barely held him upright as his feet touched the ground.

Seeing the stable hand step out of the barn - Maureen calls out "Mick I need a big favor?"

"What in bloody tarnation happened to you," Mick asks his cockney accent very evident as he takes Troubadour's bridle.

Benny Ray's eyes took in the man appearance Mick was short, and his ruddy complexion and slightly bowed legs told a myriad of stories about his past.

"Troubadour and I had a little accident, I was wondering if you would give him a rubdown and put him away for me!"

"Anything for you miss," Mick says his eyes wide with unanswered questions.

"Thanks, Mick, I'll call you later," Maureen whispers placing a little kiss on the man cheek. Ducking his head Mick blushes before turning away.

Taking Benny Ray by his good arm, Maureen leads him toward her car a sleek dark green Jaguar. Opening the door she settles him inside, before taking her seat and starting the car.

"Where are we going," Benny Ray asks quietly.

"The hospital is in the American sector about 20 minutes from here. Just try and relax it won't take long.

Benny Ray's mind was filled with questions - American Sector? Berlin had become a free city in the mid 90's when the wall went down. It was only during the cold war that the city had been broken into sectors, with the French, British and Americans in West Berlin while the Russians had control of East Berlin. What the hell was happening to him - was he going crazy?

Maureen pulled up to the rear of the hospital near the emergency room. As they pull into a parking spot behind the hospital Maureen looked down at her hands resting in her lap trying to form the appropriate word. The man was too defensive by half and she wasn't in the mood to deal with the mighty male ego. Figuring the only way was to just blurt it out she says. "You should leave your weapon in the car, I don't think you'll need it in there."

Benny Ray turned his head slowly toward her his poker face unreadable. But his eyes changed - assessing her and her reaction to his carrying a gun. She didn't seem to upset by it. He knew he was going to have to find out a little more about the lady sitting beside him. "Slight problem," he said grinning, "I don't think I can do it alone." He waited as a rosy blush crept into her cheeks and she raised her eyes to his. After a little fumbling of hands and fingers, Maureen eased his injured shoulder out of the holster. Tucking it beneath her seat she looked up to see the lines of pain etched in his forehead.

It was late afternoon and the hospital was quiet as they stepped inside. An orderly seeing the two walks up asking. "Can I help you?"

Pulling a little black passport etched in gold out of her pocket, Maureen shows it to the orderly. Quirking his eyebrow at the passport Benny Ray looks questioningly at Maureen. Winking at Benny Ray she says to the orderly, "We had a little accident and this gentleman could use some help!"

The orderly recognized the diplomatic passport and knew better than to ask any more questions. But the man dressed in black standing beside her was a puzzle he had no desire to solve. "Yes Ma'am," he says. Grabbing a wheelchair they settle Benny Ray in before the orderly wheels him into a treatment room.

It was a little over an hour later before Benny Ray was ready to leave. The little black passport had made life very simple. No one asked any question and the hospital staff worked quickly and efficiently. A doctor examined his shoulder sending him immediately to X-Ray. Resting in the little treatment room his shoulder throbbing incessantly Benny Ray listened as the doctor read the X-Rays - pronouncing nothing broken.

"But that's a very deep bruise," the doctor states, "and it's going to be sore for a couple of weeks. I'm going to give you something for the pain and I want you to rest and keep the arm immobile for at least a week."

Benny Ray was about to protest, knowing he needed to keep his wits about him without fogging up his brain with drugs. He was unsure of what the hell was going on. The door opened then and Maureen stepped into the room. She had heard the doctors' words and saw the mulish expression on Benny Ray face. "I'll make sure he gets the rest he needs doctor."

Steely blue eyes flash fire as Benny Ray throws her a look of disgust.

Grinning, she backs out of the room as a nurse enters with a loaded tray. Benny Ray groaned at the trays content. Two syringes sit waiting along with a sling for his arm and a small bottle of pills.

Less than ten minutes later, Benny Ray comes out of the room his arm cradled in the sling the bottle in his hand as he rubs his sore hip. "I hate hospitals," he mumbles.

Laughing Maureen takes the bottle from his hand as she leads the way back to the car. "So where can I take you," she asks?

"A decent hotel would do," he responds.

Surprised by his answer she says, "You don't already have a hotel or a place to stay," she asks? "What the heck were you doing - living in the forest?"

"It's a long story and I can't explain," he sighs.

"So what am I suppose to with you," she asks.

"I told you," he said frostily, "take me to a hotel."

Maureen turned away angrily, frustrated by the man sitting beside her.

"What about you," he asks suddenly, "you waltz into the hospital flash your little diplomatic passport and the world falls at your feet."

Maureen hesitates, what she did was no secret, but she had no idea who this man really was or where he came from. She'd seen him throw himself in harms way to save the boy but she really did know anything about him except his name and the fact that somehow she was inexplicably drawn to him. His eyes were filled with secrets and something else a flicker of fear maybe but he had covered it quickly. She'd also seen something there that made her instinctively trust him, why she didn't have a clue. He was hurt and tired and that was evident in every line and movement of his body. She knew she was probably being a fool for trusting him but she wasn't the type to just drop him off and never see him again or not know what had become of him. Making her decision she heads for home.

"I work at the American Embassy I'm the Ambassadors aide," she says carefully waiting for a reaction. When none came she continued. "I've been here in Berlin for almost two years. I love this city - the city that never sleeps." she whispered lightly.

Benny Ray closed his eyes resting his head against the back of the seat as her pleasant voice washed over him. She talked about her job and the city and he could hear the excitement in her voice.

Ten minutes later Maureen pulled her car into the driveway of a little stone house. Opening his eyes he was surprised to see a house and not a hotel.

Turning her way he opens his mouth to protest as she glares him, "Not one word," she says, "your staying here until I'm satisfied your shoulder is healed."

He didn't know why he was giving in so easily, maybe it was his shoulder, maybe it was something else, something about her drew him close like a moth to a flame so he followed her in to the house without saying a word.

A few hours later he was amazed at how much better a shower and a good meal could make a person feel. Sitting in a comfortable chair in the living room he glanced at the table beside him. A newspaper the "Stars and Stripes" lay open beside him. Glancing at the front page his eyes caught the date and he sucked in his breath in confusion. June 28, 1995. Picking up the paper he turns to Maureen asking, "Is this the correct date?"

Giving him a strange look she says, "Yes, that's today's paper, is something wrong!"

1995, how was that possible? It was suppose to be July 2001. Was he dreaming, or was it something else. Hell maybe he really was dead!

Maureen saw his face go pasty white as he stared at the paper, "Are you ok," she asks gently. "Is something wrong!"

Dazed by the facts staring up at him from the paper he looks up. A look of shock and unbearable pain shone from his eyes.

Standing up quickly Benny Ray pulled himself together. He knew he would have to think about his situation sooner or later but right now he was exhausted and all he wanted to do was sleep.

Sleep came easily the first few hours' exhaustion taking its toll. But his mind soon turned to thoughts of Margo. Had she survived the snipers bullet? What was she doing here in Berlin now in 1995 if that's where he was and why had she looked so different? He was living a nightmare and his fevered brain called out breaking the stillness of the quiet little house. "Margo," he yelled time and time again. Until a gentle voice slowly brought him back to consciousness.

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes he looks into the worried eyes of Maureen. "You were having a bad dream," she whispers. "Yelling someone's name - Margo I think."

Sitting up he rubs his hands through his hair the sound of his voice hopeless as he says, "Margo."

"Who's Margo," Maureen asks quietly.

Sighing deeply he says, "A friend, Margo Vincent."

"I know Margo," Maureen says, "She comes into the embassy once in a while."

Twisting around Benny Ray asks, "Do you know how I can find her?"

"No, but I'll see what I can find out," she says. "Right now you should try and go back to sleep." His face was flushed and she thought he was probably running a fever. Maureen knew something was bothering him but until he opened up and trusted her there was nothing she could do for him.

Climbing back beneath the covers he turns to look at her. "Thanks," he says quietly, "For everything, I should have said it before but…"

"Your welcome," she whisper, "and I understand."

Smoothing out the covers Maureen stands up watching as his eyes slowly close. A few minutes later his breathing slows and deepens as he drifts back to sleep. She had a hundred questions running around in her head. How did he know Margo Vincent? As the Ambassador's aide Maureen knew that Ms. Vincent was CIA. Her meetings with the Ambassador were closed and highly classified. Only they knew what mission Margo was assigned.

Leaning up against the door she watches the sleeping man. She had never met anyone like him before. Angry, frustrated, even hurt he moved with the lithe grace of a hunting Tiger, the power barely leashed. He was a soldier and from the look of him a deadly one. Was he really a friend of Margo Vincent's or was he here for another more deadly purpose. Too many questions and not enough answers, she mused.

Benny Ray slept for nearly twelve hours. Maureen was starting to worry as he tossed restlessly several times calling out Margo's name. Nearing eight a.m. the next day his fever broke and he slept peacefully for several more hours.

He woke slowly, his body not yet ready to face the thought of movement. The sun was fairly high in the sky but he sensed it was still morning. His shoulder throbbed but the pain was manageable as the door to his room opened slightly.

Sticking her head in Maureen saw the dark bruise etched on his shoulder. Sighing in relief she smiled when he turned to look at her. He looked a whole lot better than he had the day before. "Good Morning sleepy head, didn't think you were ever going to join the land of the living again. Are you hungry?"

"Yes Ma'am," he said rolling over as his stomach started to growl.

Laughing Maureen pointed to the dresser saying, "I washed your things if you need help holler," as she steps back out of the room closing the door behind her.

Benny Ray sat up slowly staring at the closed door. Maureen was a puzzle, she kept her distance but she had also taken him in and cared for him without knowing anything about him. He could have been an axe-murderer for all she knew. He carried a weapon and yet she hadn't really said a word about it. For some reason she trusted him, she had no reason too but she did. Shaking his head he turned his thoughts back to the present and the problem of getting dressed. Standing up he sees the Glock on top of the holster with the magazine lying next to it on top of the dresser. For the first time he took a good look at his watch, the crystal was shattered but the date and time were clearly visible 1 July 2001 and he stared at it for several seconds before stuffing it into his pocket.

A few minutes later he stepped through the door to the smells of bacon, eggs and potatoes.

Seeing his left arm hanging at his side she frowned at him. Holding up his right hand he says meekly, "I couldn't get the damn thing buckled."

The frown disappears as she takes it from him, cradling the arm inside she wraps it around his neck and shoulder before buckling it in place. "How's the shoulder this morning?

"Fine," he says.

Sticking her knuckle in his back she says angrily, "I think even if you were dying, you'd say you were fine."

His eyes crinkled with laughter as he looked into her angry face. "It's better," he says, "it still aches some but, it's better."

Like lightning the anger was replaced by rueful laughter as she say, "Now that wasn't so hard was it?" "Sit and eat," she said without waiting for a reply or knowing she wasn't going to get one.

Later as she's cleaning up she says, "I have to go to work in a little bit, if I see Margo do you want me to tell her you're here." When he doesn't answer she turns to see a brooding thoughtful expression.

Looking up he shakes his head in denial, "No ma'am, but if you get me an address I'll go see her myself."

"I'll try," Maureen answers.

American Embassy
Berlin Germany
29 July 1995

Maureen spent the first several hours going over the ambassadors' correspondences, but her mind kept drifting back to the enigmatic man she had left behind. He was a puzzle, soft and gentle one moment, hard and secretive the next. She had seen the confusion mirrored in his eyes when she had caught him staring out the window. He was worried and she sensed he was confused but he wasn't willing to share his problem with her. Yesterday when he had save the little boy she had made up her mind to help him in any way she could, she had hoped that somehow he would trust her enough to confide in her.

Pushing him from her mind Maureen went back to work. As it neared the end of the day, Maureen heard a familiar voice outside her office. Margo Vincent had arrived and was talking to the Ambassador. "Yes Sir, the meeting is set for the night of the 30th. If everything goes as planned I should have the information back here by early morning."

"I'll be waiting Ms. Vincent, if you need anything please don't hesitate to ask."

"Thank you Sir, she replied, we're staying at the Monarch. If something should change I'll contact you immediately."

"Same here Ms. Vincent, and thank you for all your help."

"It's my pleasure ambassador," Margo says as she shakes his hand.

13414 Clayallee Strasse
Berlin, Germany

After Maureen left Benny Ray paced the little house restlessly. He fussed and fiddled for nearly an hour running the facts through his head yet unable to come up with an answer. Rolling the facts over in his mind only made his head hurt. He figured by all accounts he was either dead or so far down in a coma he wasn't likely to wake up. If he was dead maybe he was reliving another life - but whose - it certainly wasn't his? Margo's maybe, Benny Ray remembered her talking about her time in Berlin. She'd lost a friend and lover there and come close to loosing her own life. Why was she here now, why was he here? Scratching his head in confusion he sat down on the couch. Picking up the remote he pressed the power button and waited for the picture to come on. He wasn't really paying attention as he flicked through the channels his mind was still mulling over his problem.

Finding the one American channel he dropped the remote back onto the table as he settled down resting his head against the soft cushion of the sofa's arm. It only takes a few minutes for sleep to take hold, but his thought are of Margo and the hostages. His sleep is troubled and restless. Nearly an hour later his mind finally calms. The lines on his face soften as sleep deepens.

Maureen quietly opens the front door putting her keys on the table in the hallway she listens intently. The house is silent as she steps into the living room. Standing beside the couch she looks down into the sleeping face of her guest. He looked so different now - more at ease the worry erased from his handsome face as he slept deeply a peaceful healing sleep.

Benny Ray woke instantly his eyes steely and searching. As he snaps his head toward the sound his body tenses shooting to a sitting position his hand slides beneath the sling, only to stop knowing the Glock was still sitting on the dresser beside the bed. Seeing Maureen his body relaxes his eyes wary but no longer icy.

Maureen stepped back sucking in her breath at the feral look in his eyes, the tiger was preparing to pounce.

"Sorry," he mumbled seeing the fright in her eyes, "Old habits die hard!"

"Who did you think I was," she asked?

"It doesn't matter," Benny Ray says as he swipes his right hand through his hair trying to pull himself back together.

"It does to me," Maureen asks the first stirring of anger began to sparkle from her eyes.

"I can't explain," Benny Ray says getting to his feet.

"Oh I see," she throws at him, "the big bad soldier can't let down his guard or trust anyone." "Oh wait," she barks her voice dripping with sarcasm, "I know - it's for my own protection." "Fine," she spits scornfully, "Keep your deep dark secret, I hope you choke on them."

Stepping across the room Benny Ray grabs her by the arm. Spinning back to face him seconds fly by as she waits her angry eyes boring into his.

Trying to form the words that will make his upside world sound feasible Benny Ray quietly begins his story leaving out the most unbelievable parts. "We came to Berlin to stop a terrorist who had taken some diplomats hostage, but things have gotten all screwed up. Lightning and thunder crashed around us that night then everything went dark. I woke up hours later with a blinding headache. My team - my friends were gone and I can't find them. The terrorists and hostages had vanished completely. I can't seem to remember anything about that night it's all a blur. I don't know what happened to me. I can't make sense of anything, it's like living your worst nightmare and not being able to wake up."

Releasing her he steps back as he continues, "I knew Margo a long time ago I saw her that morning up there on Teufelsburg. She was different and somehow she's involved in this but I just don't know how or why! I intend to find out."

Defeat and despair wash over him as he walks away, not wanting to see the hatred and disgust that she must be feeling. "I'll leave," he says.

Maureen should have been surprised by his declaration even shocked but she wasn't. "Don't go," she whispers holding out her hand. She didn't know why she stopped him her mind told her to let him go, but her heart ruled her head this time and she wanted desperately to make him stay. Trying to think of a way she blurts out. "I know where Ms. Vincent is staying."

Benny Ray stops, turning slowly back to face her, waiting as hope dawned in his heart.

"She is staying at the Monarch Hotel, downtown on the Kudamm. All I heard was she had a meeting with someone the night of the 30th tomorrow. If you can find her, maybe she can help you find your friends." Maureen could see the wheels turning watching as his eyes sparkling with a renewed sense of purpose.

Stepping up Benny Ray gently cups her right cheek in his hand his voice low and husky as he asks, "Why are you doing this?

"I don't really know," she answers leaning in to brush her cheek again his warm calloused palm. "Somehow I just know I have to help you complete whatever you've come here to do. When I first saw you lying there on the ground it was like I somehow knew you - that we had some kind of connection. I can't explain it but your life became very important to me then, and I will see this through to the end."

Maureen reached up to brush a stray lock of hair from his forehead. Benny Ray bent closer his lips brushing lightly across hers. A shock passed through them as their lips met. But it didn't stop Benny Ray from deepening the kiss as his hand slid behind her head tangling his fingers in her silky hair.

Maureen shivered beneath his touch reaching up she slides her arms around his neck returning his kiss hungrily. Benny Ray groaned as her tongue flicked across his lips. Pulling her close her body molded to his, the heat rising between them. Maureen wrapped her arms around him only to feel him flinch. Remembering the bruised shoulder she lifts her head. The expression on his face was hot and hungry and she knew they reflected only what was in her own heart. "Your shoulder," she whispered?

"Forget my bloody shoulder," he murmured huskily as a slow lazy smile crossed his lips. He reached down with his good arm lifting her off her feet he pulled her close once more. Maureen chuckled as she wrapped her arms around him. His eyes never left hers as he walked into the bedroom.

Clayallee Strasse
Berlin, Germany
30 June, 0630hrs

Benny Ray slept on as Maureen slowly woke beside him. She slid from beneath the covers to stand beside the bed looking down into his sleeping face. A contented smile crossed her lips as she thought about their lovemaking. His hands had been soft and gentle as they caressed her. He had taken the time to bring them together, she hadn't expected it, but the fires had grown and together they had reached the heights of passion as one.

Thirty minutes later Maureen was showered and dressed. Turning the corner she saw Benny Ray barefoot, wearing only his pants standing in the doorway - leaning against the wall, he gazed at her questioningly?

Running a caressing hand across his cheek she smiles gently before wrinkling her nose up at him. "Work!"

Growling back at her with a smile he says, "Work, it's inescapable!!!" Reaching out he slides his arm around her waist pulling her close. The gentle touch of his lips on hers melts her soul and she could feel his body shiver as the world around them tilted crazily and the floor beneath their feet seemed to shake.

Releasing her suddenly Benny Ray blinked rapidly as the world settled back into place. His eyes followed Maureen as she took several steps backward. "What the hell was that," she asked breathlessly.

Thoughts of his experience up in the snipers nest on Teufelsburg flicker through his mind as he breaths quietly, "Kinda like getting struck by lightening."

Wonderingly Maureen touches her lips as she grabs for her purse and keys. "I, umm have to go!"

Sapphire eyes dark and misty crinkle with laughter as he watched her flee through the door.

Monarch Hotel
Kufurstendam Strasse
30 June, 1230 hrs

He stood hidden in the shadows watching the guests moving in and out of the hotels lobby. Three hours he'd waited and his efforts were rewarded as Margo and her companion stepped off the elevator. Benny Ray wasn't surprised to see their arms linked. The sight of them several days ago had given him the impression that they were lovers.

They strolled out of the hotel and down the sidewalk withBenny Ray following. He was surprised by the emotions he'd seen written on Margo's face. She loved him! The man at her side wasn't just her partner. That's when he began to remember. Margo had talked about him once, Noah was his name and she had fallen in love with him, but he had been killed on a mission gone wrong in Berlin. Could this be that mission?

They stopped at a tiny café along the Kudamm eating, talking and laughing as the afternoon wore on. They shopped and kissed as her companion chooses an exquisitely wrought rose pendant. Gold and silver filigree twined around a large ruby. From the shadows Benny Ray watched as he pinned the rose to Margo sweater. Margo's face radiated happiness as she folded her companion in her arms and hugged him close. Arm in arm the stopped at the Coffee Haus across the street from the jewelry store. Standing under a tree in front of the jewelry store window, Benny Ray glances in. A Seraph her wings stretched upward reflecting the midday sun catches his eye. Glancing across the street he sees Margo and her companion sipping coffee. On a whim he steps in to the jewelry store. Picking up the little angel his fingers slowly caress the little pendant. A few minutes later the little angel is wrapped and stowed in his pocket.

The rest of Margo's afternoon consisted of a visit to the Zoo and more shopping. Benny Ray grinned to himself, she certainly hadn't changed - she had honed her skills, turning shopping into an art form. Loaded down with packages they headed back to the hotel. Following them up a flight of stairs Benny Ray waits as they say their good-bye. Barely hearing their whispered words - "Midnight," she breathes, "He won't wait long."

Benny Ray waited for the click of doors before stepping into the hallway. "Midnight - to follow them he needed a car wondering where he could rent one. Knowing if it came down to it he wouldn't hesitate to steal one.

He had left off the sling and his shoulder throbbed painfully. Hailing a taxi Benny Ray relaxed again the seat as he headed back to Maureen's. Running the facts through his head he wondered who "He" was? He had an idea but only time would tell if it was correct.

It was a few minutes after six when he returned to Maureen's. Wondering about his reception, he knocks softly at the front door. He can hear her voice calling out, "it's open," as he steps inside.

"You're a trusting soul," he shouts back.

"Nah," she answers, "I saw the taxi dropping you off!"

Narrowing her eyes at the tired expression and the way his shoulder was drooping, she growls, "Why aren't you wearing the sling?"

Grinning sheepishly, he answers, "I forgot!"

"Forgot my ass," she growls again, "you are the stubbornness man it has ever been my misfortune to meet."

Dragging him into the bedroom she roughly cradles his arm in the sling feeling him flinch before buckling it in place. "Serves you right," she says before pinching him in the side for good measure.

He squeaked slightly when she pinched him but he wasn't about to admit that she was right. The sling made a big difference and the throbbing eased as the weight was taken off his shoulder.

"Dinner," he asked, but seeing the wary look on her face he continues, "my treat!"

A Radiant smile crosses her face, "I know this great little place just down the street, Chateau Briand," she breathed.

Benny Ray rolled his eyes, wondering if he would regret his impulsive offer. They walked to a small restaurant two blocks away. Maureen was radiant, laughing and witty her whole demeanor entranced him. It was nearing nine when they returned to the house.

Sitting in the living room Benny Ray finally gets around to asking, although it was more a statement than a question. "I need to use your car tonight!"

Maureen turned her head her eyes assessing his asking, "Margo?"

"Yes," he answers evasively.

"Fine but I'm going with you," she states.

"No," he growls pulling away. He didn't want her anywhere near him this evening. If Margo was in trouble it was more than likely someone was going to get hurt or killed and he didn't want it to be Maureen. That's when he realized he was falling in love with her. He'd only know her a couple of days but she had reached in and taken hold of his heart. Pulling himself together his eyes go blank unwilling to open himself up.

Maureen sat on the couch watching the myriad of emotions that crossed his face. She saw concern, but was it concern for himself or for her. She smiled gently, willing to play his game and wait him out. "Will you at least tell me where you're going?

Maureen could see the indecision written on his face. He wasn't use to sharing. She began to understand just a little bit more about him.

"It's ok," Benny Ray she says as she stands up reaching out to touch his hand. "Take the car," she murmured. "Am I going to read about this in tomorrow's paper?"

Benny Ray looked up meeting her eyes as he answered. "A definite possibility," he chuckles.

Taking the keys from her outstretched hand he gently squeezes her fingers before picking up his gear. Together they head for the door. Maureen a step ahead opens it, waiting for him to pass through. He stops beside as she asks, "Are you coming back?"

Reaching out he draws her close kissing her deeply. Setting her back down he doesn't answer. If things worked out he would be back, but sometimes things didn't work out as planned and he wasn't about to promise her anything. He couldn't! Closing the door behind him Benny Ray heads for the car.

Inside the house Maureen turns away stopping as she sees the little box sitting on the table. Opening it quickly she runs her fingers across the little angel nestled in the snowy soft cotton. Clipping the necklace in place she grabs her coat and runs to for the basement stairs. Opening the garage doors she pulls the a little motorcycle away from the wall. Firing it up she heads for the heart of Berlin - Kufurstendam and the Monarch Hotel

Bernauer Strasse
Berlin GE.

He paced the room furiously. The peace of his Hi-rise penthouse apartment in downtown Berlin reverberated with angry expletives. The man standing in front of the desk cringed at the explosion.

"They will pay for their deceit," the man growled. Turning back he slams his fist on the desk spitting out his words. "Find Lars," I want him here in thirty minutes."

"Yes Sir," his henchman whispered before bowing and almost running out the door. His woosh of pent up breath showed the relief at being out of harms way. His boss was not the kind of man to cross and the woman had done exactly that. An undercover CIA agent! He didn't want to be in her shoes. Lars would make sure she never saw the morning sun rise again.

Fifteen minutes later a quiet knock on his study door brought a sadistic smile to his face. "Come," he shouted. Waiting as the door swung open revealing a big heavily built man. Well over six feet tall the blonde blue-eyed giant was an intimidating site. But his beautiful face was cold and unfeeling. Cruel icy eyes that could stare right through a man looked questioningly at the man sitting behind the desk.

Flinging two pictures on the desk for the newcomer he says, "I want her to watch him die, he is to live long enough to look into her eyes one last time."

"What about the woman," Lars asks his deep bass tone voice echoed throughout the small room.

The woman is mine," he murmured slowly, "my men will capture her, when I am finished with her she will long for death. I am to meet them on Teufelsburg tonight at midnight,. I will let you know when to kill him. I want to toy with them a little, watch their faces as they begin to realize I know who and what they are."

"Yes Sir," the big man says as a tight cruel little smile breaks the harsh lines of his face.

Grunewald
Berlin GE.

The rain was beginning to fall as Benny Ray drove to the North side of the forest parking the car as close to his camp as possible. It took less than 20 minutes to reach it. The Remington and the rest of his gear were just as he had left them. With his arm still resting in the sling it was a little awkward carrying everything. He knew it would be worth it if he could rest the shoulder a little longer - he might have more urgent need of the arm later when the meeting was to take place. Stowing the gear in the trunk of Maureen's car he pulls away from the curb heading for the Monarch Hotel. It was still nearly an hour before Margo and her partner were to meet before heading to the rendezvous point.

Maureen watched from across the street as Benny Ray pulled up. She waited as he waited almost an hour before Margo and her companion came out of the hotel. The trip up to Teufelsburg took less than 20 minutes. By the time they reached the base of the mountain the rain was falling in torrents. The sky glowed with lightning as the crackle of thunder split the night sky.

Margo and her companion pulled their car up the south face of the little mountain climbing a path to the rendezvous point. Parking the jag at the base of the mountain Benny Ray followed taking up his previous position on the hillside beneath the oak tree. Soaked to the skin he shivered as a second bolt of lightening lit the sky. Pulling the night vision goggles from his pack he glances carefully around finding six heat signatures hidden near the rendezvous point. Continuing the search he finds one lone tango higher up on the hill. The Man was lying in the prone position - possibly a sniper.

Benny Ray had slid silently into the shadows and out of sight. Unable to find or follow him Maureen moved quietly up the hill following the path Margo had taken. Staying in the shadows she kneels down behind some brush to wait and watch.

Margo tensed as her contact slid out of the forest. A smile was plastered on his face but Margo could see him tense his eyes flashing angrily. Behind him six men stood with weapons raised.

"Margo Vincent," Kepper growled, his Germanic accent heavily lacing each word.

Snapping to attention Margo brought her arm up pointing her weapon at Kepper's heart. Noah standing beside raised his weapon on guard.

Kepper laughed, "You'll be dead before you can pull the trigger," he sneered.

"Maybe," Margo said grimly, "but there's a 98% chance I'll pull the trigger before I die which mean, you get to die too!"

"I will not die Margo, but you and your friend will, that you can be sure of! I trusted you, only to find out that you were betraying me." "CIA," he spit! "Did you think I wouldn't find out who you were?"

"How did you find out Kepper," Margo asks tilting her head to right as she looks at him?

"You betrayed yourself Margo, one on my associates recognized your lover."

Up on the hill Benny Ray tensed as he saw Kepper and his thugs step out of the bushes as Margo raised her weapon. Across the way the sniper remained still. Was he Margo's backup or Kepper?

The Remington lay nestled in the pocket of his shoulder his finger lightly caressing the trigger. Watching and waiting he remained alert to the actions of the man on the hill. Something was wrong, Margo actions were defensive he could see her bristling with anger.

"Take her," Kepper hisses to his men, as he shouts, "Lars."

Seeing movement across the hill Benny Ray shifts position bringing the rifle up he squeezes the trigger. Without hesitation he shifts again loading and pulling the trigger in seconds - sighting on Kepper's men.

Hidden beneath the tree Maureen gasped as the drama begins to unfold. Where was Benny Ray, what was Margo doing here?

Hearing his name Lars had lazily raised his rifle unaware of the danger hidden across the hillside. He squeezed the trigger as Benny Ray bullet sliced through his forehead. His never saw his bullet hit the mark.

Beside her Margo's companion jerked backward as Lar's bullet hit him in the chest. Seeing the movement from the corner of her eye Margo leaped for cover, as all hell broke loose. Benny Ray open fired and three of Kepper's men lay dead. Kepper himself dove for cover his weapon trained on Margo fleeing body. That's when the sky opened for a third time. The lightening crackled slicing down to strike the big oak only feet from Benny Ray. Benny Ray fired again as the ground around him convulsed and the electrical current engulfed him. Kepper's body jerked sideways as he fired - Benny Ray's bullet striking him in the side. Off balance the bullet went high missing Margo.

Unaware that his bullet had struck Kepper, Benny Ray screamed Margo's name as the fires washed over him. Looking up both Margo and Maureen saw his body silhouetted again the night sky before the silence and darkness took him and settled over the landscape once more.

Seeing their leader go down the remaining thugs grabbed his unconscious body before slinking back into the bushes. The silence was deafening as the little drama came to a conclusion. Margo crawled to her companions' side. His eyes flickered open and he smiled up at her bringing his hand up to wipe away the tears streaming down her cheek. Hearing his raspy rattling breath she hushed him placing a gentle butterfly kiss on his lips.

"I love you," she whispered tearfully before his eyes closed for the last time. A deep sigh escaped him as he breathed his last breath. Pulling him close Margo hugged him tight.

Maureen leaped from her hiding place running up the hill toward the burning oak tree, praying that Benny Ray was still alive. Cresting the hill, she falls to her knees at the emptiness of the little plateau. Benny Ray was gone, the only sign he had been there was the charred remains of his sling and the keys to her car as they reflected the light of the burning tree. Picking them up Maureen squeezed them tight. Looking around Maureen hoped to find his unconscious body somewhere in the bushes but her searching proves futile.

Swept up in the maelstrom created by the electrical energy surrounding him, Benny Ray was being sucked down into the darkness. This time his mind refused to give in to the darkness the searing fires coursing through his body were nearly unbearable. Time stopped for Benny Ray as he plummeted through the darkness. When the maelstrom finally finished with him he hit the ground hard the impact knocking the breath from his abused body. He groaned but opened his eyes. The world spun crazily as he tried to focus. Pulling himself together he was shocked to see a body rise up on the rooftop across from him - Déjà vu he knew immediately he was back where he started - but was he too late. His muscles protested, his left shoulder barely usable Benny Ray raised the Remington. Placing his sights on the tango he squeezes the trigger. He could hear Matt's voice somewhere in his head telling the team to move in. The Remington fired time and time again and a tango falling with each successive shot.

Chance and CJ moved in silently taking out their targets, as did Matt. Ignoring the pain in her shoulder Margo moved in. She knew Benny Ray had set up close to the burned out oak tree. When the tree had been struck by lightening Margo had thought Benny Ray might be dead or unconscious, especially when after hearing Matt's repeated cries for him to answer - the line remained silent. When she saw the men in the compound begin to fall, her heart jumped for joy, he was alive!

The terrorists were confused, their morale broken as their comrades one by one began to fall. Most of them broke and ran only to encounter the deadly accuracy of the teams' weapons. Only one remained - the leader - as he grabbed the ambassador by her hair he pulled her to her feet using her as a human shield as he raced for the trees.

Training his weapon on them Benny Ray hissed as he looked through the scope at the fleeing pair. An intimately familiar face stared back at him "Maureen," he whispered.

Maureen had cried out when the terrorist grabbed her by the air and hauled her to her feet. As she was dragged closer to the tree line she knew help was not going to arrive. Flailing out she catches her attacker in the face with her fist splitting his lip. His angry reaction was swift and brutal slamming his fist into the middle of her back. Maureen stumbled as the pain coursed through her. Falling forward she lands hard scraping her hand and knees on the rocky ground.

Gathering his waning strength Benny Ray raised the Remington once more. He growled as he caught only tiny glimpses of the terrorist as he peeked out from behind Maureen. Narrowing his gaze Benny Ray grinds his teeth in frustration as he sees the struggle between Maureen and the tango escalate. His chance came when Maureen stumbled falling to her knees. Instantly Benny Ray pulled the trigger. The terrorist flew into the air as the bullet struck him. Falling onto his back the man lay still, as Maureen climbed slowly back to her feet.

Moving in CJ, and Chance did their best to check the downed tangos, securing those that still lived, while Matt and Margo tried to calm the hysterical hostages. Calling in the cavalry Matt pulls out a radio giving the all clear to the German anti-terrorist team waiting several miles away.

Agonizingly slow, Benny Ray climbed to his feet. Maureen saw him silhouetted again the blazing tree and gasped - grabbing hold of the little pendant hanging around her neck she knows immediately who stands on the hillside. Breaking into a run as he slowly starts down the hill Maureen stops short as she came face to face with a long ago dream come back to life.

Afraid to believe she waits.

Margo too saw the silhouette on the hillside and waves of long suppressed memories rise to the front. Long ago a man had stood on that hillside. That man had probably saved her life.

Drooping with exhaustion Benny Ray reaches out enfolding Maureen in his arms. Pulling her close he hugs her tight, as the police sirens draw near.

It only took a few minutes to calm the hostages and make them understand that they were safe. After turning the hostages over to the German police Matt and Margo head for the sniper's position with Chance and CJ close behind.

Releasing Maureen he takes a stumbling step backward as his friends draw close.

Though his eyes are glazed with pain and exhaustion he grins as his slow southern drawl whispers into the darkness, "Didn't think I'd even set eyes on any of you again. I hate to admit it but I missed you."

Misunderstanding CJ chuckles as he says, "I bloody well thought you'd been fried up on that hill my friend."

Benny Ray smiled as the darkness closed in around him his knees buckle loosing consciousness. Catching the sniper Matt lowered him gently to the ground.

American Ambassador's residence
Berlin, Germany
Two Days later

Benny Ray had spent the previous night in the hospital, bullied by both Margo and Maureen to stay put and get some rest and much needed sleep. Now he sat in Maureen's living room knowing sooner or later he was going to have to try and answer their questions. His shoulder ached and he shifted his arm in the sling to a more comfortable position. He had seen the look in Maureen's eyes when she saw the bruise on his shoulder - the same bruise he had carried a lifetime ago.

Margo broke the silence asking the question uppermost in her mind. "That was you on the mountain when Noah was killed wasn't I t?"

Nodding yes he sees the anger forming in her eyes.

"Why didn't you say something, why did I have to find out like this" she growls.

How the hell did he explain it to her, if he told her the truth she'd have him carted off to the funny farm. Running the words through his head he says silently, "Two night ago I was struck by lightening and traveled through time to bail your pretty little ass out of a jam - how do you like them apples." In reality he swallowed hard looking away as he makes up an excuse. "It was a special assignment that night I just happened to be at the right place at the right time."

When she saw him drop his eyes she knew he was lying. Snorting in disgust Margo shrugs in disbelief. "Fine, someday I hope you'll trust me enough to tell me the truth." Stomping out of the room she glares at him before turning away.

Maureen could see the hurt in his eyes at Margo's words. Reaching out to him she says, "I never believed in all that hocus pocus and science fiction stuff about time travel. Even now it's hard to believe it happened, but it did happen didn't it Benny Ray."

"Yes," he answers. Pulling her into his arms he whispers gently, "I don't know how, but it brought you into my life and I'm glad of that!"

End Of Line

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