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Fanfiction: Angel Wolf - Part III

For disclaimers and author's note see Part I.

 

Part 8

Caitlin made her way through the dark corridors, threading her way through the maze until she ended up in the doorway of Marella’s office. She paused and let her eyes adjust to the dim lighting. She could make out a huddled form on the sofa covered with a soft blanket – Michael, she surmised. Her gaze moved onto the tense figure of the woman standing in front of the windows staring out into the night. Caitlin walked over to join her and laid a hand on her shoulder.

‘Hey.’

Marella turned briefly toward her and Caitlin caught sight of the moisture on Marella’s olive skin before the other woman hid her face. She didn’t think; Caitlin reached out and wrapped the other woman in a tight hug.

‘It’s going to be OK.’ Caitlin whispered.

Marella hugged her back soundlessly. She pulled away and swiped at her cheeks. ‘I should…’ she gestured at the door softly, keeping her voice low.

Caitlin nodded and quietly led the way from the office to the female bathroom down the hall. Marella splashed water on her face and repaired the damage from her crying.

‘How are you doing?’ Caitlin asked quietly.

‘Not good.’ Marella admitted, smoothing her crumpled skirt. ‘Angelina…’ she sighed. ‘I know we’ve had our problems the last couple of years but she’s always felt like my daughter too and this…this is just hard.’

Caitlin rubbed her back soothingly. ‘You’re allowed to be upset, Marella. You love her.’

‘Michael needs me.’ Marella said with a sad smile. ‘He needs me to be strong.’

‘He just needs you.’ Caitlin corrected. She dragged a hand through her auburn hair and grimaced. ‘The few minutes I thought Nicky and Amelia were missing…’ she shook her head, ‘my heart almost stopped. I can only imagine what you guys are going through.’

‘It’s the not knowing.’ Marella admitted. ‘If we knew where she was…’

‘Well, that’s why I was coming to see you.’ Caitlin said. ‘I think I may have found something.’

Marella’s dark eyes widened. ‘What?’

‘Airwolf was going over the communications that Denubry made in the last week.’ Caitlin paused and took a breath. ‘He contacted someone called Andrew Kerr, otherwise known as Andrei Kinskov.’

‘Kinskov.’ Marella stared at her. ‘Any relation to the Kinskov that tried to kill Michael?’

‘We haven’t been able to find that out yet.’ Caitlin admitted. ‘But it’s quite a coincidence.’

Marella’s face settled into determined lines. ‘It’s him. Kinskov must have told Denubry to pull the plans for Airwolf and get out because he was going to move on Angelina.’

‘It looks like it.’ Caitlin said grimly.

‘So this is revenge?’ Marella sounded outraged and Caitlin could see anger and determination starting to overtake the earlier distress. The dark-haired spy’s face hardened. ‘We need to find him.’

‘Airwolf’s tracking down known locations; Seb is trying to help.’ Caitlin said.

‘Let’s go.’ Marella stated firmly. Her eyes gleamed suddenly with surprising calculation. ‘I have an idea.’

Caitlin followed her out of the bathroom and back to the control centre of the Red Star operations. Marella took up a position in front of one of the computers and started to tap instructions.

‘What are you doing?’ Caitlin asked.

‘It’s likely that if Kinskov was in the US under an alias, he must have taken a normal flight back to Europe before the operation to abduct Angelina.’ Marella said. ‘He would know he’s on the watch list so if he tried sneaking out that would have set alarm bells ringing.’

They watched as the computer started to search. Both of them waited; they drank coffee and, when one search failed they would try another. Neither of them was aware of the sun creeping above the horizon.

Caitlin felt Hawke’s hands on her shoulders and she turned to kiss him good morning. ‘How are the kids?’

‘Good. They’re watching cartoons with Mike.’ Hawke said, handing her a mug of coffee. ‘You’ve been here all night.’ He stated, sitting in the chair next to her and indicating at a sleeping Marella in the chair opposite. Their friend had her dark head pillowed on an arm as she slept slumped over the desk.

‘We’ve been trying to track down the likeliest suspect.’ Caitlin yawned widely and took a grateful sip of the hot, bitter liquid.

‘What suspect?’ Hawke asked, his blue eyes narrowing on hers as she passed the mug back to him.

‘Andrei Kinskov.’ Caitlin reached for a folder on the desk and handed it to her husband. Marella had run off the details of the intelligence file on the man. ‘Son of the Colonel Kinskov that was involved with kidnapping Michael back in ‘eighty-four.’

‘The same one that tried to kill Angelina?’ Hawke shook his head. ‘So, this is his son?’

‘Yeah.’ Caitlin grimaced. ‘Looks like this is some attempt to get revenge on Michael.’ She waved at the computer screen. ‘We’ve been trying to track down his whereabouts but it looks like we lose the trail at Strasbourg.’

Hawke frowned as he skipped through the pages of data. ‘It says here that he trained as a doctor in psychotherapy and the CIA figured he worked with the KGB in torture and brainwashing techniques?’

Caitlin nodded.

Hawke threw the folder back down on the desk. ‘He knew we would make the connection; this is revenge.’ Hawke murmured.

‘Who wants revenge?’

They both turned at the sound of Michael’s voice behind them. The spy had clearly not bothered to shower and change; he was wearing the same crumpled white pants and sweater of the previous day.

‘Kinskov.’ Hawke told him succinctly. ‘Turns out our old friend had a son.’

Marella stirred and slowly sat up. She stretched to get the kinks out of her muscles from sleeping in an awkward position. Her eyes caught on Michael and she stretched a hand out to him. Michael took it. She glanced at Caitlin. ‘Any luck?’

‘Not in tracking him down.’ Caitlin shook her head.

‘Maybe he took her somewhere obvious.’ Michael said.

‘The place in Russia where you found her?’ Caitlin suggested.

‘No…’ Michael shook his head as he considered it. ‘That was a simple farm; poor defences.’

‘What about the place in Germany?’ Hawke’s eyes met Michael’s.

‘It has the facilities he would need if he intends to brainwash her.’ Marella agreed.

‘And it was a fortress.’ Caitlin remembered with a sigh. ‘Highly defensible.’

‘It would also explain why we lost him in Strasbourg,’ Marella said, ‘he could have easily taken a car and crossed the border without leaving a trace.’

‘He was hoping we wouldn’t put this together so fast.’ Caitlin said thoughtfully. ‘Maybe he needs time for the brainwashing to really take effect.’

‘Well, we’re not waiting.’ Michael said furiously.

‘Let’s go.’ Hawke got to his feet.

Marella and Caitlin exchanged a faint look of exasperated concern.

‘Guys.’ Caitlin’s sharp word had both men stopping to turn and look at her. ‘We’re not going to help Angelina by rushing in without a plan.’ She waved at them. ‘This is clearly a trap.’

Hawke rubbed a hand over the back of his neck and looked at Michael. ‘She’s right, Michael. We need to plan this.’

‘Agreed.’ Michael said tersely. ‘Let’s get everyone together.’

Half an hour later the briefing room was packed. One side of the table was packed with the regular Airwolf team; Seb, Anna and Mike. On the other side was the original Airwolf team of Caitlin and Hawke with Marella. Michael sat at the top of the table. They had all washed and dressed; they were tired but the realisation of where Angelina was had injected a new energy into the group. They briskly brought the others up to date.

‘So,’ Mike summarised, ‘we think this creep Kinskov has Angelina and is brainwashing her to get to Michael. I take it we have a plan.’

‘I believe Kinskov is trying to recreate his father’s original plan.’ Michael said. ‘We’d go and rescue Angelina but her brainwashing would trigger an attempt on my life at some point once she was home.’

‘So how do we stop that?’ Mike asked.

‘There is the serum we have developed.’ Marella said. ‘As soon as we have Angelina we can inject her with it and make sure she’s OK.’

‘OK,’ Anna said, ‘but that doesn’t explain how we’re going to get her out there.’

‘I have a plan.’ Hawke said calmly.

‘That’s what worries us.’ Mike quipped.

Hawke shot him a look. ‘We’re going to go in like we did back in eighty-four. Caitlin, Michael and me.’ A shadow flitted across his eyes; Dom had been with them back on the original mission.

‘So why are we here?’ Seb asked with a frown. ‘If you’re taking Airwolf then…’

‘We’re taking the original ship.’ Hawke stated.

Mike stared at him. ‘The original ship?’

‘Nobody else knows she’s still operational.’ Michael tapped the table. ‘Including Kinskov.’

‘He’ll think we only have one ship.’ Hawke said.

‘We’re playing back up.’ Mike realised. ‘You go in and attack as in the past. He thinks he’s got you trapped. We play the cavalry.’

Hawke pointed at him. ‘Exactly.’

Mike nodded. ‘When do we leave?’

Michael’s good eye hardened. ‘Right now.’

Part 9

The atmosphere in Airwolf Two was quiet. Seb tapped away at the computer in the back as Anna kept track of the systems on her console. Mike rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the ache.

‘You want me to take over for a while?’ Anna said, concerned.

‘Sure.’ Mike relinquished the controls and sighed with relief as the pressure on his body eased. He reached into his pocket for the candy bar he had stashed there.

‘I guess we could have come up with an easier first mission for you.’ Anna said wryly.

Mike shrugged as he bit into the chocolate. He swallowed before answering. ‘I don’t mind. Angelina’s a good kid.’

‘She’s a woman.’ Anna contradicted with some exasperation.

‘I still remember when she was in pigtails.’ Mike said chagrined by the thought. He stuffed the wrapper back in his pocket and licked his fingers of the remaining chocolate.

‘You know String’s going to kill you.’ Seb remarked.

‘It was one candy bar.’ Mike said defensively, turning around to look at the younger man.

‘I was meaning about Sarah.’ Seb said pointedly.

‘Ah.’ Mike caught the glint in Seb’s eye. ‘What about you?’

‘She deserves someone who’ll treat her right.’ Seb said calmly. ‘And she’s always been stuck on you.’

‘So you don’t mind me dating your sister?’ Mike checked.

Seb shrugged. ‘If Saint John’s OK with it, I’m OK with it and knowing if you hurt her, you’re a dead man; that gives me some comfort.’

‘Thanks.’ Mike said dryly.

Anna laughed. ‘I think it’s great.’ She said. ‘You and Sarah make a great couple.’

‘We do.’ Mike agreed.

‘You think this guy Angelina was seeing was in on it?’ Seb asked, changing the subject.

Mike hid his smile. He couldn’t blame Seb; he was a little uncomfortable discussing him and Sarah in front of him too. ‘I don’t know. They’re still completing the background check.’ He sighed. ‘I hope for her sake he wasn’t.’

‘That would be tough.’ Anna agreed. ‘Thinking your first love only used you.’

‘It’s not going to be easy for her either way.’ Seb pointed out. ‘If he used her then that’s bad but if he didn’t…she’ll have to live with knowing he died because he was with her.’

‘We’re just going to need to support her as much as we can.’ Mike said. ‘Let’s just hope whatever brainwashing she’s been subjected to can be reversed otherwise we might lose her anyway.’

‘I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen Saint John feeling sorry for Michael.’ Seb commented sadly.

‘Yeah.’ Mike sighed. ‘This is bringing back everything with Bella.’

‘He told you Jo was coming back for the memorial for Dom?’ Seb asked brusquely.

‘He did.’ Mike confirmed. He glanced at Seb and saw the flicker of anger in the younger man’s face. ‘Don’t be too hard on her, Seb.’

‘She walked out.’ Seb pointed out. ‘Saint John’s been a mess ever since.’

‘She lost her daughter and blames herself.’ Mike contradicted, hating the friendships that had him pulled in two with Jo’s actions. ‘She’s hurting.’

The incoming communication beacon sounded and Mike hit the controls to connect them.

‘Just checking in before we hit European air-space.’ Caitlin said through the monitor. ‘Everything on track?’

‘Everything’s on track.’ Mike confirmed. ‘We’ll see you on the other side.’

Caitlin nodded and disconnected. She looked towards the front of Airwolf. They were all tired and tense, she realised. She only hoped they could keep it together long enough to grab Angelina and get home. She cleared her throat. ‘They’re right with us.’

‘Mike eating candy?’ Hawke asked without glancing back at her.

Caitlin remembered the wrapper sticking out of Mike’s pocket. ‘Give him a break, Hawke. It’s his first mission back.’

‘I’ll give him a break.’ Hawke muttered.

She sighed. ‘You’re just annoyed because he’s seeing Sarah.’

Michael stirred and he looked across the cockpit at the annoyed pilot. ‘Rivers is going out with your sister?’

‘Looks like it.’ Hawke said caustically.

Michael’s eyebrow rose, disappearing under his white fringe. ‘He’s braver than I give him credit for.’ He said dryly.

‘Funny, Michael.’ Hawke said.

‘You have to admit, Hawke,’ Michael pointed out, ‘that it must have taken a lot for him to even decide that he’d ask your sister on a date knowing how you and your brothers would react.’

‘Yeah, well, Saint John talked to him.’ Hawke said. ‘He says Mike’s pretty serious.’

Michael nodded. He grimaced. ‘I don’t know how he’s done it.’ He blurted out.

‘What?’ Hawke asked, not understanding the leap in logic.

‘Your brother.’ Michael said softly. ‘Losing Bella the way he did. After the last few days, I don’t understand how he’s still standing.’

‘Sometimes, neither do I.’ Hawke admitted quietly. He sighed and shifted position in the pilot’s chair. ‘He told me last night that Jo’s coming back for Dom’s memorial.’

‘Is that a good thing?’ Michael asked bluntly.

‘I don’t know.’ Hawke said.

‘I think it is.’ Caitlin commented from the back. ‘Maybe it’ll give them a chance to sit down and talk.’

Hawke glanced back at her. ‘Maybe.’

He turned back to the front. ‘We’re coming up on the French coast.’

‘I’m raising our radar suppression.’ Caitlin confirmed as they dived to a lower altitude. ‘Airwolf Two is taking the alternative course as planned; they’re breaking away.’

‘Good.’ Hawke’s eyes flashed with satisfaction.

It wasn’t long before they found themselves coming up on the castle; Hawke ordered forward scans, he wanted to be prepared.

Michael sighed as he pressed the monitor and brought up the data on the screen in front of him. ‘Anti-aircraft guns on the parapets.’

‘Those can be taken out first.’ Caitlin confirmed. ‘There are guards at every entrance; gun tower on the North parapet.’ She frowned. ‘Airwolf’s going to be busy.’ She was joining Hawke and Michael inside the building. Although none of them had mentioned it explicitly, the possibility that Angelina would need a female presence if she had been raped or sexually assaulted as part of her torture existed.

‘Internal readings?’ Hawke asked.

‘We have around forty individuals within the castle.’ Caitlin said. ‘There seems to be three individuals in the residence; the rest in the East Wing.’

‘Where they brainwashed me.’ Michael remembered, shuddering. ‘Angelina?’

‘It’s hard to say.’ Caitlin said. ‘There’s no obvious sign like an individual occupying a cell.’

‘The tunnel?’ Hawke asked.

‘Still structurally sound as far as I can see.’ Caitlin confirmed.

‘OK.’ Hawke murmured. ‘We go in using the old tunnel. Get Angelina out. Escape the same way. Hopefully, they’ll be expecting us to head to the roof.’

‘I’m transmitting all available data to Airwolf Two.’ Caitlin informed him briskly as he turned for the drop-off point.

It didn’t take them long to get organised and make their way into the tunnels. It was dark and their torches provided little light. The sounds of their ragged breathing gave away their fear as they approached the end. Hawke cautiously opened the entrance and stepped into the corridor. His gun was in his hand and he held it steady as Caitlin moved to stand at the end of the corridor; she peered around the corner and nodded, waving them forward.

They started searching; corridor by corridor, floor by floor. It was almost an hour before they found a small room with a single bed and chair. Caitlin picked up a discarded robe on the floor. She pointed to the London hotel logo. Hawke nodded. It was their confirmation Angelina was there.

Michael gave a sigh of relief and pushed his glasses up his nose. ‘Where is she?’ He hissed.

‘I think we should try the lab where we found you the last time.’ Hawke said.

Michael nodded. ‘Let’s go.’

‘You two go ahead.’ Caitlin said. ‘I’m going to circle back to the residence and check that out.’

Hawke caught hold of her hand as she went to move past him. ‘Be careful.’

Caitlin squeezed his hand before she let go. ‘You too.’ She slipped out of the room and Hawke watched her disappear around the end of the corridor. He gestured at Michael and the two men made their way back down towards the lab. They both saw the tank with horror.

‘Do you think it’s possible that Kinskov had access to Kruger’s old work?’ Hawke asked in a low voice.

‘If he has we can’t let it continue.’ Michael said.

‘We should take the formula and notes if we find them.’ Hawke agreed. He sighed. ‘I’ll check that out. You search for Angelina.’

Michael motioned his agreement at him and Hawke made his way down the corridor alone. He found a small office and started to gather the notes together. He switched on the computer and wiped the hard-drive before he grasped the file and opened the door to leave. He heard the sound of pounding footsteps and dived back into the room, watching as security headed past and alarm began to sound.

He reached for his radio and clicked it on and off; a silent signal for Airwolf to attack and create a distraction. He drew his gun again and made his way hurriedly down the corridor. He crouched and peeked around the edge of the corridor. Michael had been caught. He was stood with his gun out still, pointed directly at the man in front of him. Hawke recognised him from the photo; it was Kinskov. His breath caught at the sight of the blonde-haired woman next to him.

It was Angelina.

Her blonde hair had been shorn away leaving a short boyish cut. She was wearing an all-white jump suit and she had a gun in her hand. It was pointed at her father.

‘Angelina,’ Michael pleaded with her, ‘lower the gun.’

There was a flash of distress through his daughter’s blue eyes. ‘I…can’t.’

‘Fight it, Angelina.’ Michael said.

‘Lower your gun, Michael.’ Kinskov smiled smarmily. ‘It’s over.’

An explosion rocked the building.

‘I don’t think so.’ Michael muttered, keeping his gun levelled on Kinskov who barked an order at his guards. All but one left the area running towards the exits to defend the building from the attacking helicopter.

Hawke grasped his gun firmly and swung around the edge of the corridor. He shot the remaining guard and caught the attention of everyone else.

Angelina’s gun shifted from her father to Hawke. Her blue eyes iced over.

‘Angelina!’ Michael yelled as he shifted his gun to her. ‘Don’t!’

Kinskov kept his own gun on Michael. ‘It’s too late. Her programming will kick in now she has acquired her target.’

‘That’s what this was about.’ Michael realised. ‘It was never me you were after. It was Hawke!’

‘He killed my father.’ Kinskov snarled. ‘And she knows now that he killed her mother.’

‘To save me!’ Michael snapped. ‘He only killed Maria because she would have killed me.’ He looked desperately at Angelina. ‘Your mother loved Karl Kruger. She betrayed me and would have killed me. Hawke saved my life just like he saved yours!’

Angelina’s gun wavered.

Hawke’s gaze settled on hers. Her churning emotions were evident in the tortured expression on her face as she tried to make out the right path through the brainwashing and her own true beliefs. He stepped clearly into her line of fire and lowered his gun. He held her gaze and raised his hands. ‘Go ahead and shoot, Angelina.’

‘Hawke…’ Michael protested.

‘If she shoots, it breaks the brainwashing, Michael.’ Hawke kept his eyes on the young woman. ‘Go ahead and shoot, Angelina. It’s OK.’

Angelina’s gun wavered again. ‘Uncle String…’

‘It’s OK.’ Hawke assured her. ‘We’re going to get out of here. Just shoot me.’ He glanced at Michael. ‘Let her shoot me.’

‘No!’ Angelina gave an anguished cry and pulled the trigger. The bullet ricocheted into the wall by Hawke, missing him by inches.

Michael moved forward heedless of his own safety to catch Angelina as she collapsed into a ball.

Kinskov raised his gun with a ferocious growl, aiming at Hawke…

There was a shot.

Kinskov hit the ground.

Hawke stared up the corridor. Caitlin stood there; her gun poised after shooting Kinskov. Their eyes caught and held. She hurried forward and stopped in front of Michael who was holding a sobbing Angelina on the ground.

‘You OK?’ Caitlin asked as Hawke retrieved his gun.

‘We should get out of here while everyone is distracted outside.’ Hawke said.

Michael nodded. He helped Angelina from the floor.

‘Henry?’ Angelina sobbed. ‘We can’t leave Henry.’

‘I’m sorry, angel.’ Michael said softly. ‘Henry’s dead.’

She gave a low keening sound. Caitlin moved to her other side and they followed Hawke back through the maze of corridors to the tunnel. The trip back was as tense as the trip there and they all stumbled from the tunnel into twilight.

Hawke’s relieved gaze landed on Airwolf. Their ship had stayed in the clearing while Airwolf Two had created the distraction at the castle. He opened up the helicopter and Michael helped Angelina into the back with Caitlin.

Caitlin wrapped her up in a blanket. ‘Here, sweetie. You just rest. I’m just going to give you something to help you sleep.’ She reached into the med case and brought out a syringe. She injected into the trembling girl and stroked her hair softly as she lost consciousness. They would take her to a clinic and ensure that the brainwashing wasn’t permanent.

Hawke glanced back at her before he turned back to the front. ‘Signal the others.’ He ordered. ‘Let’s go home.’

Part 10

The breeze was brisk but Angelina didn’t mind the sharp sting against her skin. She shivered and pulled the cap further down on her head before she shoved her hands into the pockets of her pale blue jacket. Her dog, Brownie, chased the waves as they lapped on the shore and she watched him absently as she looked out onto the horizon.

She heard a sound behind her and turned. She was unsurprised to see her father there. He came to a halt beside her. He pushed his own hands into the pockets of his deep blue windbreaker.

Michael stayed silent and waited. Angelina had been in the clinic for over a week before she had been released with a clean bill of health. She had hardly spoken to either Michael or Marella during her stay at the clinic. Hawke and Caitlin had stayed away giving them some space.

‘Why didn’t you ever tell me about what happened with my Mom?’ Angelina asked eventually.

‘I don’t know.’ Michael admitted. ‘I always intended to but,’ he sighed, ‘it never seemed like the right time.’ He looked over at her. ‘How could I tell you?’

‘Will you tell me now?’ Angelina asked.

He gestured down the beach. ‘Do you want to take a walk?’

Angelina nodded and they set off at an easy pace; Angelina aware of her father’s injured leg that still caused him occasional pain.

‘I was after an East German scientist called Kruger.’ Michael began. ‘He was known to have had an affair with an East German agent…’

‘My Mom.’

‘Your Mom.’ Michael agreed. ‘Maria and Kruger had been lovers but they had recently split and I hoped to take advantage of that; get close to Maria and, hopefully get close to Kruger. I arranged a meeting in Paris.’ He smiled sadly. ‘We began seeing each other and I…I found myself finding her more and more intriguing. She was intelligent, beautiful, fascinating.’

‘You fell in love.’ Angelina realised as she turned her face into the wind.

‘I loved her very much and she loved me.’ Michael confirmed. ‘But it was always risky and eventually, Kruger found out about us. He tried to convince Maria to turn me in but she couldn’t. I escaped. That was the last time I saw her for years.’

‘Until?’ Angelina prompted.

‘Her name came up on a KGB white list.’ Michael sighed. ‘I went to rescue her.’

‘You still loved her?’ Angelina asked. Her blue eyes shone with curiosity.

Michael shrugged. ‘Remembered fondness, I don’t honestly know. I knew I couldn’t allow her to be executed.’

‘So you went after her.’ Angelina said.

Michael nodded. ‘Hooked like a first year rookie. Kinskov and Kruger trapped me; brainwashed me and allowed me to be rescued with the ruse that Maria who was supposedly helping Hawke find me was shot dead during the escape.’ He sighed. ‘Hawke figured it out. He replaced the bullets in my gun and when I tried to shoot the committee, I fired blanks.’

Angelina flushed her own experience so fresh in her mind. ‘You went back for the research.’

‘To get it and destroy it.’ Michael nodded. ‘Kruger knew. He came running into stop me. I killed him but then Maria turned up. I was shocked to see her alive and I couldn’t believe that she would kill me. She had a gun on me. When she went to shoot me, Hawke shot her first.’

‘And saved your life.’ Angelina said sadly.

‘Saved my life.’ Michael said gently. ‘He regretted it but I knew he had no choice.’

Angelina nodded slowly. ‘I know.’

They stopped and looked out at the turbulent ocean.

‘Can you forgive him?’ Michael asked.

‘There’s nothing to forgive,’ Angelina said, ‘he did what he had to do; I understand.’

‘Whatever happened between her and me, angel, your mother loved you very much.’ Michael said quietly. ‘She left you with your aunt so you would be safe and loved.’

‘I barely remember her.’ Angelina admitted, tears springing into her eyes. ‘Aunt Hannah looked after me and I’ve always missed her but I barely remember my mother.’ She looked at her father. ‘Marella’s been more of a Mom to me than she ever was and I’m…I’m so sorry about everything.’

‘Hey.’ Michael pulled her into his arms and let her cry on his shoulder. ‘It’s OK, angel. It’s all OK.’

Angelina wiped her face brusquely and sighed. ‘I’ve made such a mess of it.’

Michael shook his head. ‘No.’ He brushed her tears away and tapped her nose. ‘You didn’t make a mess; none of this was your fault.’ He paused and looked at her. ‘We did a background check on Henry. I think you should know what we found.’

Angelina braced herself. ‘What?’

‘We found that he was exactly who he said he was.’ Michael said softly. ‘He was a wonderfully talented young doctor who was madly and deeply in love with you.’ He pulled her back into his arms as she dissolved into tears; he held her until she stopped sobbing and handed her a tissue.

She scrubbed her face. ‘You would have loved him, Daddy.’

Michael stroked a stray lock of hair back from her forehead and tucked it into her cap. ‘Tell me about him.’ He invited her with a smile.

Angelina nodded and tucked her arm into her father’s as they turned back towards the house. Brownie bounded in the surf beside them. She cleared her throat. ‘I met Henry my second week. I literally bumped into him in the library and…’

Airwolf

Hawke walked out of the packed beach house and headed for the deck. He drew in a deep breath of air and focused on the blue sky. He hated crowds; he hated the day ahead and if he could have gotten away with it he would have taken Airwolf and gone for a spin.

Ten years before he had lost Dominic Santini in an explosion. Ten years since Dom had died. He pushed his hands in his pants’ pockets and grimaced. He didn’t remember that day. His memory had thankfully wiped most of the day. He couldn’t believe it had been so long; it felt like yesterday. The grief choked him and he turned away, blinking back the tears.

‘Uncle String?’

He took a moment to catch his breath before he turned around. ‘Angelina.’

‘Aunt Cait said that you were out here.’ Angelina’s hands twisted nervously together. ‘I hope it was OK.’

He shrugged. ‘How are you?’

‘Doing OK.’ Angelina ducked her head. ‘Not really.’

Hawke nodded. ‘I’m sorry about Henry.’

‘Yeah.’ Angelina sighed. ‘I really miss him.’

He nodded.

‘I know this is a bad time but it’s just…Daddy told me,’ Angelina began, ‘about what happened with my Mom.’

‘Angelina…’

‘I just…I just wanted to say that I understand and I don’t,’ Angelina continued determinedly, ‘I don’t blame you for it. I only hope you can forgive me for trying to, trying to shoot you.’

Hawke gestured at her and she went into his open arms for a hug.

She sniffed and pulled back. ‘Can I ask you a question?’

‘Sure.’ Hawke agreed, the slight breeze ruffling his hair.

‘How did you know that I would miss?’ Angelina asked as she wiped her eyes.

‘We’ve taught you a lot,’ Hawke said, ‘but not how to shoot. I knew if you took the shot it would break the control and I figured there was good chance you would miss.’

Angelina gave a watery smile. ‘What if I’d hit you?’

‘Then I would have gotten shot.’ Hawke said bluntly.

‘I’m glad I missed.’ Angelina said.

‘So am I.’ Hawke said.

‘Can I come over this weekend?’ Angelina asked tentatively. ‘Maybe we can have a game of chess.’

‘I’d like that.’ Hawke nodded. ‘The kids will love it.’

She nodded. ‘I’ll, uh, go…’ she jerked her thumb over her shoulder. She stepped away and he wasn’t surprised when a moment later Caitlin joined him. They linked hands.

‘Jo’s arrived. You ready?’ Caitlin asked.

‘No.’ Hawke sighed. He glanced over at her and they both walked back into the house. The drive to the church was quiet. They took their places and listened to the short memorial service before they headed to the cemetery and laid flowers at the grave. Hawke stayed silent as his mother hugged him and his father shook his hand; there were tears in their eyes – Dom had been their friend. He stayed silent as Sarah and Seb offered their condolences; as Mike patted him on the shoulder; as others offered their condolences. Michael and Marella were amongst the last to approach. Marella laid the flowers near the tombstone.

Michael caught Hawke’s eyes as he shook his hand. ‘I miss him.’

Hawke nodded unable to speak.

Marella touched his arm gently and they walked away. Hawke felt Caitlin’s arm sliding around him and he slid his hand over hers. They glanced over the grave where Saint John and Jo were stood silently on the other side.

Hawke looked over at his brother and they exchanged a silent look of perfect understanding. Hawke’s fingers tightened on Caitlin’s. He looked at his wife and she nodded. Her fingers traced over the top of the tombstone; she had loved Dom too. They walked away and left the other couple alone.

‘I can’t believe it’s been ten years.’ Jo said finally. She pushed her blonde hair back over her shoulders.

‘I know.’ Saint John said.

They turned together and walked along the graves until they came to a small angel with the name of their daughter. They laid some more flowers.

‘I miss her so much.’ Jo said brokenly.

‘I miss her too.’ Saint John’s hazel eyes gleamed with tears.

Jo pressed her lips together. ‘You know I had a dream last night. I dreamed my Uncle Dom was looking after Bella. He told me he’d keep her safe.’

‘That sounds like him.’ Saint John said.

‘I miss him.’ Jo said.

‘I miss you.’ Saint John confessed huskily.

Jo turned away and walked over to a wooden bench nearby. ‘I can’t, Saint John.’ She said eventually. ‘It hurts too much to be here; to be with you.’ She shook her head. ‘I’ve lost too much.’

‘And I haven’t?’ Saint John said angrily. ‘She was my daughter. You’re my wife!’

Jo grasped his hand. ‘I love you. I love you more than anything.’ Her damp eyes met his. ‘But I can’t stay with you. All I see when I look at you is Bella and I can’t bear it.’

Saint John’s head bowed. ‘I can’t lose you too.’

Jo cupped his cheek and he raised his head to look at her. She kissed him gently. ‘You’ll get through this. You have your family.’

‘Where will you go?’ Saint John asked resigned.

‘Back to Italy.’ Jo said. She dropped her hand. ‘I should go.’ She crossed back to the angel, kissed her fingers and pressed them to the statue as she said goodbye to her child.

Saint John bowed his head and when he looked up; she was gone and Hawke stood in front of him.

‘She left.’ Saint John explained needlessly.

‘I’m sorry.’ Hawke said gruffly as he sat down beside his brother.

Saint John nodded and swiped a hand under his nose. ‘It’s for the best.’

They sat in silence for a long while.

‘Ten years.’ Saint John whispered. ‘I can’t believe it’s been ten years.’

‘It feels like yesterday.’ Hawke admitted. ‘Losing Dom; getting you back.’

Saint John grimaced. ‘Jo said I would always have my family.’

‘You always will.’ Hawke said.

Saint John looked over at his brother. The bond between them had taken time to repair but it was strong again. Jo had been right. They had each other.

Airwolf

Airwolf dived through the clouds with an eerie, banshee cry that ripped through the evening sky. Hawke’s hand tightened around the stick as he pushed her forward. There was nothing that compared to the feeling of him and Airwolf alone in the sky. He felt his soul settle for the first time that day. Hawke flew over the rough landscape of the Valley of the Gods; it had been home to Airwolf once.

His mind filled with memories of Dom; laughing, joking, yelling and gesturing wildly. It had been the two of them once; only the two of them. He had so much more in his life now; Caitlin and his children; his family. He owed it to Dom; to the man who had raised him, taught him how to fly.

‘I miss you, Dom.’ He said out loud.

I miss you too, kid

Hawke blinked back tears unsure if he’d heard the words or imagined them but he nodded. He swung Airwolf around and hit the turbos. It was time to let go of the past. Time to go home to the wife he loved and the kids he adored. It was time for his future to continue.

fin.

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