Just something I worked on in the last couple of days.
I hope you will like it and if you do, please hit the review button.
I don't own Intelligence. Michael Seitzman does. I only torture his characters.
As she entered Gabriel's apartment that evening, Riley could sense that something was off. The place was immersed in darkness event though she was certain that Gabriel should have been at home at that hour and it wasn't in his character to go to sleep early. Specially when he knew she was coming home.
Riley had been away for a week, attending a Secret Services Seminar for the Agency's recruits. Apparently, even though she wasn't a part of the game anymore, being the youngest female appointed on Presidential Detail was an achievement and she was presented as an example for the young women who joined the Service.
In the time she had been away, Special Agent Chris Jameson had been Gabriel's protector and he texted her after he left Gabriel in his apartment 30 minutes before. Leaving her luggage by the door, she drew her gun slowly from the side pocket of her bag and turning on the living room light she moved carefully around Gabriel's living room and kitchen, searching for any sign of life. Both parts of his apartment were empty so she continued her search towards his bedroom not knowing what she will find in there.
Opening he door slowly, she sighed in relief, as she found Gabriel seated on the bed with his head in his palms, deep in thought.
"Hi, Gabriel! What are you doing here with the lights off? Are you OK?"she asked him concerned.
Hearing her voice, Gabriel raised his head and ran a hand through his hair, a gesture Riley knew he was doing only when he was extremely nervous about something.
"Riley. What time is it?"
"It's 9 o'clock." Riley answered him puzzled as she put her gun down on the dresser next to Gabriel's door. "I told you I will come back tonight. I even left you a message a few hours ago and you answered back."
"Oh... yeah, you're right. Sorry Riley, rough day. Slipped out my mind." Gabriel apologized.
Riley advanced in the room and took a seat next to him on the bed, one hand reaching out towards the nape of his neck and rubbing slowly while with the other she turned his head to her and kissed him gently on his lips.
Usually the one to initiate or deepen their kisses, Gabriel barely moved his lips to kiss her back.
Riley pulled back puzzled by his unusual behavior and got up from her place next to him, ready to ask for an explanation.
"What's wrong Gabriel? Something happened at work? Chris didn't mention anything out of ordinary and Lillian..."
"Riley, I think you should go to your place tonight." Gabriel interrupted her.
"Riley, I am fine. Please, go home. I want to be left alone. We will talk tomorrow." Gabriel dismissed her.
"Yeah, I hope you will have a good explanation for your behavior. Good night, Gabriel!"
Riley left his apartment taking her bags with her and not looking back. Partners for two years and lovers for a little over ten months, they had their ups and downs but Gabriel never been so cold with her, excepting maybe the beginning of their partnership and a few days after his wife died. She decided to let him on his devices for the moment, she knew that sooner or later he will tell her what has been bothering him.
Opening her apartment's door, Riley let her bags fall on the floor and went to her fridge to get herself something to drink. As she didn't spend much time at her apartment nowadays, there wasn't much to choose from: a bottle of wine, two beers and a few bottles of water. Skipping the first two options, she settled for a water and ate a few crackers from a box Gabriel must have brought with him when he came by to water her plants.
She had no idea what was wrong with Gabriel. He never rejected her or her touch. He was a passionate lover and he always managed turn even the chastest of kisses into fire. Their personal relationship started like a natural extension of their partnership: friendly smiles turned into scorching looks, their usual protective touches became sensual caresses, until one night, after a difficult mission that had them both almost killed, Riley's usual check-up turned into a sex marathon that had them both so spent the next day that Lillian had to give them a day off to "recover after their tiring mission".
Their sexual encounters turned into something more and, even though none of them approached the subject, she had deep feelings for Gabriel. She only waited for the right moment to tell him. And considering the suspicions she had, she knew she had to confess them to him. She only hoped he will reciprocate.
Riley took a hot shower and got herself ready for sleep, her bed feeling foreign to her after spending almost all of her home time in Gabriel's apartment. She only wanted for the night to pass and to finally find out what has been bothering him.
The following morning Riley woke up at 5:30 with a strong migraine and an upset stomach, but she tried to overcome them and get herself ready for the usual check-up with Gabriel and the pending discussion he promised.
After getting dressed and checking both her service and spare weapons, she left her apartment and went for Gabriel's. Using her key, she entered his home and started looking for him. Because she arrived early, Riley wasn't worried that Gabriel wasn't in his makeshift gym or in the kitchen and entered directly in his bedroom. Knowing his deep sleep, the agent hoped she could sneak for a few moments in his bed and relax in his arms. After a week of not being with him and his strange acting from the previous night, she missed him. The simple touching of his lips wasn't enough.
She opened his bedroom door slowly and was surprised not seeing him in bed. Actually, the bed was already made. Or wasn't even slept in it. A strange feeling crept in her heart as she knocked on Gabriel's bathroom door and called his name. No answer.
Taking a look over his things that Riley knew so well, she noticed that his closet doors were opened and a few of his shirts, jackets and jeans were missing. With a heavy heart she searched the place behind his dresser where he was keeping his guns and it was empty. A crumpled piece of paper carelessly thrown in a corner of the room got her attention. Opening it slowly she read the words that felt like a kick in the stomach:
Gabriel, I am alive. Please come at the place we first met. I will be waiting. A.H.
A.H, Amelia Heynes, Riley thought. But she was death, blown in millions of pieces by a bomb she swallowed.
Taking her phone out of her pocket she called the only person who could help her.
"Hello? Riley, why are you calling at this hour?"
"Lillian we have a problem. Gabriel is missing from his apartment and I found something that I am not sure if is real or not, but shows that Amelia is alive."
"Riley, stay there. I will send a tac-team to check the premises and I will be there myself as soon as possible."
"Yes, I will wait for you and in the meanwhile I will call call Chris, Doc and Nelson."
"Riley, we will find out what is going on." Lillian assured Riley before hanging up.
The next 20 minutes seemed ages. Riley started to look for clues about Gabriel's plans and if there were any traces of Amelia's presence in the apartment. She realized now that the previous night Gabriel must have known about the note and he asked her to leave because he was planning to leave as well, without caring that the note could be a trap. Riley remembered the way he shirked from her kiss and felt as if she was stabbed in the heart. Gabriel still loved his wife and, even though, logically, she couldn't have survived the explosion, he tossed everything aside to chase a ghost. For him, Riley was only a working partner and a warm body to lose himself into. She hoped they will find some clues about the place the person that called herself Amelia Heynes mentioned and that Gabriel will be there. Alive and well.
Doctor's Cassidy entrance, followed by a frazzled Nelson and an alert Agent Jameson interrupted her thoughts.
"Oh God, Riley! What happened? Lillian told us that Gabriel is missing."
Riley told them about her discussion with Gabriel and what she found in the morning, leaving out the details about her personal relation with Gabriel. No one at CyberCom knew about their extracurricular activities and she didn't think it was relevant to confess them now.
"The place the said Amelia mentions in her note is a restaurant on 8th Street that has been closed a couple of years ago because of the recession." Doctor Cassidy told them. "Gabriel told me about their first meeting during a CIA mission: Amelia was working undercover in that restaurant and Gabriel was there celebrating with his mates after a tour in Irak. It was instant attraction and a few months later they were married." he remembered.
"I sent a tac-team there." Chris Jameson interjected.
"OK. Let's go there. Doc, Nelson, stay here and search the perimeter for bugs or any interception devices. Lillian will be here soon." Riley instructed as she left the room trailing Agent Jameson.
The search at the former restaurant was a dead end. If Gabriel met someone at that place, they were long gone.
Tracing Gabriel's chip wasn't impossible, but hard to achieve. He disabled the chip's tracking device and because of Doctor's Cassidy protocol updates they managed to make it almost untraceable.
"The only way we can track him is with another chip." Doctor Cassidy answered the question that was on every CyberCom agent's lips.
"Another chip?" Lillian asked in shock."We don't have another chip, Shen. The only other option was Mei Chen but we neutralized her and that chip has been destroyed."
Nelson, who has been silent the whole time, started pacing and looking questioningly at his father.
"What is it Nelson?" Lillian asked exasperated by his strange behavior.
The usually happy scientist, was terrified to look at Lillian. With a pleading look he turned to his father and waited for him to say something.
"Lillian..." the Doctor started. "Gabriel's chip is not the only one."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"After the destruction of Mei Chen's chip I started working on a new device, a chip with an enhanced protection protocol. Basically it has the same properties as Gabriel's chip but it also should work as a shield, protecting another chip or devices, servers from every cyber threat there is at the moment. I only tested it on some servers and it worked, but I wanted to make it better. Please, believe me Lillian, I was going to tell you about it." the poor Doctor started to ramble, scared by the repercussions of his actions.
Lillian was shocked. He did it again. Worked on secret projects that could jeopardize Clockwork and didn't tell her.
She was about to burst at him when a small voice interrupted her thoughts:
"Can this new chip track Gabriel?" Riley asked.
Everyone turned their faces to the agent's question.
"Yes." The answer came. "If implanted on a person, yes."
"And we don't have someone to implant it on. And even if we did, is not easy to assimilate the chip and use it in such a short time that will allow us to find Gabriel."
"How much could it take for you to track him now?" Riley asked.
" We don't know Riley" Nelson answered. "It could be days, weeks, months, never. If he doesn't show up on the grid... Amelia is missing for about ten years and she didn't need a chip to disappear."
"I volunteer myself to be tested for the Athens gene." Riley decided.
"What?" Everyone was in shock at her decision.
"Riley, it's a very rare gene, the chances are slim to none." Cassidy told her.
"I am sorry Riley but we can't risk it. I know you are devoted to Gabriel but you are better for him alive than doing tests and, if the results are positive, to have a surgery that may have devastating consequences." Lillian answered her.
"I know the consequences. Gabriel told me what happened with the other volunteers." Riley answered back."I want to be tested for the gene." Riley demanded.
With a heavy sigh, Lillian accepted.
Two days later no Gabriel popped on the grid, but the results of Riley's tests came back. She was a match. Also, worried about the chip being on the loose, the President approved the surgery. It was the only chance Clockwork had. If the surgery failed or Gabriel couldn't be recovered, the project went dark and every mention of it destroyed.
Sitting alone in Lillian's office, Riley pondered her options. For her, Gabriel meant so much: he was her friend, her partner, her lover for a little while, the man she trusted more than anything. He was also the man that tossed her aside, left her for a chimera, but a man who deserved to be happy. And if indeed his wife was alive and she was innocent, Riley will do anything to help them be together. She will be the next Clockwork and Gabriel will be able to step down and be with his wife. He deserved all the happiness in the world, even though she will pay in tears and sorrow for it.
Lillian's entrance accompanied by Doctor Cassidy and Nelson put a stop to her thoughts.
"Riley" Lillian started, "as you know, you are a match to the gene and because you already had your physical exam right before you left for the seminar, Doctor Cassidy will perform a standard check-up and, with your consent, we can start the surgery this afternoon.
"I understand." was Riley's only answer.
"Riley, if you want to call someone, we will let you to it." Doctor Cassidy offered.
"No, it won't be necessary. The only thing I will ask for you is that, if I won't make it, please sent this letters to my family and, if you find him, to Gabriel." Riley took out from a folder she kept next to her a few letters and gave them to Lillian. "You can scan them if you don't trust me or you are afraid I may unveil any secret." Riley assured them.
"We trust you Riley and I will personally deliver them, if something in to happen. But I hope it won't come to this." Lillian tried to be confident and assure Riley of her support. She became very fond of the young agent in time. Maybe it wasn't a smart career choice for Riley to be Gabriel's protector and Lillian was directly responsible for that, but she saw so much potential in Riley and a possible successor. Lillian hoped that for Gabriel's sake Riley will survive the surgery. She saw the development of their personal relations and he would never forgive himself if Riley sacrificed for him.
Taking a deep, cleansing breath, Riley left Lillian's office and went to prepare herself for the implantation.
Couple of hours later, Riley was sat on Doctor's Cassidy operating table, with Nelson offering her encouragements and telling her crazy scientific jokes.
"You realize that when you will have the chip, you will actually understand them, right?" he asked her.
"I am looking forward to it, Nelson." she smiled at him."Nelson", Riley became serious, "if I don't survive this, please find Gabriel and make sure he is safe."
"Riley, you will be fine" Nelson tried to assure her.
"Nelson..." she pleaded, "do this for me. Please!"
"I will. Promise." he promised her.
Doctor's Cassidy entrance accompanied by his medical team put a stop to their conversation.
"Are you ready Riley?" the good Doctor asked.
"Let's do this." Riley responded.
Implanting a chip in a living and breathing human being's brain was terrifying, Doctor Cassidy concluded. With Gabriel he did it because it was time to deploy their years of research and because the former soldier and friend wanted to find his missing wife. With Mei Chen he was coerced to perform the surgery. But with Riley... she was sacrificing herself, he could see that. She did all she could to protect Gabriel, even when the cost was her own life. He only hoped Gabriel was OK wherever he was and that Riley will find him and see the reasons why he left as it was impossible for the real Amelia to be alive.
Twelve hours later, the surgery ended. Riley was alive and they waited for her to wake up in order to find out if it was a success. Nelson and Chris prepared the training room and Doctor Cassidy was looking for his training CD's. He only hoped Riley liked Mozart.
Riley felt as if she was floating, a cacophony of sounds and noises twirling around her.
So, this is how it feels to have a chip in your brain, she mused. She could hear voices all around her and she tried to distinguish them: a vague familiar TV show presenter, the President holding a speech, a horrible beeping noise, Nelson telling a joke about some numbers and geometrical figures. Slowly opening her eyes, she took in her surroundings. Apparently, she was in the isolated room at Clockwork and the noises were coming from Nelson's laptop, who was whisper-yelling one of his jokes to an exasperated Chris Jameson.
"Guys..." Riley tried to draw their attention, her voice raspy from not being used in quite some time.
"Riley! You're awake!" A startled Nelson exclaimed. "Dad! Riley's awake!Oh my God! This is fantastic! Can I bring you anything?" he fretted around her.
Riley smiled. "Some water will be nice."
Just as she finished sipping home water Nelson gave her, Doctor Cassidy entered the room accompanied by Lillian.
"Riley! How do you feel?" he asked her and started checking her vitals.
"I am fine, a mild headache. Was the surgery successful? I am feeling just the same, aside from the headache."
"That is because I haven't turned on the chip yet." He clarified. "Do you think we could try?"
Nodding her head, Riley accepted.
She had no idea how that felt. She saw Gabriel struggling before with the noise and information overflow, but when you are a bystander you don't actually realize what is the other person going through.
Turning on the chip was as if Doctor Cassidy started scrapping nails on a chalkboard: painful and annoying. But he helped her every step on the way: identify the frequencies, distinguish the information, accessing data and protecting the assets. There were days when she was overwhelmed, moments when she wanted to let all go and tell Doc Cassidy to turn off the chip or when she wanted to hide herself in a dark, deep hole and never get out. Everyone was patient with her and taught her how to deal with the emotions, to integrate the chip and prepare herself for the most crucial moment: get inside the grid and find Gabriel.
One week later she was ready to try. They had no information over his whereabouts, he may have been dead, tortured for information, they had no idea. Riley remembered the name Gabriel told her Amelia had inside the CIA: "The Sounder" and knew that, if she was really alive, it won't be easy to track them down.
Inside Doc's lab, she was hooked to all kinds of monitors and under strict supervision just to keep her safe.
"Riley... I want you to try to find Gabriel's chip and access it. Think about it as if it was an apartment building: every room is a server and the chip should be hidden among them.
"All right Doc."
Riley's search turned out to be unsuccessful. Gabriel simply vanished.
That is when Riley decided to make another search. She looked for Amelia, accessing both her CIA file and the recalling of the only moment she was in the same room with Gabriel's wife: in the hospital room, before she exploded in millions of pieces. And she realized something was wrong. Comparing Amelia's photo from her CIA file and the memory she had of her, Riley was certain that the two of them were a different person: they had only 75% facial similarities. The only way they could have been so much alike was if they were twins.
As she finished her search, Riley opened her eyes and told them her findings.
They were shocked but Lillian admitted that there was a possibility they couldn't ignore.
"What do we know about Amelia's whereabouts?" Riley asked.
"She was the only daughter of a high school teacher and a doctor. Joined CIA when she was only 21." Lillian answered her.
"She was adopted." Doctor Cassidy told them.
"How do you know that? It's not mentioned anywhere in her file." Lillian asked.
"That because CIA erased that information when Amelia joined them. Amelia has been adopted from Pakistan. This is why it was easy for her to infiltrate in India and pass as one of theirs. Gabriel told me that after her death and I considered that it was irrelevant." The Doctor answered.
"Is it possible that she may have had a twin?"Riley wondered.
"I don't know. It was a closed adoption, no one knew. But Amelia could have discovered she had a sister during one of her missions and maybe that was the reason she disappeared all those years ago."
"But this is sick. If this is true, Amelia sacrificed her own sister."
"It's not only that" Riley said."The woman who was in that hospital room told Gabriel things only they seem to know. We're not sure what we dealing with, but we must find Gabriel. He may be just a pawn in all of this. I must try to find him again Doc and I think I know when."
"You tried already Riles, you need to rest." Nelson told her.
"That is the point Nelson. I will try to find him again at night, when he is sleeping. His defenses are down and I may be able to find and access his chip."
"How do you know about the sleeping thing?" Nelson was intrigued.
"Gabriel is sleep talking sometimes." Riley revealed.
"How do you know?" Nelson eyes were bulging out of his head in wonder. With his glasses on, the nice scientist looked like a scared beaver.
"Err... I noticed during our plane rides." Riley recovered.
"All right then." Lillian decided. " Of you are not too tired Riley, tonight we try your idea. In the meanwhile, you should try to access the cameras around the area Gabriel must have met with Amelia. There may be something we slipped or Gabriel put them in a loop. You should be able to decrypt them and find something."
Riley nodded in understanding.
"Riley" the Doctor interrupted "before that you must have a physical evaluation. It's standard procedure to have it every few weeks, specially now that you have the chip."
That night Riley was hooked to different kind of machines and under Clockwork team supervision. She was aware that she had to find Gabriel in this search. Her surveillance check-up from earlier revealed that Gabriel indeed met with a woman that looked exactly like Amelia. He hugged that woman and Riley felt tears prickle at the corners of her eyes seeing how natural he accepted her, how he let his life go for someone he hadn't actually saw in ten years.
At Doc Cassidy's signal, Riley began her journey through the grid, searching everything that may be similar to Gabriel's chip. Physically, she felt herself drained, but mentally, it was as if she was in one of those vivid dreams where you fall from one place to another, a place you know you have to escape from but you simply don't want to.
And then, there it was. The turned off chip Gabriel had inside his brain. Remembering all the tricks she learned from her time with him and using the programs her own chip had built in, she switched on the tracker and got inside Gabriel's chip.
It was as if she entered a house with so many rooms, every room a particular event from his life. Accessing each of them as if there were files arranged in a folder, she found the one from the first night they spent together as lovers and started running the moment all over again. She accessed Gabriel and in a matter of moments they were back again together in that moment, with him holding her in his arms, caressing her skin with his calloused fingers.
"How are we here Riley? In a render?"
"We are not rendering. I have to be just like you to be able to do that" Riley lied.
"You're right. Strange."
"Maybe you we're just thinking about me, wishing I was here." she continued her charade.
"Why did you leave?"she asked him.
"Amelia. She is alive Riley. My wife is alive and I have a second chance."
"So... what happened between us was..." she let him continue.
"Riley... I am sorry. I care about you more than you can possibly imagine, but she is my wife, I made a promise in front of God to be with her."
"Why is she back so sudden?" Riley asked.
"What do you mean? She came back because..."
"No, Riley. I trust her and I think is time for you to leave. I am sorry it happened this way. Soon, Amelia and I will leave the country and we will live the life we wanted: no enemies, no missions, I can have the family I always wanted. Goodbye Riley I am sorry!"
Riley woke up from her render with a jolt.
"We found him Riley. Great job!" Nelson appraised her.
"He is planning to leave with Amelia. We must find him and stop him." Riley told them.
"We have enough information to find him. I will run the Tac-Team myself. But you will remain here." Lillian told Riley, her expression unreadable.
"What is that suppose to mean? Are you casting me aside, Lillian?" Riley was shocked.
"Nelson, Chris, everybody, please leave the room." Doctor Cassidy instructed.
"What is going on?" Riley asked alarmed after she remained in the room with only the Doctor and Lillian.
"Riley, your physical exams results came back." Lillian informed her gently. "Your results showed a high level of HCG hormone in your blood. You're pregnant."
Riley nodded stiffly at the news, but showed no trace of surprise.
"You knew?" Lillian pressed.
"I had my suspicions, but as nothing turned out at the last tests, I thought it was just stress."
"You are in the early stages, around 4 or 5 weeks. When you had the last tests it was too early to trace it and we didn't particularly searched for it." the Doc said.
"When did you suspect?" Lillian asked.
"The night before I came back from the Seminar. As an Agent you must be careful with these aspects of your personal life, but with everything that happened I just ignored it. Do you think the drugs and tests I took these past weeks affected the fetus?" Riley realized the implications of her carelessness.
"We don't know Riley. We will make some tests but the pregnancy was still young when you had your surgery. He or she should be OK. We will do the necessary tests and I have a few doctors friends that will help you gladly with the little one." the Doctor told her with emotion in his voice. "Riley, I know is not our business, but who is the father?" he asked with a shaky voice.
"It's Gabriel's." Riley swallowed thickly. She waited for Lillian's wrath but she was silent.
The Doctor was shocked. He knew that Gabriel and Riley were close but never suspected that there was more than friendship between them.
Lillian took off her glasses, her body falling limply in one of the chairs in the room.
"For how long were the two of you together?" she asked.
"About ten months."
"Where were you going to tell us? Lillian pressed more for details.
"It was nothing to say, Ma'am." Riley responded. She felt like in high school again, in front of a ruthless teacher.
"Nothing?" Lillian raised her voice. "You two were breaking the most important rule in the book and it was nothing?!"
"Yes, Lillian. Nothing. Gabriel and I met after work, got off and that was it. There were no feelings involved, no promises, no future. Just two consenting adults. And nothing else." Riley answered back, tired of all the questions. Gabriel went after his wife and he left her to face everyone alone. She realized that this is how the mistresses should feel: always alone. Except... except she wasn't. A little part of Gabriel and her was developing inside her and she was responsible for that innocent life's safety. She was going to be a mom. Riley cradled her belly protectively. It was just as flat as usual but in a few months, if the baby survived, there it will be evidence of his or her for everyone to see.
"Lillian" Shen tried to calm her "they were two consenting adults and there is nothing we can do about it. The stress is not good for Riley and if we think about it well, there are two consenting adults, they didn't hurt anyone and from what I recall, they did their job by the book."
"You are right Doc." Lillian admited, defeated."What's done is done. I am sorry Riley! A child is a reason of joy and we will support you with everything. Rebecca may be an adult now, but I still remember a few things about newborns and all." She smiled at her agent.
Riley accepted the apologize with a not. She felt as if she let Lillian down."Thank you!"
A frantic Chris Jameson interrupted their discussion.
"I am sorry to cut your meeting short but something happened."
"What is it?" Lillian asked.
"We were announced by the CIA that Senators Ian Doring and Michael Jones, who were participating at a secret meeting over our missions in India have been killed in their rooms at the Newman Hotel. The murders took place about an hour ago and the cameras show it was Gabriel.
"That's impossible. I was in a render with him at the time. The only way he could have been doing that was if he was sleepwalking and that is not the case." Riley told them.
"This looks like Mei Chen all over again." Chris told them.
"I need to take a look at the footage" Riley asked them.
"You do that Riley and I will talk to the CIA and tell them we are on the problem. The Director has a lot of debts to pay and is time to cash in a few." Lillian instructed.
Half an hour later Riley could verify the footage and had the proof that Gabriel was innocent.
"WOW, Riley" Nelson exclaimed. "You are awesome! Give me five!"
Despite her inner turmoil, Riley had to laugh and obey Nelson's demand.
"I learned from the best here. Now, the thing about this video is that, if Mei Chen hacked the cameras because of her chip, Amelia used a high performance computer, heavily encrypted, but not impenetrable."
"Can you access more data from that computer?"
"Let me try."Riley focused again.
"They are planning on leaving the country with a plane she rented under an alias. The flight is set to take off in one hour from the Jefferson Airport, just outside Washington."
"All right. Riley you stay here with Nelson and Doc. Chris and I will lead the Tac Team. We will bring Gabriel back and expose Amelia." Lillian instructed.
"I am coming with you, I can help" Riley pressed.
"No. It's not safe for you and you can help us from here." Lillian had her final word.
Soon after Riley became restless. Something was off, she thought. It was too easy. She knew that using the chip was hard work and it took Gabriel months to learn the basic and even now he was still integrating it but she felt that there was something more she had to search in Amelia's computer.
Riley accessed it again and after a while she realized she was right. Amelia protected her plans by planting a decoy. She and Gabriel weren't on that plane. She paid for a helicopter to take a cargo from a private helipad on the other side from the place the Tac Team was heading to.
Riley wanted to let the others know but she realized there was no time for that.
"Nelson, Doc... listen to me" she asked her friends ans colleagues, "Amelia and Gabriel won't be at the Jefferson Airport. It was a decoy and now is too late for them to get to the real place. I need to look for Gabriel and at least slow them down until Lillian arrives."
"Riley..." Doc warned her "it's not safe in your condition. And adding to that the fact that you are carrying a very powerful chip... It's very hard outside: cell signals, internet cables, WI-FI..."
"Please Doc, I have to find them." Riley pleaded with him."You know I must."
"All right. Nelson and I will help you."
"Yes Nelson. Now, Riley go and find Gabriel and... Good luck!"
"Thank you!" Riley smiled at them and ran off the door.
There was a 45 minutes ride to the helipad but with Riley's mad skills driving, the open road due to the fact that it was only 5 a.m. and the traffic light chipping she learned to execute, she arrived in only 25 minutes.
Leaving her car on a side street as not to draw attention to her, the agent moved slowly around the buildings and chipped the cameras for activity. The cameras were closed. That only meant that Gabriel and Amelia were there.
She arrived at the hangar from where she could hear Gabriel's voice.
Are you sure about this Amelia? There are other options you know?
I will revenge Gabriel, They destroyed my family, I am destroying their precious assets.
Amelia, those people were my friends. I worked hard to have a life after you left me, after you sacrificed your own sister to fake your death.
So Gabriel knew, Riley thought. "I wonder if it was a pillow talk" her inner voice decided to make an appearance.
"Listen to me and listen to me well Gabriel Vaughn. You and your precious chip are going with me or your little lover will blow up. Her apartment is full of undetectable explosive. I wonder if she is awake at this hour. She could have an explosive morning. How is that, husband dearest?" Amelia threatened.
WOW, the wifey got her claws out, Riley thought. It's good I haven't gone to my apartment in a while.
All right Amelia. As long as you leave Riley out of it, I am coming with you.
Entering slowly in the building, Riley extracted her gun from the holster and moved until she was behind the former CIA agent.
"Wrong, Gabriel. You two aren't going anywhere." she spit the words menacingly.
"Riley..." Gabriel whispered.
"Well, well, well... I underestimated you Agent Neal. You did find me. And you are alone." Amelia turned to her smiling evilly. "You are a smart cookie. Too bad you are going to die this morning."
A huge armed man, most probably a mercenary appeared behind Gabriel and put his gun to his head.
"Gabriel... behind you." Riley warned him alarmed.
"Look at that Agent Neal" Amelia keep taunting her "We are two against and Gabriel can't protect himself. Even if you shoot me, Gabriel will go boom!" she continued.
"It's not going to end like this." Riley spit at her.
"Yeah, bye-bye dear! We are going to leave now. You fire your weapon and you will see Gabriel's precious brain all over the place."
Amelia cuffed Gabriel and put a gun at his temple and took another from her back and pointed it at Riley. Then she signalized the armed man to start the helicopter.
"Amelia there are other ways..."Gabriel tried to reason with her.
"No. And you should understand me. Your father, brother died in a war they didn't asked for. My mother and father died because of this miserable country mercenaries, they separated me from my sister and brought me here. I may have lived in poverty there but it was my country, my family. And you, the last figment of my family will help me to get my revenge." Amelia told him.
Riley looked in Gabriel eyes for the first time since she arrived and all she saw was remorse and pain. From that and the piece of conversation she heard earlier, Riley saw that Gabriel wasn't going with his wife willingly.
A tear escaped from her eyes.
"I... love...you" he mouthed at her.
Riley's heart felt like burning. She knew she had to do something. The noise of the helicopter pierced the silence of their moment and she realized that with her chip she can stop the system and create a diversion. She overcharged the copper's system and the machine exploded, killing the pilot. It was the distraction Riley needed to make Amelia step away from Gabriel and disarm her. But it wasn't easy to catch the former CIA and her gun fell as well too far away for her to recover it.
"Let's see who is stronger, Riley" Amelia challenged her.
Aiming a punch at her, Riley hit Amelia in the face, causing her a split lip.
"You punch like a girl." she continued her mocking.
Riley's moves were cautious. She had to be careful not to hurt herself or let Amelia hit her lower abdomen.
Catching Amelia by her arm, Riley used her legs to make her fall, but Amelia hit her in the chest leaving her with a short breath. Another hit to the back of her skull followed and Riley felt paralyzed for a moment. The chip was another this she remembered she had to take care of. Drawing her knife from her belt Riley fought back Amelia's attacks and threw her around the room with a well placed kick in the other woman stomach. She fell flat on her face but raised slowly and deliberately.
"You are good Riley, but I am better."
"We will see about that." Riley bit back.
"We won't. Because I have this." She had a gun in her hand. It must have been one of the weapon's she had before the blast.
"Amelia, don't!" Gabriel's voice warned her.
"Say good-bye to your little friend, Gabriel!"
Riley closed her eyes in surrender just as a gunshot resonated through the room. But she wasn't shot. She knew the burning pain of a bullet penetrating her skin but not this time.
Opening her eyes, she saw Amelia falling in a heap on the floor, a gun wound in the middle of her forehead.
Looking behind her, she saw Gabriel, who somehow managed to take off his cuffs, an his knees, holding a smoking gun.
The sound of a helicopter and sirens were hearing somewhere in the distance. Someone was coming for them.
Riley moved slowly and knelt in front of Gabriel, her hand grazing his dimpled cheek. They will have a beautiful baby, she thought.
"Riley, are you OK? You are white as a sheet." Gabriel looked at her and took her face between his large palms."
Riley could only nod and threw her arms around him. She didn't care if he may reject her, she only wanted to feel him just for a second.
"Let's rise, sweetheart. It's all over now." he encouraged her.
She nodded again.
A helicopter landed a few feet next to the torched one and a frantic Lillian accompanied by Chris Jameson and a few soldiers approached the two agents.
"All you all right. We saw what happened through..." Lillian stopped and took in the scene around her: Amelia's body, Riley staying close to Gabriel, the gun in his hand. She realized who had ended Amelia and her heart fell for Gabriel. Amelia wasn't the woman they thought she was but she was his wife and he made a vow in front of God with her. The CyberCom Director hoped that Riley and the baby she was expecting will be enough for Gabriel to get over this tragedy and move on once and for all.
"Lillian..." Riley started " I am bleeding."
At her words a frantic Gabriel started to examine her for injuries but he came empty.
"Riley... there is no blood." he told her trying to reassure her.
"I am bleeding internally... the baby..." were the only words she was able to say before she collapsed. Gabriel caught her in his arms before she hit the ground.
Lillian sprang immediately in action and started barking orders:
"Gabriel take Riley to the helicopter and go with her to the Memorial Hospital. I am coming with you. I will arrange for a medical team to attend her. Doc, Nelson, the order through her com, you be there when we arrive. Chris clean up this mess. Now!"
Gabriel saw that Lillian was serious and took Riley to the helicopter, Lillian hot on his heels.
Seated in the helicopter with a passed out Riley in his arms, he tried to turn on his chip to see what was going on, only to discover that his tracker has been already activated. He remembered his render/ dream with Riley and an idea ingrained in his head: searching the place behind her left ear he sensed the scar. It was just like the one he had years ago. After the surgery. After the chip.
"Lillian... why does Riley have a scar behind her ear?"
His boss threw him a questioning look.
"You chipped her." he accused her.
"It was voluntarily." she defended herself. "The Doctor was working on the chip and with you missing Riley volunteered to get tested. She was a match."
"Then why is her body rejecting the chip?" he asked.
"It's not. The surgery was a success. How do you think we managed to track you?"
"Gabriel" Lillian started "It's not my place to say but, the bleeding Riley mentioned is not from the chip." Lillian drew a deep, shaky breath, her eyes filling with tears.
Gabriel never saw her like that before.
Holding Riley closer to him, Gabriel looked at his boss with a questioning look.
"What is wrong with her?" he asked angrily.
"Riley is pregnant and the bleeding may be because she is miscarrying." Lillian answered.
The arrival to the hospital interrupted their conversation. The next minutes were a blur for Gabriel as he had to leave Riley on a gurney and to see her being taken away by the doctors.
He tried to go with them but he wasn't allowed. Doctor Cassidy entered with the team. They were doctor's who worked many times with CyberCom and they knew they had to keep the activity a secret.
Gabriel was in shock. Riley was pregnant, carrying his baby and he had no idea what was going on behind those closed operating doors.
Seated on one of those uncomfortable plastic chairs, Gabriel ran his hands through his hair in frustration. He tried to chip the computers from the operating room but it was as if a wall was built around it. Gabriel started looking online for all the scenarios and the chances for the baby's survival. He wondered how advanced was the pregnancy and if Riley knew before he left.
A hand on his shoulder stopped his search and he saw Nelson on the chair next to him.
"Hi bro!" the scientist greeted him.
"How are you feeling?"
"Drained, confused, hurt, hopeful."
"I heard on the coms that Riley is pregnant. Do you know who is the father, you know, so we can announce him?"
Gabriel shock his head, realizing that gossiping Nelson was behind with the news.
"It's not necessary. The baby's father is already here."
"He is? Where? I always wondered if Riley had a boyfriend. You know... I always hoped you and her... you know..."
"He is next to you, Nelson. The baby is mine."
Nelson was in shock. He was opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of the water.
Lillian arrived as well accompanied by Special Agent Chris Jameson.
Looking at Nelson, Chris raised a questioning brow.
"Chris...he... and... she...baby... pregnant... together... And I had no idea! Nada!Zilch! Meee!"he finally exploded.
A chorus of "Shhh" put a stop to his rambling but that didn't stop him from waving his arms around like a man possessed.
A door opened and a woman in her thirties dressed in scrubs came in the waiting room accompanied by Doctor Cassidy.
Gabriel got up from his chair ready for any news they may have. He only hoped that Riley and his baby were OK.
"How are they Doc?" he asked.
"This type of bleeding is very common in the first weeks of pregnancy and considering the changes Riley gone through lately. It was only a blood vessel that broke and we were able to sear it. There is a heartbeat but I will put her on bed rest for the next seven weeks, until she ends the first semester. After that, only desk work and nothing else." the Doctor informed them.
"She will definitely love that."
"She already knows. We only performed local anesthesia because of her other...complication so she was awake all the time." Doctor Cassidy clarified.
"Can I see her?" Gabriel asked.
"In a couple of minutes. We are transferring her to a private room." The doctor left them and returned to the operating room.
"Lillian..." Gabriel started, "Amelia told me she planted explosives in Riley's apartment. Can you sent a team there, please? Also, would be better if they take all of the things out of her apartment and moved them into mine. It's safer."
"Gabriel...we checked both the apartments. Both of them were packed with Red X. She must have kept the explosive. We moved all your things in a safe house and you will stay there until we find a place for you two and the little one."
"Thank you Lillian. It's strange, you know. To know Riley has a chip like mine."
"It's not similar."Lillian smiled."It's more advanced, can activate your own chip and she can protect your chip or any other devices just like an anti virus. So, if you are a superweapon, she is a superprotector." Lillian made fun of him.
"Great! Just like any other woman!" Gabriel groaned.
"Speaking of that, we will have to talk about Amelia."
"Riley sent us video feed of the encounter she had with her and we know the reasons. You were reckless as always and you are lucky you are almost unique. But I still have to explain the President."
"I am sorry Lillian."
"I know. We will talk about that later. Now go and see Riley."
"Yeah. Thank you Lillian."
"I didn't do anything. It was all Riley."
With a nod, Gabriel departed and went towards Riley's hospital door.
He knocked on her door and waited for her permission to enter.
Riley was laying on the hospital bed, dressed in a standard gown and an IV in her arm. Gabriel saw that the color returned to her cheeks and she was the old self.
She walked slowly towards her and took her free hand in his as he seated on the bed next to her.
"Riley... I am so sorry to getting you into this." he started.
"Shh... let me say it. I know I was totally reckless to leave just like that but I only wanted to protect you. When I first saw the message from Amelia I thought it was a joke and I went there ready to kick someone's ass. Instead I found my death wife who threatened to kill you if I wasn't following her and her crazy plan. I only wanted for you to be safe. You are everything to me, Riley."
"No..." he put a finger to her lips. "I know I am not probably what you are looking in a man but I love you Riley. I know I only said it to you this morning while under duress, but it's true. I loved you for over two years and the past ten months have been the best months of my life because I got to wake up next to you every morning. But I was an idiot for not telling you and I should have tried harder to take care of you."
Riley stopped his rambling by placing her lips over his in a sweet kiss. Gabriel tried to deepen it, but Riley stopped him and she placed her forehead over his.
"I love you too, you know. As for the protecting thing, that is my job, you know." she grinned at him.
"Yeah, you have a chip in your brain now. Riley, I never wanted that sacrifice for me, I'm not..."
"You are worth it!" she interrupted his rambling. "And you will do a lot of protecting in the future for this little one." she placed his palm over her flat belly.
"I still can believe it. I thought we we're being safe."
"Me too. Until I remembered that I felt sick after we went to that sushi place and the pill must have not been effective."
"Hmhm... I remember as well. I think I offered you a bit of sexual healing that day."
"If you say so. Now kiss me woman."
"Gabriel Vaughn! If you think that having a baby will allow you to boss me around you are wrong. Speaking of which... we have to talk to Lillian about a new apartment for me."Riley remembered.
"Don't worry! I talked to her and we will be moving together."
"In your apartment? I am not staying in that place with you and a kid just so you know!"
"Don't worry honey. We will be moving in a house."
"Really? A house? You know... your mother was saying something about a house being on sale in her neighborhood."
"Riley, I am not moving next to my mom!" Gabriel whined.
"Why not? She is nice and I am sure she will want to be closer to her grand-baby."
"We will see! We have a lot of things to clear a lot of things to build, Riley."
"That's true. But we will, together. Just as we did everything so far."
"True. We will. Specially now that you have to be on bed rest for the next seven weeks." Gabriel added smuggly.
"Har-har...I have a chip in my head as well, you know. I am sure I won't be bored at all. Specially that I know how to access your chip, now." Riley bit back.
"That you do. And I will be with you every step on the way Riley: with your chip and our little one. I promise!"