Title: No Answers

Authors: WhoKnowsWhy and Purplegoose

Rating: K for language

Featured Characters: Ana Lucia, Sayid, NotHenry

Status of Fic: complete

Summary: Attempts to get answers from NotHenry lead Ana and Sayid to some answers of their own.

Authors' Notes/Disclaimer: We do not own the characters in this story, nor any rights to the television show "Lost". They were created by JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof and they belong to them, Touchstone, and ABC. Takes place during Dave through SOS

The small woman stepped out into the sun, squinting in the brightness after the dark of the hatch corridor. She pulled the door shut behind her and turned to scan the area. She walked slowly, stopping after a few feet.

"Sayid!" she hissed.

"Over here," he called from her left.

Ana spotted him several yards away, leaning against a tree, arms crossed in front of him. A casual observer would have thought him relaxed, but she knew better. She could see the tension in his jaw, and his eyes followed her warily as she moved closer.

"What was that with the gun?" she demanded, the anger rising up her throat. Her hands moved to her hips as she stopped in front of him. "When did I agree to you shooting a gun in there? You coulda killed him!"

Sayid looked at her coolly. "I had no intention of killing him. But he needs to believe I that I will."

She frowned, and shook her head. "Keep that kinda crap up and this - " She cut herself off, turning away. He would see the emptiness of that threat. "Well, he believes it. So do Jack and Locke. You might have some trouble getting near Henry again."

"He is not Henry Gale."

"I KNOW that," she snapped. "What do you want me to call him? Rosalita?"

"The prisoner," Sayid drew the word out. "Needed to know that it was not an empty threat. If he does not provide us the information we desire, what purpose does he serve?"

"So...what then?" Ana met his eyes. "You gonna execute him? You think Jack's gonna allow that?" She gave a dismissive snort.

"Those are details for a later time," Sayid looked over her head, then back to her. "What happened after I left?"

"Locke talked to him. He was pretty shaky when he came out. The prisoner," she rolled the phrase for effect. "is really messin' with him. Dumb $hit."

"The prisoner," again the brown eyes swept intently about the area. "is surprisingly effective at reading people. Remember that."

"Do you want a salute with that yes, boss?"

"You of all people do not take this seriously?" Sayid snarled. "He is one of them. He knows things. Perhaps he allowed himself to be trapped." Sayid's eyes narrowed, considering the possibility, his voice growing softer. "Perhaps he was sent as a spy."

"Like Goodwin," her mind shot to the image of the impaled Other who had blended so well after the crash. She shook her head when Sayid's eyes questioned. "Okay, but no more dramatics, got it? Or at least let me know ahead of time."

He nodded once, his arms dropping to his side. They stood, neither looking at the other, the silence stretching awkwardly.

"It's getting late," she ventured. "Think I'll stay here for the night."

"Why would you need to stay?"

"Keep an eye on Locke. I don't trust him."

"Neither does Jack." Sayid pushed away from the tree. "He will stop Locke from doing anything foolhardy."

"Fine." She jammed her hands in her back pockets. "So tomorrow I have a go at him. See how we did."

Sayid picked up his pack. "How do you plan to approach him?"

"Well, I ain't gonna buddy up to the guy. I suppose I'll apologize for you," she said pointedly. "And take it from there."

"We need to know their number," Sayid said emphatically, taking the path to the beach. "We must know what we are up against."

Ana pursed her lips, jerked her head in agreement, and fell into step with him. "I want to know where the kids are."

She felt his side glance but added no more. It was time to get away from this man. He didn't need to know her motivation – that could lead to dangerous places.

There was a chink in the wall between them since her apologyshe realized. She didn't regret doing it - she had needed to acknowledge her part in the pain that he trying to hide. It was just that she hadn't counted on him peering back at her, seeing things that others didn't need to see.

She felt the muscle in her jaw jump and picked up her pace.

Here was one of the problems with being short,Ana fumed: her fast stride was most other people's stroll. He did not seem to be expending any more effort but stayed easily at her side.

It was frustrating. Why did he want to walk with her anyway? She should be the last person he would want to be seen with, let alone work with. Yet here they were, working together.

And working well. She frowned. She had gone through a number ofpartners on the force. She had known that her bluntness and outspokenness put a lot of the older cops off. When she had finally hooked up with Big Mike, she was excited by how well they worked together. How without much talking, they were able to handle everything the streets threw at them. For a time, at least.

But this guy, despite the ambivalence - at best - he felt towards her, their efforts were astonishingly smooth. They hadn't discussed strategy much at all, and yet, he trusted her to stop the shooting or whatever wild plan he would try

She found herself grateful for that trust. Maybe even honored, in some strange way. How could he trust her after...she pushed the thought away. Somehow he understood. He didn't say that, exactly, but she knew he got it. He knew what it was like to have people who depended on you to protect them. He knew what it was like to make a mistake.

What mistake had he made togive him that understanding? She would like to ask him. No, that wouldn't be a good idea, since the chink wasn't that big. Who knew what it would open up? Not that he would ask personal questions. She spent two days with him and he spoke only when necessary, never in a personal mode.

Did he know that his reaction, his acceptance of her apology, had eased her self-loathing in a way she couldn't explain?

She wondered how he was, before the shooting. It wasn't a question she could put to anyone. Not even Jack. Had the Iraqi been this quiet, this self-contained? Had he ever smiled?

Stop it, she chastised herself. She focused on her feet, head down, looking groundward to avoid the tangled roots that littered the path. She shouldn't be thinking about him at all.

The sound of the surf made her raise her gaze. They had reached the beach. Sayid moved toward his shelter without a word.

Ana stared after him. What had she expected? He might understand her actions, accept her apology, but that didn't make them buddies. He would work with her, but that was all she should expect. Still, she watched as he ducked into the tent before turning to walk silently to her own.

--

Ana personally knew that Sayid was on the beach before anyone else at in the morning, so she made a point of not hitting the beach when she realized that it was dawn. She admitted to herself that she wasn't too anxious to see the man just yet. Something about the walk last night had unnerved her. She hadn't slept well.

Not that that was new. She didn't know the last time that she had slept soundly.

That wasn't true. She did know when. She just chose not to think about that time.

Instead, she concentrated on listening to the camp awaken. She watched the morning shadows creep under her tarp and listened to the indistinct voices that brought to mind civilization, even without the electrical and transportation noise.

When she was sure that Sayid would be at whatever task it was that occupied him lately, she crawled into the sunlight and stretched. Why sand felt comfortable on the beach when sunning and not at long term was a line of thought for another time as she tried to smooth the knot between her shoulders. She abandoned the effort and after grabbing a mango from the communal pile, headed for the hatch, trying to surreptitiously spot Sayid.

Stop it, she chided herself. No thinking, no feeling, no reflecting. Right, Keep moving, think about "The Prisoner", what to say, how to be. Get the info and take it back to Sayid. Show him that she wasn't a complete f up as a cop. Show him that she could contribute more than hard feelings among the survivors.

Ana swung open the door to the hatch and walked purposefully down the narrow hallway. She heard voices and hung back, listening.

"If you go, I'm going with you. You aren't going out there alone."

Kate. Ana rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation. Little-Miss-Tag-Along playing her usual trump card.

"Kate," Jack said and Ana smiled at the note of annoyance in his voice. "After your last adventure, I'd think that you'd listen - "

"They didn't want me. They used me to get the guns."

"Have you wondered how they would have used you if they hadn't wanted the guns?"

That shut her up. Yet, why was Ana not liking the means that Jack was taking to accomplish it?

She stepped into the glow of the main room. "Morning," she said to no one in particular.

Jack glanced up from the counter where he was shoving stuff into his pack, Locke watching dourly from the sink, Kate close to Jack's elbow. "Ana," said the doctor curtly.

"I want to see Hen the prisoner," Ana aimed for casual; this was routine; there would be no objections.

"Why?"

"Isn't that obvious? Don't you want to know what he knows?" She heaved a sigh. "I just want a few minutes with him." She gestured to the back pack. "Where're you going anyway?"

It didn't work. "Haven't we tried that already?" The beleaguered expression on Jack's face was supported by the annoyed resignation in his voice.

"Yes!" boomed Locke's voice as he dropped a bowl on the drying rack, and reached for the crutches leaning against the counter. "So he isn't Henry Gale." He moved awkwardly around the table top, towards them. "That doesn't mean we shoot at him!"

Ana mentally sighed. If she had followed her instincts and spent the night here, the Prisoner would be her responsibility. Once she walked out of the hatch yesterday, Jack resumed 'possession'. Dammit, the walk with Sayid had cost her.

Or had it? She narrowed her eyes and studied Jack as Kate returned to stand at the doctor's shoulder. "So where are you two going again?" Ana watched the tall woman. No love lost here, Kate's mistrust was obvious. There was Ana's foothold.

"We're going to propose a trade," the doctor said, his jaw set in determination. "Our prisoner in there," he hooked his thumb toward the armory, "For Walt."

"Wait a minute Jack," Locke said, hobbling closer, "We don't know what they might do to Henry."

"He's not Henry, and I don't care, John. He's not my responsibility. Walt is."

"What about the other kids?" Ana snapped. "Henry for Walt? Not for the kids?" She snorted. "Why am I arguing? It won't work. You can't just go marching off into the jungle thinking you can negotiate with these people. They aren't like us."

"How do you know so much about 'them'?" Kate asked, glancing sideways for the doctor's reaction, her voice tightly controlled.

""Well, I didn't have a hood over my head when I was dealing with them." Ana crossed her arms over her chest, thrust out her chin. It was working. Attention diverted.

Kate dropped her glance, her mouth pulled into a moue.

"They traded Kate, Ana," said Jack quietly. "So this has to be worth a try."

"Are you taking him with you now?"

"No," Jack shook his head. "We'll make the deal, then come back for him."

"So I could talk to him while you're gone," Ana said flatly.

Jack regarded her carefully, sliding a look at Locke. "I guess you could. All right by you, John?"

She bit her tongue as fury flushed her cheeks. Dammit, dammit, dammit! Instincts, Ana, from here on out follow your instincts!

Ana relaxed her face with effort. She turned slowly to face Locke. "How about it, John? Care if I have a conversation with Henry?" She hated the feeling that she was wheedling.

She met the man's blue stare, and continued to struggle to appear calm, unconcerned.

"Mind if I sit in?" he asked.

Mind, Ana thought, yeah I sure as hell mind. She sucked in her left cheek. "I'd rather work alone, John. No offense."

"You worked with Sayid," John did not blink, his eyes boring into hers.

"It's a small space in there, John," Jack said. "Hard to maneuver with those crutches."

"I'm sure I can manage."

"Let her see what she can do," the doctor said with finality. "Last time she talked with him, we got the map. What have your little talks accomplished?"

Ana felt her shoulders relax as the piercing eyes shifted to Jack. She watched Locke's grip on the crutches tighten, his knuckles losing color. Yeah, duke it out, boys, she thought, and stepped away from the intense trio.

"Think you can do any better, Jack?" Locke's voice was clipped but low. He was controlling but just.

"No, but I think Ana can."

Ana resisted an eye roll. If she really thought that Jack believed that, she would argue against the hike in the woods with Katie, but since it smacked more like another twist of Locke's short hairs, she remained quiet.

"Fine," Locke's responded tersely. He moved with some difficulty to the armory door. Leaning on one crutch, he swiftly dialed the combination. "Be my guest," he said stepping aside.

Ana smiled inwardly, nodded to Jack, and followed Locke, swallowing the urge to kick a crutch.

"Henry," said Locke from the doorway. "Ana would like to talk to you."

Wondering why Locke kept using the disturbing man's alias, she brushed past him and entered the small room.

The lizard like eyes of the prisoner fastened onto Ana as he sat up on the cot, his right index finger slipping to hold his place in a paperback book. She resisted a shiver and pointedly turned to Locke. "Thank you, John." She kept him pinned with her gaze until he slowly closed the door.

She pivoted on her heel to face the seated man. "I'm not like Locke." She waited.

On the force she was never involved in a formal interrogation. Street grunts like her didn't rank. But she watched, closely, and thanks to her mother's position, often. It helped at this moment to have Jack's words echoing in ears: she was the one that got the map. Of course, that upped the pressure to succeed.

"In what way?" The bland face finally spoke.

First skirmish won, she thought with a grim mental smile. Ana wondered if she had to describe his voice, what quality she could use to get across how even it raised hairs on her arms. "I'm not gonna call you Henry."

Lizard eyes didn't respond. Damn creepy, those eyes, thought the woman. They reminded her of a guy she and Big Mike had arrested back in L.A. - a child molester. The worst kind of criminal in her estimation. She shook off the memory and set her mind to the task at hand.

"So what should I call you?" Ana asked, softening her tone slightly.

"My name doesn't matter," the prisoner stated bitterly, then burst "You might as well call me a dead man, that's what I am. Either your "friend" will kill me, or HE will."

"He who?"

He sighed heavily, shaking his head slowly. "You aren't listening." He closed the book and placed it on the cot, watching the movement of his own hands closely. He glanced back at her.

What color were those eyes?

"Shoot me and get it over with. Isn't that what you really want to do? Kill me? He does. Your friend."

"He's not my friend." The words were out before she could stop them. She pressed her lips tightly together and leaned against the wall. The concrete was cold on her shoulders, bringing back her focus. "How about I call you Sam? Huh? For now. Okay, Sam?" She gave him a moment then proceeded. "How long have you really been here?"

"Time," he sighed and folded his hands in his lap. "What does time really matter in a place like this, Ana? It is Ana, right?"

"Rosalita. Listen, Sam, philosophy might work with Locke but it won't work with me." She peered at him.

He met her gaze. "How long have you been here, Ana?"

"Sixty-two days."

"So, you're still counting. That means you still have hope." He shook his head slowly. "I wish I did." He studied the floor.

She allowed the silence to stretch.

"But your friend,- your NOT friend - he's given up hope, like me. How do you do it?" He turned his eyes on her once more.

"So you've been here a while, Sam. Has he always been the boss?"

"You don't want to know about Him," the balding man spat.

"How many employees is he boss of?"

"I can't tell you anything!" He raised his voice and a muscle near his eye twitched. "You wouldn't understand if I did."

"Twenty?" she looked down at the floor, shifting her weight to her left hip, then met his eyes again. "Thirty? Not tough concepts."

The prisoner smiled. His smile had many flavors. This one was unbelievably sinister. Ana thought. She felt the hairs rise on her arm.

"What happened to him? To your friend? Sayid? Is that his name? He lost someone. Did someone die? How? What happened to her?"

Ana bit the inside of her cheek, struggling to keep her face neutral. All the watching in the world couldn't prepare her for this.

"I think it messed him up. He's not stable. He loses control fast. A man in that shape is dangerous." The smile changed to a grimace. "What about you, Ana? Who did you lose so you'll come in here with that mad face on? Your husband? Did he go for milk and not come home?"

"Where's this 'boss', Sam?" she put weight on the noun. "Does he really exist or do you just want to stay here where it's dry and there's food?" She wanted to drive a stake in those bug eyes as they moved over her body. A smile, this one frightening in its coldness, spread across his face Ana didn't mean to flinch, didn't mean to give him the satisfaction. "It's just too much fun poking at people, picking until you hit a sore spot, isn't it?"

"You're scared. You're as scared as I am and you're lying to yourself right now about that," he pressed.

"I'll go get Sayid. Then we'll see who's scared." She felt her cheeks flush as anger swept to the top of her head as she stepped towards him, hands curled in tight fists.

Even teeth bit the bottom lip, his gelid eyes boring into her. "I didn't ask to come here. He - Sayid was going to hit me no matter what I said. I want to protect you people!" he shouted.

"From what?"

"You aren't listening," he sputtered angrily. "From Him. He's dangerous to you people."

"Then tell us how to protect ourselves."

He fell silent, a sullen look tightening his face.

She was tired of waiting him out. She was tired of this game. "Jack just left for the jungle. He's going to make a trade. You for Walt. You know Walt?"

"I should believe you why, liar Ana? Maybe you hurt your daughter. Maybe you hit your son so bad he had to be hospitalized."

She took a step closer, wishing with all her soul for a gun.

He reached down for his book. "Walt!" he laughed a cynical laugh. "They'll never give you Walt." He leafed through the pages, his attention on the printed page. "You people are stupid. I'm done talking to you. Send Sayid back...let him shoot me. It's better than what I'd go back to."

Ana flushed. She'd been dismissed. She scratched her neck, and grimaced. Rank amateur. Her good cop sucked.

Like it mattered, she mentally muttered. Despite her words to Locke, she hadn't managed to get anything out of 'Sam'. Her chain of failures continued.

"John," she shouted, hitting the door with her palm.

Ana jogged the path to the beach. She hadn't spoken to Locke when he opened the door, not even when he yelled after her. She picked up the pace through the jungle, breathing hard now. Running was not her exercise of choice, but absent a set of gloves and a bag, it was the next best thing. Anything to put the prisoner and his uncooperative trickery out of her mind.

She burst out of the trees and leaned over, hands on her knees. Her chest heaved with each breath. She stood and swiped the hair out of her eyes with one hand, scanning the beach for any sign of Sayid.

There he was. With Charlie. Not too far from where Eko was working. Up the beach by the graves. She couldn't tell what any of them was constructing so it couldn't be important enough not to interrupt.

Ana watched until her breath was even and tramped to them.

"Hey." She stopped, waiting for the odd couple –light and dark - to cease working.

Sayid glanced at her and continued binding what looked like a small floor width of bamboo. Flooring? A table top?

"Ana," said Charlie, holding the vine as Sayid ducked beneath the wide platform.

"Jack's making plans," she announced when Sayid emerged. "He's planning on trading the prisoner."

The dark eyes flashed angrily as he straightened.

"Trading for what?" the Iraqi demanded.

"For whom," Ana said. "For Walt."

"No," Sayid said. "Jack cannot do that."He patted his waist for his knife and strode off rapidly in the direction of the path to the hatch.

"Charlie!" called MrEko as the musician started after Sayid. "Could you lend me a hand?"

"Sayid, wait," Ana struggled to catch the man, touching his elbow just before he entered the jungle. "What are you going to do?"

The dark man whirled on his heel and stared at her. "Stop him," he stated flatly.

"Who's the him? Jack? He's not there. He took off with Kate."

"With the prisoner?"

Ana shook her head. "No."

"Then he can trade a body."

She grabbed his arm as he turned to go. "Sayid," she hissed. "What're you saying?"

"Is it not clear?" He shook free of her grasp. "I am going to ask him some questions yet again. And when he does not answer, I will kill him."

"No," Ana shook her head, trying to keep the flooding emotions out of her voice. He wanted revenge. She understood but she couldn't let him make her mistake. "You won't feel any better," she spit the words out before she could change her mind.

"How would you know?" Sayid spoke so softly she almost didn't hear.

She studied his face and realized that he wasn't seeing her. There was a blonde body in his arms.

"Because," her voice sounded odd to her ears, suddenly rusty, small. "Because - I know because I don't. Still. Yet." She trailed off.

His focus changed and she felt pierced with the heat of his eyes as they scoured her face. She flushed and blinked, stepping back involuntarily.

"There will be retribution." he whispered harshly, moving to close the space between them.

"Then what? It's all better? The pain goes away? The hollowness gets filled? That gut wrenching ...need to go back, do it right goes away?" He wasn't in front of her anymore. It was McCormick.

No, no, it wasn't McCormick. She shook off self pity. This was her doing, the lines etched about his eyes. "You aren't any less dead inside."

Confession was good for the soul they said. Well what the hell, nothing else had worked. This broad expanse of beach was no confessional. This haggard man in front of her no priest, but she already felt the absolution.

Ana spoke quickly now, her words tripping over each other in the rush to leave her, finally to leave her. "You asked me what happened to him," she murmured.

"To whom?" Sayid was focused on her again, his eyes registering confusion.

"The man who shot me."

"They never found him you said. He got away."

"I lied." Ana sank to the sandy ground, pulling her knees into her chest. Sayid squatted in front of her, his gaze impenetrable.

"They caught him," Ana said, staring past to the harsh blue waves. "All I had to do was identify him. They had his prints. He had a rap sheet as long as your arm. It was him. Jason McCormick."

"So, justice was done," His voice was calm, nothing like the waves of turmoil that were once again swamping her.

She shook her head, closing her eyes. "I wouldn't I.D. him. They let him go." She opened them to watch his hands, oddly noting the long fingers as her mother's furious words repeated in her head.

Sayid said nothing. He sat, still facing her, waiting.

She let her attention move to his wrists, his arms. They were strong arms, like Danny's. Like Danny's before the shooting. Arms that held her close, luring her into feeling safe.

She swallowed. "Then I took care of it. Of him. And I walked away." Ana clenched her fingers into her palms, now watching her own fingers whiten.

"What are you not telling me?" he asked quietly, his face neutral.

Why was he being so patient? She didn't deserve it. "Don't you get it?" An edge of anger crept into her voice. She didn't want his pity.

She hardened her voice. "I hunted him down. Followed him for weeks. And one night I called his name in the parking lot of this bar and when he turned around..."

Her arms were empty. They would stay that way. So she pushed Danny away. Danny, one of seven, couldn't be the father of none. Empty arms. Empty house. Get on a plane and fly away.

Her voice caught. She clenched her jaw and pushed the words. They were gravel in her throat. "Then I shot him," Her hands were shaking now. "I kept shooting until he went down. Then I shot some more and I left."

"What did he take from you?"

Ana blinked and regarded him.

There was no sympathy oozing there. No phony compassion, no fake commiseration. He didn't know her. He should hate her. But he was quiet, waiting.

His eyes held hers. They were calm now. He was waiting.

She swallowed. To say it made it real again. Outlined the memory one more time. Brought it here. After all that flying.

She reached and gingerly touched a hand. He wrapped his fingers - they were warm, scratchy, strong - around hers.

She licked her lips and lifted her face to his, "I was pregnant."

The beach had grown dusky around them. The sun hung low over the water, a black expanse of nothingness. The cries of hungry seagulls faded, replaced by the night sounds from the jungle. For the thousandth time since the crash she wondered why God had allowed her to live.

She pulled her hand back and wiped at her face. She would not cry. Not in front of him. Ana looked across her shoulder and waited until her throat opened. "So the jury of one thing sucks."

His eyes hardened. "This is not the same."

"Yeah, I know McCormick shot me. We know nothing about this guy. We can't get his damn name out of him!" She dropped her knees and sat up on her heels, collecting what peace that she could. She owed him this. She had to make him see. "Sayid, I'm the one that pulled the trigger. I'm the one that shot Shannon." She pushed herself close to his face, dropping her hands to the ground for support. She could feel his ragged breath as he held himself in check.

"Shooting - executing this guy, it's not gonna take it away. It's not gonna make you whole. You're broke and you're gonna stay that way and I'm the one that broke you."

She made to stand. She wanted out of there. Away from him. He had been wrong. Neither of them was dead inside. You didn't feel pain if you were dead, and there wasn't enough heroin in all of Charlie's statues to deaden this ache.

She rose shakily to her feet and turned to go.

"Ana," his voice was a croak.

She dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around him. His tears were hot against her shoulder. She found herself patting him, rubbing his neck with her hand, soothing him as if he were a child.

Men didn't cry in her culture. Danny hadn't. His eyes had been full of sorrow, but there were no tears, and so, not to be outdone, she had held hers in as well. The grief that they could not share made sharing anything else impossible.

If not Danny, then who? No one. Damn the shrink. She didn't want his professional soothing. She had caused the death, the damage, wrecked the future. She needed Danny to forgive but without tears, how could that happen? How could she ease pain that wasn't shared? How could he forgive what was not mentioned?

This man holding her, she caused his pain, destroyed his life. For this virtual stranger she found the words, words of regret. His tears on her skin caused her heart to clench and she pulled him closer, tighter, stroking his back, his hair.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, over and over, the gentleness in her voice surprising her. "I am so, so sorry."

She was sorry, truly sorry for his pain, for Danny's, for her own. Sorry for the baby she would never know, for the pain and shame she caused her mother, for the dead girl, Shannon, for all of them stuck on this godforsaken island.

Ana felt his arms slide about her shoulders and relaxed into his chest. It was warm, solid, safe. Tears pushed slowly from her eyes, then exploded into sobs with the touch of his hand on her head.

Sayid was now the one murmuring. Shushing her, stroking her back until the sobs trailed off. Ana kept her face down and inched away from him. Now that the burst of unfamiliar emotion was over, she was embarrassed and more than a little uncomfortable.

She couldn't look at him. She jumped to her feet, muscles bunched to run when his hand shot out and tightened around her forearm.

"Ana Lucia," His voice was husky. He rose from his knees.

She turned, still slowly lifting her chin to face him as his hand dropped away.

Sayid gazed beyond her, his eyes moving side to side, then fixed on her. The pain that she saw there caused her throat to close.

"You are right," Sayid shook his head slowly. "There would be no solace in killing this man." He sighed heavily.

"No," she replied, drawing the word out. "but another round of questions, if we work together straight out, maybe he'll slip."

He considered and slowly nodded his dark head. "Will the prisoner be there in the morning?"

"Odds are. They got a late start. And if they do get back tonight, I doubt if anything will happen right away."

"So we go to the hatch at first light."

"Yeah," Ana took a step back and shoved her hands in her pockets. "G'night then."

"Good night, Ana Lucia." His voice sounded weary.

She felt his eyes on her back as she headed back to the beach community.