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Fanfiction: Reality Check - Part VII

For disclaimers and author's note see Part I.

 

Part 12


Hawke made his way to the office in the FIRM’s LA clinic that Michael had requisitioned for their use. Caitlin’s parents were with their daughter and he had taken the opportunity to slip away. It was the first time in the two days since they had arrived that he’d left his wife’s side. Caitlin’s exhausted and stressed body had an elevated blood pressure that worried the doctor into ordering a week of immediate bed rest and despite their desire to simply return home, Hawke and Caitlin had acquiesced for the baby’s sake. It seemed to be doing the trick. Her morning sickness was much improved and her blood pressure was down.

The reunion with her family had helped too although it had been emotional and tiring itself. The time Hawke and Caitlin had already spent together had begun healing the wounds caused by her kidnapping and faked death. He was still scared and there were still moments when he would react by pushing her away but they were few. He was damned lucky, he thought, that Caitlin understood him enough to forgive him for those, particularly given the circumstances. At least the last two days had given them both the confidence that they would get past it.

Hawke found the room and entered without knocking. The conversation stopped abruptly. ‘Well we know what you were talking about.’ He said as he closed the door.

‘Is her family…?’ Michael changed the subject.

‘Here.’

‘Everything go OK?’ Dom asked. Hawke’s nod erased the trace of anxiety from the older man’s eyes and he gave a satisfied nod.

‘Marella sent these.’ Michael threw the folder at Hawke and he sat leafing through it with a scowl.

‘Europe, Asia, Australia?’ Hawke handed the folder back. ‘Horn’s been seen in more places than Elvis.’

Dom gave a short laugh.

Michael raised a small smile. ‘True but one of these leads may work out.’

‘I want him, Michael. What he did…’ Hawke shook his head. ‘It’s personal.’

‘I agree, particularly given that we think we know why he took her.’ Michael sighed.

‘Why?’ Hawke asked knowing from the glint in Michael’s eye that he wasn’t going to like the answer.

‘We’ve been going back over the information, re-questioning the prisoners we took the day at the Hollow, in Mexico, looking at what Caitlin’s told us about her treatment.’ Michael began.

‘And?’ Hawke commented.

Michael tapped his fingers against the desk he was sitting on. ‘Everything seems to indicate Airwolf wasn’t his primary objective. He wanted Caitlin and specifically the baby.’

‘Caitlin?’ Dom asked his forehead creasing. ‘What do you mean?’

‘His treatment of her was too personal.’ Hawke supplied. He folded his arms and shook his head trying to deny what he had seen with his own eyes.

Michael slipped off the desk and took one of the chairs opposite Hawke. ‘One of the prisoners we took in Mexico was a scientist working for Horn. He told us that Horn’s relationship with his daughter has been disintegrating for some time to the point that at the start of the year, Horn ordered the scientists to fertilise donated eggs with sperm provided by him. He wanted to impregnate female members of his army and create more heirs. Only it all failed.’

‘Thank God.’ Dom muttered. ‘Why?’

‘Horn was sterile.’ Michael clasped his hands together. ‘He was apparently furious, ordered retests, investigations to no avail. They tracked the sterility to a case of teenage mumps.’

‘But if he’s sterile, Angelica…’

‘Is not his daughter.’ Michael confirmed. ‘A fact that jumped out to Horn too.’

‘But what does this have to do with Caitlin?’ Dom asked.

‘Horn’s only heir is his daughter, Angelica.’ Michael said. ‘Our psychologists believe that Horn’s experiment was an attempt to provide himself with another. When it was discovered he couldn’t do it naturally, we think he decided to…to adopt.’ He sighed. ‘Horn had been watching you, knew you and Caitlin had married. We traced a link between him and the late Detective Marin. We think he staged the break-in as a way to get Marin close to you all. He probably got the initial link from the police report.’ He paused. ‘I have Marella systematically going through the system and removing any reference to either you or Caitlin from any official documentation.’

Hawke nodded his thanks.

Michael sighed. ‘We think Marin told him about the baby.’

‘Because Jo told him.’ Dom murmured; he knew his niece already regretted falling for Marin’s ploy and her unintentional role in providing the cop with information.

‘I don’t think we need to tell her though.’ Michael murmured.

Dom’s eyes shot to the spy’s in surprise at the compassionate tone. Michael had been the first to ream Jo out when they’d found out about Marin.

‘So Horn wanted the baby.’ Hawke’s lips firmed angrily.

‘Definitely the baby.’ Michael sighed, ‘And probably Caitlin. Given what we know, I think we were on the right lines thinking he was trying to change her allegiance over time. He would have waited until she was compliant and then taken her as his wife. She wouldn’t have objected; she would have been conditioned not to.’

‘He wanted what I have.’ Hawke said.

Dom gestured confused. ‘So, his ultimate plan was to provide himself with an heir and not…not Airwolf at all?’

‘Oh the fact that he chose Caitlin suggests that he would have gone after Airwolf eventually.’ Michael’s eye flickered to Hawke. ‘And his destruction of you – seeing your wife die and if that didn’t do it, seeing her turned into his willing accomplice, with your child being raised by him – would have been a side benefit. His choice of her was very specific and worked for him on several levels.’

Hawke forced his jaw to unclench. ‘So what now?’

‘We pray one of these leads,’ Michael tapped the folder with an index finger, ‘works out and then we get the bastard.’

They covered more of the intelligence that had been gathered from Horn’s deserted Mexican villa before Hawke excused himself. He needed air. He took a long walk in the gardens before heading back into the clinic and his wife. He was surprised to find her on her own, staring out of the window at the brilliantly clear sky.

‘Hey.’

She turned and smiled at the sight of Hawke slouched in the doorway, the blue jeans and jumper highlighting his blue eyes that were bright in a face reddened by the brisk wind outside.

‘Where are the tribe?’ He asked and entered the room, closing the door behind him.

‘Lunch.’ Caitlin wandered round and sat down on the edge of her bed.

‘Everything OK?’ He perched on the bed next to her and slipped an arm around her.

‘Yeah. Just,’ she gave a small smile, ‘…just so many questions, you know and I kinda have the feeling that once lunch is over, they’ll be back with more.’

‘I could get a chopper. They wouldn’t know we were gone until it was too late.’ He said after a long pause; he was only half-joking

Caitlin leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder. ‘I’m tempted, believe me. I want to go flying. It always blows the cobwebs away.’

He smiled; he had a similar craving. ‘Why don’t I talk to the doctor? See if I can organise some therapy for both of us.’

She raised her head. ‘Really?’

He felt something trip inside him at her hope-filled eyes. ‘Really.’

She squealed and threw her arms around him. He wrapped his own around her to steady them both and stop them falling off the bed, laughing with her.

A day later, he walked down the corridor and knew he was going to have to break his promise to take her flying. Hawke sighed and finished zipping his Airwolf uniform as he turned the corner that led to her room and came to a halt. Her sister Erin and oldest brother Brian were stood by the closed door. He wandered up to join them.

‘She’s taking a nap.’ Erin smiled at him. ‘We got thrown out by the nurse and told off for tiring her.’

Hawke glanced at the door and knew he was going to have to wake her up. ‘I have to speak to her. Can you keep the nurse occupied if she comes back?’

Erin smiled. ‘Sure.’

‘Thanks.’ Hawke flashed a smile of thanks at her and she caught a glimpse of the boyish charm hidden under the mask he usually wore. He’d taken a single step towards the door when Caitlin screamed. The blood froze in his veins and he had his gun in his hand and was through the door before rational thought caught up with him.

She was half-way out of the bed, fighting the covers as the last of her nightmare kept her in its grasp. Hawke strode across the room, pulled her out of the tangle of blankets and into his arms. She wrapped herself around him, burying her face in his neck as her arms clung to his shoulders. Her whole body was shaking against his as he carried her to the sofa. He sat down with her in the warm sunlight and held her, his own heart beat calming.

‘Good God in heaven.’

His eyes flew to her brother and sister. They were standing by the foot of the bed. Erin had one hand pressed against her lips; Brian was supporting her with an arm around her shoulders. Their eyes were glued to their sister.

Hawke sighed and stroked a hand down Caitlin’s trembling back. ‘Can you give us a minute?’

Brian nodded and kindly, firmly pushed Erin out of the room.

Hawke wasn’t sure how long he sat with Caitlin before her body stopped shaking, her arms stopped clinging and she raised her tear-stained face from his shoulder.

‘Sorry.’ She breathed in deeply, trying to regain her balance.

‘I don’t mind.’ He smoothed a damp tendril of hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ear, letting his finger follow her jaw-line back to her chin.

She inched back and noticed the Airwolf uniform. ‘You have a mission?’

Hawke looked down at the lilac suit as though only just remembering he was wearing it. ‘Yeah.’

‘Horn?’ She asked seeing the ice glaze over his blue eyes.

He nodded. ‘We think he’s in Paris. France.’

‘Well, give me a minute and I’ll come with…’

‘Cait.’ His hand on her bare knee stopped her more effectively than any words.

‘How long will you be gone?’ She pushed her fringe out of her eyes.

‘If this turns out to be genuine, as long as it takes.’

The inflection in his voice worried her and she slid a hand over the one he’d placed on her knee. He turned his over and interlinked their fingers.

‘You won’t do anything stupid?’ She asked.

‘Like blow him into a million pieces?’ Hawke’s eyes gleamed. ‘No, I won’t do that. It would be too easy a death for him.’

She shivered at the coldness in his voice. He squeezed her hand and stood up. She followed him to the door. He turned back to her.

‘Cait, this could be a move by Horn to…just be on your guard. OK?’

She nodded. ‘Just make sure you come back.’ She hugged him and raised her lips for their goodbye kiss.

His mouth covered hers hungrily, his hands sliding around her waist, over her back, drawing her closer. Hawke felt light-headed and dimly realised he needed to breathe. He reluctantly ended the kiss, still holding her tightly. ‘I always come back, Cait.’ He placed a chaste kiss on the top of her head and walked out whilst he still could.

There was a group waiting in the corridor. Erin and Brian had been joined by their parents and were sitting on the wide sofa provided for waiting relatives; Dom and Michael stood leaning on the wall nearby.

‘How is she?’ Maggie got to her feet.

‘She’s OK.’ Hawke reassured them. ‘She’s just trying to deal with it the best she can.’

Maggie breathed in sharply. ‘And the nightmares?’

‘She’s been getting them since the night I rescued her but they’re easing off.’ Hawke caught Michael’s impatient gesture and he apologised. ‘I really have to leave.’

‘You’re going after the guy who took her?’ Brian’s comment ended any protest before it got started.

Hawke nodded and his jaw firmed. ‘I’m going after him.’ He nodded farewell to the O’Shaunessy clan and he, Dom and Michael marched out, determination in each of their faces.

‘I know one thing.’ Brian commented. He looked at his parents and sister with certainty. ‘I wouldn’t want to be the guy who did this to Caitlin right now.’

Part 13

Caitlin sat on the sofa watching the sunset and sipping on iced herbal tea and wishing fervently it was something else. She sighed and kept her eyes focused on the orangey-red glow when there was a knock on her door. She had spent two very exhausting hours with her family, having to defend her decision not to tell them about her experience; she wasn’t ready to talk about it. She’d only been given a reprieve when her doctor had shown up and supported her, telling her family pressurising her was stressing Caitlin and the baby.

The knock came again and Caitlin grudgingly called out for the person to enter; if it was her family, it would only cause more aggravation to stop them. Her eyes widened in pleased surprise at Marella dressed in casual clothes.

‘Marella.’ Her eyes took in the deep maroon jumper and matching slacks and the way they complemented the other woman’s dark colouring. ‘Wow. You should wear normal clothes more often.’

‘Thank you.’ Marella placed a bag on the bed and wandered over to sit with Caitlin by the window.

‘So I guess you got stuck with baby-sitting duty?’ Caitlin asked.

Marella smiled again and crossed her legs elegantly. ‘Not quite baby-sitting duty. Hawke thought you might need some company.’

‘Hawke thinks I need extra protection in case Horn tries to grab me.’ Caitlin corrected wryly. ‘He’s wrapping me in cotton wool.’ There was plaintive complaint in the statement.

Marella frowned. ‘Cait, he just wants to make sure you’re safe.’

‘I know…’

‘No, you don’t.’ Marella ignored the flash of temper in Caitlin’s eyes at the remark. ‘You didn’t see him when he thought you were dead.’

‘He won’t talk about it.’ Caitlin hugged her knees to her chest.

Marella sighed. ‘He was devastated, Caitlin. We had to physically pull him away from the wreckage of that helicopter and afterwards, he was barely living. If he hadn’t realised that his disbelief about your death was more than just grief, I’m not sure he would have survived losing you.’

Caitlin absorbed the words and rubbed her chest as though it would ease the sudden ache in her heart. She knew Hawke loved her; had no idea what she would do if she ever lost him but Marella’s description of his grief…‘I didn’t know.’

Marella’s expression softened. ‘I know you’ve been going through your own personal hell with what happened.’

‘We’re both hurting.’ Caitlin admitted.

‘You’ll get past this.’ Marella said confidently. ‘You love each other.’

Caitlin nodded and sighed. ‘It’s just going to take time for both of us.’

Marella decided a change of subject was needed. ‘I saw your family leaving on my way in.’

Caitlin sighed again. ‘They’re finding it difficult to accept I don’t want to talk about my experience.’

‘Families are like that. When I went home after getting shot all I got was questions.’ Marella sympathised and leaned forward a mischievous glint in her eye. ‘How about we do something to take your mind off your problems?’

‘What did you have in mind?’ Caitlin glanced at the bag on the bed.

Marella smiled. ‘I thought you might want to get out of here for a while.’

Caitlin’s smile grew. ‘Tell me more.’

‘How does a night-time flight over LA sound, followed by dinner at a restaurant?’

‘A flight in a real chopper followed by dinner in a real restaurant?’ Caitlin repeated.

Marella nodded. ‘I might even tell you about the date Michael and I had whilst you were in Texas.’

‘You’d better.’ Caitlin laughed. She pointed at the bag. ‘So if we’re going out then that would be…?’

‘Clothes.’

‘Clothes.’ Caitlin breathed the word reverently. ‘Marella, I could kiss you.’

Marella laughed and she shooed the younger woman into the bathroom to change.

Part 14

Hawke checked the course and shifted in his seat to a more comfortable position, half an ear turned to Dom’s war-time story. With the delay caused by Caitlin’s nightmare and the overrun of the briefing, they had been late departing but he had eschewed using Airwolf’s top speed, his reluctance at leaving probably influencing his decision. His disquiet had grown stronger with each passing mile away from the clinic. It had settled like an itch between his shoulder blades; at first a mere irritation to be brushed aside but now a bone deep complaint that nagged at him constantly. His brow furrowed. He had put down his original aversion to his protectiveness over Caitlin. But the way his instinct was screaming in his ear that he was headed in the wrong direction…this was something else.

‘This is wrong.’ His statement cut through Dom’s story-telling like a knife.

The older man looked at the back of Hawke’s head perplexed. ‘Huh?’

‘This is wrong.’ Hawke pulled Airwolf to a complete halt and Dom grabbed for the console as she reared back. The helicopter hovered in the air over the ocean, the draught from her rotors sending ripples across the sea.

‘You want to explain what you’re doing?’ Dom asked crossly, adjusting another system impacted by the sudden stop.

Hawke’s eyes narrowed into the distance. ‘We’re going the wrong way.’ And as he said the words, he knew beyond question he was right. He swung Airwolf round and set a new course back to the clinic. He called for the turbos. Dom protested but had no choice to comply as Hawke pushed Airwolf beyond her normal air speed.

‘OK. Enough.’ Dom said as they ate up the miles back to the US. ‘What the hell is going on, String?’

‘Paris is a diversion.’

‘How can you know that?’ Dom demanded with exasperation.

‘I know.’ Hawke said.

Dom was tempted to tease him about being psychic but he was more concerned that Hawke was basing his feelings on something other than his gut. ‘Are you sure this just isn’t separation anxiety?’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Hawke shot a quick glare behind him which was returned in full.

‘It means that even a blind man could see the way you’ve handcuffed yourself to Caitlin since you rescued her.’

Hawke opened his mouth to make a smart retort but then sighed. He’d convince Dom quicker with honesty than evasion. ‘I’ve considered it, Dom and that’s not it.’

Dom frowned. ‘What do you think it is?’

‘I think if Paris is a diversion then Horn is going to make a try for Caitlin.’

‘But she’s safe in the clinic – hell, String it’s owned by the FIRM and Michael was going to increase security.’

‘Horn would see that as being part of the challenge.’ Hawke pushed Airwolf harder.

Dom adjusted their systems to compensate. ‘You really think…’

‘Yeah, Dom, I really think.’ Hawke felt the urgency escalating inside him until he could taste it. ‘We need to go faster.’

Continued in Part VIII.


 

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