A/N: Words cannot convey just how much I suck. I'm very sorry that it's taken me this long to update. I did what I always do. I started the story knowing the basic plot but not having anything mapped out and so I kind of got lost with what I wanted to do. But I think I've got it now.
Jack carefully examined everything in the file Molly had dropped off. Danny sat in the chair across from his boss, absentmindedly drumming his fingertips on the older man's desk, his foot bouncing up and down with nervous energy. They all had their theories, regarding the unusual circumstances of the supposed suicides of their last four cases, but Danny had never imagined that it could be something like this. Molly seemed almost certain that not only were these four – five, now, with the CIA agent – people connected, but also that they were connected to some sort of terrorist group. It just seemed so…comic book. Television show. Jack Ryan novel. Steven Seagal movie.
"You're sure this source is reliable?" Jack asked suddenly, pulling Danny out of his reverie.
Danny narrowed his eyes. Jack may have slightly warmed up to Molly, but he was far from trusting her, and Danny knew this. That was one reason he tried so very hard to keep his professional life and his personal life as separate as possible. "I'm sure."
"If this theory of yours is true," Jack said, emphasizing the word "yours" for some odd reason, "then we'll have to work with the CIA on this. Maybe DHS. It'll be a jurisdictional nightmare."
"Small price to pay for potentially foiling an international terrorist ring, wouldn't you say?" Danny asked. He slowly cracked his knuckles, something he never used to do before. It helped him release tension. Molly hated it. She claimed it was disgusting.
Jack sighed. "I didn't mean it like that." He rested his elbows on the desk and rubbed his temples. He looked exhausted. "I'm just saying that things could get messy."
Danny simply raised an eyebrow.
"You've never worked with Molly, Danny," Jack said, reaching for his coffee, which had to be cold by now. It wasn't a question; it was a statement of fact.
Danny raised his other eyebrow. Was that concern he detected in his boss's voice? Danny cleared his throat. "No."
While Molly had quasi-helped with the investigation a year ago, they hadn't exactly worked it together. One of the nice things about Molly being CIA was that their paths never crossed. In fact, Molly so rarely worked in the field that sometimes he could pretend she had a regular job. He hated the thought of Molly in harm's way – even though he put his life on the line on a daily basis.
Jack scrubbed a hand over his face. "Working with…someone you're dating… It can be complicated."
Having never worked with Molly at not knowing what she was like while on the job, Danny could see where Jack was coming from with that statement. However, the odds of Molly being assigned to the case were slim to nil, unless they had need to call on her services as a cryptographer, so Danny wasn't worried in the slightest.
Danny abruptly wondered if Jack was referring to Sam.
"Marty and Sam don't seem to have a problem with it," Danny said, narrowing his eyes. He was attempting to gauge Jack's reaction, but unfortunately, he wasn't as adept at interpreting people as Molly was.
The muscles in Jack's jaw twitched as he held his hands up in surrender. "I'll talk to my supervisor."
Danny nodded, satisfied, and left Jack's office. He dug his cell phone out of his coat pocket and was in the process of calling Molly when Martin walked over to him. Danny shoved his phone back in his pocket and nodded to acknowledge his friend. "Hey, Marty."
Martin jerked his head in the general direction of Jack's office. "What did he say?"
"Oh, that this whole case was about to turn into a jurisdictional nightmare." Danny chose not to mention what he had said about dating people you worked with. Jack and Sam's relationship was still a sore spot with Martin, even after so long. Danny couldn't really blame him. The only reason he hadn't morphed into the jealous boyfriend was because he didn't know any of Molly's ex-boyfriends. He got the impression that there hadn't been many – at least in the past few years.
Martin sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, his eyes trained on Sam, who was still hunched over her desk, looking ill. "He's not wrong. If what Molly told you is true… This is going to be huge." He shook his head and laughed almost ruefully. "I don't think any of us are going to be sleeping for at least a week."
Danny chewed on the inside of his cheek. He privately agreed. They were probably all going to be catching what little sleep they could on the couches in the waiting area, forced to keep going on the sludge in the break room they called coffee. He most likely wouldn't see Molly for a while, unless by some slim chance she ended up being assigned to the case.
"Nothing we can't handle, right?" Danny asked, playfully punching Martin in the shoulder.
Martin laughed and nodded. "You and me, no problem," he said. "But it's not us I'm worried about."
Danny glanced at Sam, who was now attempting to get some work done. She was surrounded by stacks of papers and was shuffling haphazardly through them. Every so often, she would underline something. She still looked like she was going to throw up at any moment, though. "She'll be fine. According to Molly, she's super human."
Martin grinned. "Don't I know it." He shrugged and jammed his hands into his pockets. "I'm probably just overreacting. Sam thinks I'm being overprotective, you know, but I just… I just worry about her, is all." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "You are so lucky that you don't work with Molly."
"I guess so," Danny said, furrowing his brow. Maybe Martin and Sam did have problems working together. There were obviously things going on that they didn't make public; but, then again, they were good at that. And Martin had a point. Danny worried about Molly enough as it was without having any clue what she did when she went to work in the morning. If he worked with her, if he knew what she faced every day, he would give himself an ulcer.
Desperate to change the subject, Danny said, "Hey, what did forensics say about all those hairs we found at the agent's apartment?"
Martin pointed down the hallway. "I was on my way to forensics now, actually. I'll let you know what I find out."
When Martin had disappeared around the corner, Danny made his way through the maze of desks until he was leaning over Sam's. "Hey," he said. He smiled at her.
She returned the smile, looking genuinely happy, albeit slightly nauseous. "Hey, yourself," she said. "Oh, would you tell Molly that I am hurt and offended that she didn't bring coffee when she stopped by earlier?"
Danny couldn't help but laugh at that. "I'll pass the message along. I think she had other things on her mind, though."
Sam shook her head. "Still no excuse for not bringing coffee. Or pizza. I am suddenly very much in the mood for pizza." She was still shuffling through stacks of papers, which she did in silence for a few moments before she cleared her throat and spoke again. "So, um… How are things going with you guys?"
Danny shrugged, suddenly paranoid. Did Sam know something that he didn't? "Fine."
Sam met his gaze and licked her lips. "It's just that when Molly was here earlier, she seemed a little – I don't know – tense."
Danny scratched the back of his head. "It's this missing agent. It's got her all worked up." But as he said the words, he wondered if that were true.
Sam pursed her lips. "I don't know. It seemed like something else was bothering her."
Danny bit his lip, hoping that what was bothering Molly had absolutely nothing to do with what he had said about getting married. He'd assumed – when she'd shown up at the office and couldn't find the words to ask him what she wanted to ask him – that she was going to bring up the marriage question. He had no idea why he assumed that, when there were hundreds of other plausible reasons for her to pop by on her lunch break. And thinking that, it caught him off guard. The topic of marriage was something they generally avoided – and had ever since that morning nearly six months ago when she'd asked him if he ever thought about it.
He did think about it. He thought it about a lot more often now that Martin and Sam's wedding – in which he was best man – was fast approaching. He told Molly that they'd agreed that neither of them was ready for marriage, but the truth was that he had been trying to summon up the courage to propose for weeks now. He just couldn't do it. He was a wimp.
He shrugged again. "I didn't notice anything."
Sam gave him a half-hearted smile. "Of course not. You're a man. It's all right. I'll worm it out of her later."
And Danny had no doubts that she would do just that.
Danny surveyed the agents that the CIA had sent over to assist with the investigation. One of them Danny recognized as Molly's supervisor, David Markum. The others were introduced so quickly that Danny really didn't catch their names. Both Jack and Markum led the meeting, though mostly Markum spoke, explaining what Special Agent Dubai had passed onto them before disappearing. It seemed as though he had gotten pretty deep into the organization, which was why the CIA had been so concerned when he hadn't reported in.
"Normally," Markum said, "an operative not reporting in wouldn't cause such concern. Being deep undercover can often present obstacles when trying to keep in contact. But Dubai hasn't been heard from in over a week, and no matter how deep he is, he wouldn't go that long without attempting to get in touch with us unless something was seriously wrong."
Jack and Markum outlined the plan, which was to send another agent undercover to try and ascertain the fate of the missing agent. The agent chosen was already attempting to infiltrate the organization and was supposed to call later that night with any information. Neither of them revealed the agent's name, and for a moment Danny's heart constricted, thinking that it was Molly. So when the meeting was adjourned, Danny dashed out into the hallway and immediately dialed Molly's cell.
He breathed an immense sigh of relief. If she were undercover, she wouldn't have answered her phone like that. "Hey, it's me."
He could hear the abrupt change in her voice. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Danny said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "It's just… You know, with everything that's going on, I guess I just got a little paranoid. I needed to hear your voice."
Molly laughed. "You are so whipped."
Danny smiled. "That I am." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I should be home in a bit. Marty and I were afraid we'd have to crash here at the office, but it looks like we actually will be able to sleep during this case."
"Good to know. So, then, I'll see you in a bit, yeah?"
There was a pause, and Danny thought she had hung up, but then she said, "I love you."
His heart constricted again. Something in her tone – it scared him. "I love you, too."
"Okay, then. Bye." And she hung up.
Danny frowned and shoved his phone back in his pocket, his knuckles coming into contact with something equally as hard. With a sigh, he pulled the ring box out and stared at it.