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Fanfiction: Hidden Truths - Part III

For disclaimers and author's note see Part I.
 

Part 4


Hawke saw the Valley of the Gods ahead of them, the red stone awash with early morning sunlight and gave a sigh of relief. He shifted fruitlessly trying to ease the stiffness from flying too long in a temperamental aircraft that demanded constant focus. He’d switched to autopilot for a large proportion of the journey home but even so…he glanced behind him and smiled at the sight of Dom sat in the engineer’s chair snoring away.

They’d completed their mission to get Zeus and Dorothea safely to Washington. It hadn’t been as bad as he’d thought transporting the director of the FIRM. The older man had even admitted with some awe that Airwolf was an outstanding machine. Hawke smiled. He’d seen the momentary look of panic on Zeus’ face when they’d hit the turbos and gone to mach speed. That moment alone had made the trip worth the inconvenience.

It had been good to ensure Dorothea had been taken care of too, Hawke thought as he ran an automatic scan to ensure the Lair was clear. She’d told him on the trip out that Michael had offered her a job. Hawke wasn’t surprised. Michael had a weakness for strong, intelligent women and Dorothea definitely fell into that category. He’d surprised himself by advising her to take the job. She’d thanked him for saving her life when they’d parted; he’d told her the gratitude was mutual – he would never have found Zeus without her.

He checked the monitor; all clear. He positioned Airwolf to descend down the funnel, back into the cave. Dom woke with a start as Airwolf landed with the merest bump.

He yawned. ‘What time is it, kid?’

‘Time to go home.’ Hawke said tiredly.

‘I hear you.’ Dom said laughing. He climbed out and stretched his stiff body.

‘Are you OK?’ Hawke asked worriedly seeing a flash of discomfort across the other man’s face.

‘Hey. I’m not done for yet.’ Dom softened the words with his trade-mark grin. ‘Although maybe I should leave the all-nighters to you kids in future, huh?’ He got overtaken by a yawn again.

‘You need to get some sleep.’

‘Yeah. I promised Rosa I’d take her to dinner tonight to make up for missing our date yesterday.’

Hawke leaned over the nose to look at his surrogate father fondly. ‘We never did get round to that subject you wanted to discuss.’

‘Oh that.’ Dom stretched his arms out. ‘It can wait. We’re both tired, kid.’

‘You sure?’ Hawke asked.

Dom smiled. ‘Well…if you’re sure you want to hear it…’

‘Dom,’ Hawke interrupted him, ‘just spit it out.’

The older man turned to Hawke. For a moment he let his eyes travel over the younger man. Hawke’s boyish looks were pale and the shadows under his eyes and rumpled hair spoke of his tiredness but he was reviewing Dom with a clear steady blue gaze. Dom returned it fondly. ‘I’m going to ask Rosa to marry me.’

Hawke blinked. ‘Marry you?’ He repeated. ‘Isn’t that a bit quick?’

Dom gave a grunt of laughter. ‘You can’t wait around and be as cautious as you when you get to my age, kid.’ He reached into Airwolf and pulled a couple of bottles of water from a compartment. He threw one over at Hawke.

Hawke caught the bottle with a nod of thanks. ‘Dom, are you real sure about this?’

‘Yeah I am kid.’ Dom took a slurp of water. ‘You know that spell in the hospital shook me up, made me realise that I don’t have much time left...’

‘Dom…’

‘Hear me out, huh?’ Dom sighed. ‘I’m not saying I’m going to keel over tomorrow but I want to get the most out of whatever time I do have.’

‘I get that Dom I do,’ Hawke said quietly, ‘and I don’t mean to tell you your business and like I said Rosa seems nice and all…’

‘Kid, just say it.’ Dom said impatiently.

‘How well do you know her, really?’ Hawke winced at his own bluntness. Yeah, he thought, that was subtle, real subtle.

‘What do you mean?’ Dom demanded.

‘Well, I mean, have you even met this sister of hers?’ Hawke asked trying to ignore the building anger in Dom’s eyes.

‘No,’ Dom admitted, ‘but it doesn’t matter. Rosa makes me happy,’ he gestured, ‘that’s all I need to know.’

Hawke looked down at his drink. God he was hopeless at these types of discussions. ‘Dom,’ he sighed and looked back up at his oldest friend, ‘would you let Michael do a check on her?’

Dom’s mouth fell open. ‘Do a…? No!’ He glared at Hawke. ‘And you’re not going to ask him to either.’ He started over to the Santini Air jeep by the entrance.

‘All I’m thinking, Dom, is that it couldn’t hurt to make sure.’ Hawke said following him and gesturing with his bottle, spilling water onto the ground. ‘You know both Cait and I have been caught out in the past…’

‘Rosa isn’t using me to get to Airwolf, String. What would she want with a…a mach capable, highly advanced helicopter, huh? She doesn’t even fly.’ Dom gestured at him again. ‘You’re being paranoid!’

‘Maybe.’ Hawke allowed.

The two men stared at each other for a heartbeat.

‘Can’t you just be happy for me, kid?’ Dom pleaded with him.

Hawke sighed. ‘Do me one favour?’

Dom looked at him suspiciously. ‘What?’

‘Don’t tell her about the Lady, not until Cait and I agree for her to know.’ Hawke held up a hand when Dom opened his mouth to argue. ‘I know you trust her but it’s all our lives on the line here, Dom.’

The older man considered it. ‘I guess that’s fair.’ He said eventually. ‘OK then.’

‘OK.’

‘You coming?’ Dom asked.

‘I’m going to finish up here. I’ll drive Michael’s jeep back.’ Hawke gestured at the white jeep parked alongside Dom’s vehicle.

Dom gave a nod and got in his car. Hawke watched him drive away and frowned.

Part 5

‘So,’ Michael pushed his glasses up his nose, ‘why the clandestine meeting?’ The spy sat in one of the new chairs at the console in the Lair and trying hard to ignore that Hawke was leaning on a piece of equipment that had cost over a million dollars.

Hawke looked over the steel platform at Michael and suppressed the urge to sigh. It was a necessary evil, he told himself ruthlessly. No matter what Dom thought, Rosa needed checking out. He’d called Michael almost as soon as Dom had left the Lair. There were now two white jeeps parked in front of Airwolf.

‘I need a favour.’ Hawke said sighing when Michael raised an eyebrow inquisitively and rested his clasped hands on his cane. ‘I need an immediate background check on Rosa Delmitri.’

‘Dominic’s new lady friend?’ Michael checked.

Hawke nodded.

Michael looked at him steadily. ‘You think she’s a threat?’

‘I don’t know.’ Hawke said. ‘That’s why I want to check her out.’

‘Without Dominic knowing.’ Michael surmised, understanding why he’d been summoned to the Lair for the rendezvous.

‘If she’s clean he doesn’t have to know.’ Hawke pointed out.

‘And if she’s not?’ Michael asked.

Hawke shuffled uncomfortably. ‘I’ll cross that bridge if it happens.’

Michael stroked his moustache. ‘You could always tell him that it was my idea.’

‘If it happens, Michael, it won’t help any my lying to him about it.’ Hawke said unhappily.

Michael nodded slowly. ‘Why the urgency?’

Hawke sighed. ‘He’s thinking of asking her to marry him.’

‘Marry?’ Michael’s eyebrows shot up under his fringe.

‘He says he doesn’t want to waste any time.’ Hawke muttered.

‘I see.’

‘I don’t.’ Hawke couldn’t believe he’d blurted the words out. He was too tired for this, he thought. He pushed away from the console and headed off the platform to Airwolf.

Michael followed him and wondered whether to say anything. He sighed and adjusted his glasses again. ‘Hawke…’

‘Forget it, Michael.’ Hawke laid a fist on Airwolf’s armour, his back to the other man. ‘I’m just worried about him, that’s all.’

‘He seems OK.’ Michael said gently.

‘Sure,’ Hawke replied dryly, ‘if you ignore the fact that he’s about to rush into a marriage with a woman he hardly knows.’ He shook his head and folded his arms as he turned and leaned back against Airwolf’s closed door to look at Michael.

‘I guess the chest pains gave him a wake up call.’ Michael commented.

‘That’s what he says.’

‘And with you getting together with Cait, especially now the two of you have moved in together, he must be wondering what the future holds for him.’

Hawke stared at him quizzically.

‘He might anticipate that you won’t need him in your life as much, Hawke.’ Michael clarified. He saw the realisation hit in Hawke’s blue eyes before the younger man’s guard went back up. He tapped his cane on the ground. ‘I’ll get on that background check.’ He walked over to one of the jeeps, throwing the cane into the passenger seat. ‘By the way, Angelina wants to know if she can come up to the cabin this weekend.’

Hawke almost smiled. ‘Sure. Cait and I don’t leave for her sister’s wedding till Monday.’ He gestured. ‘Actually you could do me a favour and take Tet whilst we’re away.’

‘Angelina will love that.’ Michael said thinking briefly of his pristine house and sighing. He was about to leave when he hesitated. ‘I have something else to tell you.’

‘Oh?’

‘You’re not going to like it.’ Michael warned.

‘I never do.’ Hawke commented wryly. ‘What is it?’

‘I talked to Zeus.’ Michael said. ‘I asked him why the FIA wanted to kidnap him.’

‘He give you a straight answer?’ Hawke asked surprised.

‘I didn’t give him much of a choice.’ Michael smoothed his tie. ‘This review the Senate Oversight Committee is doing…’

‘What about it?’ Hawke had a feeling he didn’t really want to know the answer.

‘They’re looking at amalgamating some of the agencies.’

‘Including the FIRM?’

‘Including the FIRM.’ Michael confirmed.

‘You’re right.’ Hawke said. ‘I don’t like it.’

‘No more than me.’

‘You going to be OK Michael?’ Hawke asked.

The spy shrugged. ‘It depends on what happens. It could all come to nothing.’ He gestured. ‘Thanks to you and Miss Connolly we scored a big success today. But we need more.’

Hawke frowned. ‘You want Airwolf back?’

‘Thanks for the offer but…no.’ Michael smiled. ‘We’ll be OK.’

Hawke lips tilted upwards momentarily and there was a moment of awkward silence. He cleared his throat. ‘By the way, thanks for yesterday. If you hadn’t turned up when you did…’

Michael shrugged and his good eye twinkled. ‘You probably would have gotten out of it without me.’

‘Well, thanks anyway.’ Hawke said crossing his arms and leaning a shoulder against Airwolf. ‘I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get into that basement without you.’

Michael looked at him quizzically.

‘Opening the door.’ Hawke clarified. ‘If you hadn’t spotted the Airwolf code and let me into the basement, I would never have found Zeus.’

Michael frowned. ‘It wasn’t me.’

Hawke’s eyes narrowed. ‘Funny, Michael.’

‘Seriously, Hawke. It wasn’t me.’ Michael commented. He shrugged again. ‘It probably happened once I left the console to come in after you. Dom probably caught it.’

‘Yeah.’ Hawke agreed a little uncertainly. ‘That’s probably it.’

Both men looked at each other for a moment.

Michael shook his head and gunned the engine. ‘I’ll be in touch.’

Hawke watched him back out of the Lair entrance. He rubbed a hand through his short brown hair and frowned. It probably made more sense that Dom had been the one to recognise the code and open the basement door.

He sighed. The older man seemed so happy and was so supportive about Hawke’s relationship with Caitlin that it had never really occurred to him that Dom might be feeling left out or worried that he would be left out in the future. Hawke swore loudly in the empty Lair. How was he supposed to deal with Dom’s feelings about it all for crying out loud? God knew he was having a hard enough time dealing with his own. He was tired. Bone tired. He needed to get home and get some sleep. He could sort it all out when he was able to think straight.

Part 6


Hawke woke slowly and blinked at the sun streaming into his bedroom through the large window on the back wall. He glanced at his watch and scowled. It was the afternoon. He sat up in the bed and rubbed his hands over his face. He shoved the covers on the bed back and padded to the bathroom. A shower helped to revive him and he dressed in jeans and a sweater to head to the airfield. He walked down the stairs and slowed as he heard sounds from the kitchen. He started smiling and took the rest of the stairs quickly.

Caitlin smiled as he entered the kitchen, picked her up in a fierce hug and kissed her. ‘I missed you.’ She said.

‘Yeah.’ His blue eyes ran over her; her red hair was pulled back into a long braid down her back, her face was free of make-up leaving her freckles to run riot over her skin and her wide, honest blue-green eyes were gazing at him happily. His breath caught in his throat. ‘I missed you too.’

Caitlin hugged him before she pulled out of his arms and turned to the counter to pour him a mug of coffee. ‘I hear the mission went well.’

‘Yeah. Zeus behaved himself.’ Hawke took the mug she offered him and took a sip almost burning his tongue on the hot liquid.

‘It must have been strange having him in the cockpit.’ Caitlin commented.

Hawke shrugged. ‘It could have been worse. You have a good time with Angelina?’

‘Yeah. We had a bit of a girlie night.’ Caitlin flashed her blue nail varnish at him.

‘Blue?’ His eyebrow quirked upwards in amusement.

‘Angelina chose it.’ Caitlin said. ‘Although I kinda like it. I’m thinking of wearing it for Fiona’s wedding.’ She saw him wince and smiled. ‘You know you don’t have to go with me.’

‘I’m going with you.’ Hawke said firmly. It was past time that he and Caitlin’s family came to some kind of civilised truce; it was unfair for Caitlin to keep feeling pulled between them. ‘End of discussion.’

Caitlin nodded. She leaned back against the counter. ‘Did you make any progress with Dom over Rosa whilst you were away?’

‘Ah.’ Hawke sighed deeply.

‘That doesn’t sound good.’ She commented.

Hawke caught hold of her hand. ‘Dom told me he’s going to ask Rosa to marry him.’

‘Marry him?’ Caitlin repeated her eyes widening with shock. ‘But he hardly knows her.’

‘That’s what I said.’ Hawke said.

Caitlin allowed him to tug her closer into another hug. ‘How’d he take that?’

‘Pretty much as you’d expect.’

She pulled back to look into his eyes. ‘You guys OK?’

Hawke nodded. ‘I didn’t change his mind though.’

‘What are we going to do?’ Caitlin asked worriedly. ‘If he marries her…’

‘I asked Michael to run a check on her.’ Hawke admitted a little abashed.

Her eyebrows rose. ‘I thought we were going to be subtle?’

‘I figured if he was planning to ask her to marry him the time for being subtle was long gone.’

‘He’s not going to be happy.’ Caitlin warned.

‘He doesn’t have to know if everything checks out.’ Hawke pointed out.

‘Hmmm.’

Hawke saw the concern in her eyes and sighed. ‘I guess I should tell him, huh?’

‘I think you should.’ Caitlin said. ‘He’ll understand you’re just looking out for him…’ She frowned at Hawke picking up on his sudden tension. ‘What’s wrong?’

Hawke shrugged and avoided her eyes.

She stepped back from him and folded her arms. ‘What?’

Hawke sighed. ‘Dom may have…kinda…’ he gestured, ‘specifically…told me not to ask Michael to do a check.’

Caitlin closed her eyes briefly before pinning him with a stern gaze. ‘String…’ She rarely used the softer derivative of his name and its usage had Hawke straightening his shoulders and crossing his arms defensively. She sighed. ‘Well I guess we’re just going to have to go to the airfield and face the music.’

Hawke looked down at the floor. ‘You didn’t do anything.’ He met her eyes. ‘You could stay here.’

‘We’ll go together.’ She took a step toward him and kissed him softly. ‘End of discussion.’

Hawke’s lips twitched and he took her hand as they walked out of the cabin and headed for the chopper. The journey seemed too quick; Hawke wasn’t looking forward to confessing what he’d done to Dom. They landed and climbed out of the helicopter. The sight of Michael’s white limo parked outside the hangar had both of them exchanging an anxious look.

‘Do you think…?’ Caitlin began shutting her cockpit door.

‘Let’s go and find out.’ Hawke said.

They took a step forward and halted as Rosa came hurrying out of the hangar. She looked upset and didn’t acknowledge them, didn’t even seem to realise they were there. She got in her rental car and drove away with a squeal of rubber.

‘That doesn’t look good,’ murmured Caitlin.

Hawke didn’t reply but took a couple of steps towards the hangar, Caitlin followed after him. They both stopped as Dom charged out. His eyes immediately arrowed in on Hawke’s guilty face.

‘You did it, didn’t you?’ Dom yelled marching over to the younger man.

Hawke shuffled guiltily. ‘Dom…’

‘You couldn’t leave it alone, could you?’ Dom asked his eyes hard and cold, his hands fisted at his sides. ‘Even after I asked you.’

‘Dom…’ Hawke stepped forward.

Dom swung at him catching him on the mouth, knocking him to the ground. ‘Rosa doesn’t want to know me. Are you happy now?’ He said as Hawke touched a hand to his split lip. Caitlin stood motionless, her own hands pressed against her mouth to stop from crying out.

Hawke glanced at the blood on his fingers briefly before looking back up at Dom, his heart pounding uncomfortably in his chest, he couldn’t get enough air. ‘Dom…’

Dom gave him a disgusted look and stalked away. He got in the Santini Air jeep and drove off. Hawke watched him go and swore loudly. He touched his lip again and got to his feet.

‘Let me see that.’ Caitlin reached towards him to help him and he waved her away.

‘I’m fine.’

‘I’m sorry, Hawke.’ Michael’s voice travelled across the tarmac to them and they both glanced at the hangar door where the spy was stood.

‘I’m taking it the news wasn’t good?’ Hawke snapped.

Michael nodded. ‘Rosa Delmitri doesn’t exist. No record of her in Italy or the US. Whoever she is, she’s not who she claims to be.’

‘And you couldn’t wait to tell him?’ Hawke said angrily.

Michael straightened. ‘I came to tell you. Only he insisted on introducing me to Rosa.’ He gestured with his cane. ‘I really don’t know what happened. One minute we were talking about Italy and the next she was accusing Dom that he’d got his spy friend to do a check on her and running out. Dom immediately jumped to the correct conclusion.’ His eyes flickered to Hawke’s cut lip. ‘If you hadn’t arrived I think my lip would be the one that was bust.’

Caitlin sighed. ‘Do you have any idea who Rosa actually is and what she wants?’

‘Your guess is as good as mine.’ Michael pushed his glasses up his nose. ‘She could be anything from a common garden con artist to a gold-digger.’

‘Great. This is just great.’ Hawke muttered. His eyes narrowed at something past Michael’s shoulder. A black Lincoln was approaching. It pulled up alongside the white limo and a familiar blonde woman stepped out. Michael and Hawke both recognised her instantly and exchanged an anxious look. Caitlin saw them tense and wondered who the woman walking towards them was. She looked in her forties, with blonde tawny hair and hazel eyes, dressed in an expensive black suit with matching expensive gold jewellery. Caitlin, dressed only in jeans and a pretty lavender blouse, felt shabby in comparison and unconsciously straightened.

‘Archangel. Hawke.’ The woman’s eyes flickered to Caitlin. ‘I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Tania Bening.’

‘Caitlin O’Shaunessy,’ said Caitlin faintly. So this was General Bening’s daughter. The power hungry General had come after the Airwolf team and they’d been forced to destroy his helicopter in self-defence although no one in the team had a particular problem with blowing him out of the sky; he’d been a murderer and a terrorist. But given the General was this woman’s father, it was no wonder Michael and Hawke were tense; they were probably fearing Tania Bening was here for retribution.

‘I need to speak to you all urgently.’ Tania said, clutching the small black back she held tightly.

‘Why don’t you come into the office?’ Caitlin said when Michael and Hawke didn’t respond. She led the way into Santini Air.

Tania sat down in the chair Caitlin offered and accepted an offer of a glass of water. Her eyes flickered to Hawke. ‘It’s been a while.’

Hawke crossed his arms and leaned against the desk. ‘I thought you and your daughter were living in France.’ There was a question buried in the quiet statement.

‘We came back to the States after my father died.’ Tania said.

Hawke flushed. ‘Look, about your father…’

‘I know he didn’t leave you much choice, Hawke. You have nothing to apologise for.’ She took the glass Caitlin handed her. ‘Thank you.’

Michael cleared his throat. ‘Forgive me for asking, but why are you here?’

‘A friend of mine at the CIA contacted me this morning.’ She cleared her throat nervously. ‘You ran a search on a woman called Rosa Delmitri.’

Hawke and Michael exchanged a worried look.

‘You know her?’ Hawke asked.

‘Rosa Delmitri was one of the aliases my aunt used when she worked as a CIA operative.’

‘Your aunt?’ Michael checked that he’d heard correctly.

‘Yes.’ Tania sipped her water. ‘My father’s sister, Rosalind Bening.’ She looked down seeing their horrified expressions. ‘I’m assuming because you ran the trace that Rosalind has somehow gotten involved with you all?’

Hawke nodded. ‘She’s gotten Dom believing she’s the best thing since sliced bread.’

Tania sighed. ‘I’d hoped I wouldn’t be too late to warn you.’ She focused on Hawke. ‘My father was a monster.’ She looked away. ‘The reason he killed my mother was because she found him in my bedroom. He…abused me for years without her knowing. My daughter…she was the result.’ Her cheeks flushed red and she took a gulp of her water. ‘She doesn’t know.’

‘You came here to warn us?’ Caitlin gently prompted.

Tania nodded. ‘Rosalind isn’t quite right, in the head, I mean. She worked as an assassin and I think it just…she isn’t sane.’ She looked at Hawke imploringly. ‘She had an unusual, unnatural attachment to my father. I may not want revenge but…’

‘She does.’ Hawke stated, his blue eyes darkening with horror.

‘Hawke, Dom would have gone after her.’ Caitlin said anxiously.

He nodded sharply. The thought had already occurred to him. ‘Do you have any idea where your aunt would go?’

‘She has a beach house just up the coast. I can give you the address.’ Tania took the pad and pencil Caitlin handed to her and scribbled the details on it. Caitlin ripped the top sheet off.

‘Let’s get the Lady.’ Hawke said to her harshly.

‘I’ll take the limo, meet you there.’ Michael said.

‘I’ll come with you, Archangel. I know the way.’ Tania offered.

Michael nodded.

Hawke didn’t wait for them; he was already heading to the chopper and hoping they wouldn’t be too late.

Part 7

Dom couldn’t remember a time when he had been so angry with Hawke. He knew the younger man had his doubts about Rosa, hell the kid never trusted anybody easily but to run a check on her when Dom had explicitly asked him not to…just the thought of it made his blood boil anew. He wasn’t sure what in Michael’s conversation with her had tipped her off that the other man had checked her out but her deep upset at having her privacy so badly invaded was completely understandable. Michael hadn’t even denied it! He glowered. When he got his hands on the spy…He brought the car to a stop outside the address Rosa had given him for her sister.

Dom’s eyes widened. The beach house was the only building for miles. It was huge; a sprawl of white stone set into the rock of a steep cliff. He checked the address; he’d already made a couple of wrong turnings because he’d been so mad he’d missed the signs. It was the right address. He got out of the jeep. Rosa’s rental car was parked up at the curb but he couldn’t see any other vehicles. Where was her sister’s car? He hesitated. Dom shook himself and firmed his lips. He was not going to let Hawke’s paranoia get to him. He marched up to the door and knocked. The door swung open into a marble-tiled foyer. Rosa must have been so upset that she hadn’t closed the door properly. Dom took a step inside.

‘Rosa!’ His voice echoed in the hall. He glanced around at the expensive antiques, the plush furnishing. He followed the hallway into a sunken open plan living space. A huge hearth took up one wall; an L-shaped cream couch littered with fluffy cushions provided a comfy seating area. Original art adorned the walls; large strong pieces that would have dominated the attention except for the fact that the whole far wall was glass and provided a spectacular view of the Pacific coastline. He could see the swells of the ocean breaking on the sandy beach below. A gentle breeze disturbed the filmy material hanging over the side of the window…no not a window, Dom realised, an open door. He made his way out.

The balcony was built into the rock of the cliff and only by a flimsy white wooden railing provided protection from the sheer drop to the beach below. He saw there was a set of steep steps carved into the granite just by the side of the house. Dom’s eyes set on Rosa. She was standing with her back to him, her chestnut hair flying in the breeze around her.

‘Rosa?’ Dom took a couple of steps toward her. He took off his red cap and crumpled it in his hands nervously.

‘Dominic.’ She didn’t turn around.

‘Rosa, I swear to you, I had nothing to do with them checking into your background.’

‘Tell me Dominic. What did they find?’

‘Find?’ Dom shook his head and took another couple of steps. ‘I don’t know. I didn’t wait to find out. It doesn’t matter to me.’ He sighed and gestured at the straight line of her back. ‘You have to understand String…he’s just a little paranoid.’

Rosa turned around.

Dom’s eyes smiled at her until they took in the gun in her hand that was pointed directly at him. ‘Or maybe not.’ He muttered. He raised his stunned eyes to hers. She was looking at him triumphantly.

‘I knew you’d come.’ She said.

‘Rosa…why?’ He asked gesturing at the gun.

‘Why?’ Rosa smiled cruelly and her words were no longer tinged with an Italian nuance. ‘You killed my brother.’

‘Your brother?’

‘My name is Bening. Rosalind Bening.’

Dom made the connection immediately. His brow lowered ominously. ‘So this whole time, all you’ve wanted is revenge?’

‘You and Stringfellow Hawke killed the only man I loved, the only man who loved me.’ Rosalind snarled.

‘Your brother?’ Dom said aghast.

‘My brother.’ Rosalind took a step toward him; he took a hasty step back. ‘I had planned for this to be slow and painful. I wanted to destroy you in inches and it would have worked too. A woman can poison a relationship between two men quicker and faster than any other means.’

‘You wanted to poison my relationship with String?’ Dom asked trying to keep her talking whilst he thought of some way out that didn’t involve him getting shot.

‘He would have been lost without you and when I killed his lover, he would have been vulnerable and I would have destroyed him completely.’

‘You’re mad.’ Dom said taking another step back.

Rosalind’s brown eyes gleamed. ‘You would have been so devastated Dominic seeing him die miserable and alone. You would have gone to your knees and begged me to put you out of your misery.’

He took a step back from the insanity in her eyes. His craggy face hardened into deep, grave lines. ‘You’re sick.’

‘Only I didn’t count on Hawke being so paranoid. I thought I would have more time but I underestimated him.’ She laughed cruelly. ‘Something I didn’t do with you. You, I played just right. You were falling in love with little Rosa, weren’t you Dominic?’

‘I fell in love with an illusion.’ Dom bit out.

‘And what’s even funnier, Dominic, is that you really thought Rosa loved you.’ She taunted him. ‘You. A pathetic lonely old man with nothing but old stories and Hawke, a man who doesn’t even need you anymore.’

Dom stilled. ‘That’s enough.’

‘Yes. It’s enough.’ Rosalind smiled. ‘Your death will be enough to destroy Hawke and my betrayal…well, I see it’s done its job.’ She straightened her arm, the gun steady in her hand as she aimed for Dom’s heart.

Dom, seeing her arm move, seeing her grip tighten on the pistol, knew that his life would be over within a second if he didn’t do something. He did the only thing that occurred to him; he launched himself over the side of the railing and onto the rock below, the bullet zipping so close to him that he could feel the heat of it against his cheek. He moved over the slippery surface trying for a controlled descent. Another bullet hit the rock next to him. He flinched and his footing went immediately. He slipped down the cliff face. His toes hit a small ledge mid-way and he managed to stop the momentum of his fall, hugging the wall tightly. His eyes looked down at the sheer drop.

‘Mamma mia.’ He muttered.

A bullet hit the wall next to his face and he flinched. His eyes searched for Rosalind and he found her; she was half-way down the steps, level with him, and the gun steady in her outstretched arm. He had nowhere to go….

Airwolf howled. Dom turned his head at the rush of wind as she flew between him and Rosalind, protecting him, her rotors dangerously close to the rock. Bullet after bullet ricocheted off her blunt nose until Rosalind screamed and threw her gun at the machine. She spread her arms and yelled for Hawke to shoot. Dom closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see her death.

His eyes jerked open at the sound of footsteps racing across the patio and down the steps.

‘Rosalind!’ A woman’s voice called.

Rosalind whirled and started running down the steep staircase. She had only gone a couple of steps when she slipped...her body fell in slow motion, tumbling down to lie still at the bottom. Dom looked away and pressed himself into the rock. It was over. It was all over.

Part 8


The sky was an unrelieved black canvas devoid of moonlight leaving little light around the dimly lit airfield as Hawke made his way to the Santini Air hangar. He took a deep breath before he entered the brightly lit building. The familiar smells of grease and oil, and the sound of an electric tool whirring comforted him. He shoved his hands in his jeans and made his way over to the workbench behind the Jet Ranger where Dom was working.

‘Hey.’ He said coming to a halt at the bottom of the table.

Dom’s eyes remained firmly fixed on the engine component he was fixing. ‘It’s late.’ He said. It was past midnight.

‘Yeah. I just…I just wanted to check you were OK.’ Hawke said. He hunched his shoulders and rocked back on his heels.

‘The doctor said I was fine. Just some pulled muscles and scrapes.’

‘That wasn’t what I meant, Dom.’

Dom sighed and raised his head. ‘What do you want me to say, String? That I feel a fool.’ He said angrily. ‘Well, I do. An old fool.’

‘You’re not the first one of us to be fooled, Dom.’ Hawke reminded him. ‘And I seem to recall you’re usually the first to tell us not to beat ourselves up about it.’

Dom harrumphed. He glimpsed Hawke’s sincerity and sighed. ‘I really liked her String.’

‘I know, Dom.’

‘I just can’t believe my Rosa turned out to be General Bening’s sister.’ Dom shook his head. ‘She was so twisted, String. Why couldn’t I see it?’

‘You wanted to believe in her.’ Hawke said gently.

‘I did want to believe in her.’ Dom admitted. ‘I wanted to believe a beautiful woman loved me.’ He sighed. ‘Who was I trying to kid?’

‘Dom…’ Hawke didn’t know how to comfort the other man.

Dom sighed again and looked up at Hawke. ‘Before she started shooting…she said some things, String. How she was going to destroy us both.’ He looked down. ‘She was going to kill Caitlin and then you. And she told me how she was going to destroy us, poison our relationship.’

‘She would never have been able to do that, Dom.’ Hawke said.

Dom’s eyes settled on Hawke’s split lip. ‘I don’t know, kid. I was pretty furious with you.’

‘We would have gotten past it.’ Hawke said confidently. ‘I know we kid around with each other a lot but we’re family. We’ll always be there for each other.’

Dom nodded slowly. The words settled something inside him he hadn’t realised needed settling. His eyes warmed with humour. ‘Always is a long time, kid. You sure you want me around that long?’

‘I’m just glad we’ll get the chance to find out.’ Hawke returned, clasping his shoulder.

‘So am I, kid.’ Dom pulled him into a hug and when they pulled back, both were a little embarrassed at the show of emotion.

Dom picked up the part he was fixing and turned it over in his hand. ‘So, you still planning to go with Caitlin to her sister’s wedding next week?’

Hawke shrugged. ‘I thought I’d stay here.’

Dom looked at him sharply. ‘You should go.’

‘Dom…’

‘I mean it, String.’ Dom said firmly. ‘You need to go.’

‘Maybe I need to be here.’

‘I’m OK, kid.’ Dom reassured him. ‘Besides I’ll feel worse if you go changing your plans just because of me.’

Hawke nodded. ‘You sure?’

‘I’ll be fine.’ Dom said. ‘And it’ll be good to have some time to myself. Get my head around what’s happened.’ He gestured at Hawke. ‘Which kinda reminds me…I appreciate the visit but shouldn’t you get back to the cabin before Cait wonders where you’ve gone?’

‘She knows I’m here.’ Hawke said stuffing his hands back into his pockets. ‘She told me to tell you you’re coming to ours for Christmas.’

‘Nah! You two had the whole day planned…’

‘We both want you there.’ Hawke insisted. ‘Like I said, you’re family. Besides I don’t think she was inviting you, it was kinda more of an order.’

‘Well wouldn’t want to get her mad at me.’ Dom said a smile spreading across his wide face.

‘Wise.’ Hawke’s eyes twinkled back at him.

‘But I’ll only come for lunch. You kids can have the rest of the day to yourselves.’

Hawke smiled. ‘Then it’s settled.’

‘It’s settled.’ Dom agreed.

‘I’d better get going.’ Hawke said. ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’

‘Night, kid.’ Dom watched the younger man walk out before he put the engine part back on the table and slowly covered his crumpling face with his grease-marked hands.

Part 9

Hawke and Caitlin were in the hangar with Dom helping him fix the chopper when Michael called round with Marella. They all made their way into the office for some privacy and to be more comfortable.

‘I thought you’d want an update on yesterday’s events.’ Michael said as they all took seats.

‘How is Rosa, I mean Rosalind?’ asked Dom wiping his hands on a rag, avoiding everyone’s sympathetic eyes.

‘She took quite a blow to the head when she fell.’ Marella said gently. ‘She’s slipped into a coma. The doctors aren’t sure whether she’ll ever some out of it or if she does…’ She spread her arms in a ‘who knows’ gesture.

‘If she does, Tania Bening has promised to support an application to transfer her to a mental institution.’ Michael said. ‘It seems from what we’ve been able to uncover, Rosalind may have been the first victim of Bening’s abuse.’

Marella nodded. ‘He managed to convince her that he was the only man who mattered in her life and created a sick dependency on him.’

‘The doctor’s think his death broke whatever tiny hold she had, if any, on her sanity.’ Michael concluded.

Dom sighed. ‘Well, at least it’s over.’

‘I’m sorry, Dominic.’ Michael said meeting the older man’s eyes determinedly. ‘I wish it had turned out differently.’

‘So do I.’ Dom said with a huff of laughter and sounding more like his old self.

‘Well, thanks for the update Michael.’ Hawke said.

The other man waved the gratitude away. ‘I do have some other news.’

‘Oh?’ Hawke’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.

‘Tania gave me something to give to you Hawke.’ The spy nodded at Marella who opened up the briefcase and pulled out a folder. She handed it to the pilot who took it with a bemused expression.

‘Call it an early Christmas present.’ Michael said.

‘What is it?’ Hawke said not opening it.

‘All the information Bening had on your brother.’ Michael smiled at the shock in Hawke’s eyes. ‘Apparently Tania found it amongst her father’s papers.’

Hawke fingered the folder but still didn’t open it. Dom and Caitlin glanced at each other worriedly.

‘Well,’ said Dom gesturing at the younger man, ‘what are you waiting for, kid?’

Hawke met Dom’s encouraging gaze and took a deep breath. He flipped it open and started shifting through the information.

Dom lasted five minutes before his patience ran out. ‘Well?’ He threw both his hands out.

Hawke looked up, a sheen of tears over his blue eyes. ‘He’s alive, Dom.’

Dom put a hand on Hawke’s shoulder and squeezed hard. ‘Well.’

Caitlin leaned on his other shoulder, reading the information in the folder on his lap. ‘Saint John was rescued from the Vietcong after two and a half years?’

Hawke nodded. ‘That’s when he was recruited for the Special Forces unit for incursions into enemy territory.’

‘The unit he talked about in his letter to you? The one he left in his footlocker?’ Dom asked.

‘Yeah.’ Hawke tapped the folder and shook his head in disbelief. ‘It says he got promoted. He outranks me.’

Caitlin and Dom exchanged a happy smile at the slightly incredulous tone.

‘But he was discharged in 1980 after the army decided that their involvement with the incursions was getting…’ Michael stroked his moustache, ‘a little hot.’

‘And they noted he went to work for an intelligence agency to go deep cover doing similar types of mission.’ Hawke murmured. ‘And that’s it.’

‘It’s not the FIRM.’ Marella said firmly before he could ask. ‘We’ve turned over every stone.’

‘I even talked to Zeus.’ Michael said. ‘Your brother isn’t one of ours but his intelligence work does account for why we haven’t been able to uncover where he is.’

‘Until now.’ Marella said.

Caitlin looked at the pleased look on the faces of the spies. ‘What do you mean?’

Michael gestured at her. ‘We’ve been looking in the wrong place. Now we know where to look…’

‘…we should be able to find what we want.’ Marella completed.

Hawke’s fingers traced over a photo of his brother dated the year he’d been discharged from the army. It was the most recent photo he had of his brother. His eyes were glued to the picture of Saint John in uniform; his hair bleached blond by the sun and his hazel eyes staring seriously into the camera. He cleared his throat and nodded at Michael. ‘Send my thanks to Tania.’

Michael nodded.

Hawke reached up and caught hold of Caitlin’s hand resting on his shoulder. Her fingers wrapped around his. ‘You really think you can find him now?’

‘I know I can.’ Michael said.

‘Thanks, Michael.’

‘Don’t thank me yet.’ Michael said ignoring the tears that still lurked in the other man’s eyes.

Hawke looked down at the photo. ‘No,’ he agreed gruffly. ‘When he’s home.’ And for the first time in a long while, he thought with a renewed sense of hope, he could really believe it was going to happen.

fin.

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