Disclaimer: I am in no way a part of or in ownership of anything related to the Sons of Anarchy or the Characters. I am not trying to make money now or in the future.

If foul language or explicit sexual content bothers you don't read any further.

Thanks to my awesome beta Cat.

Sapphires and Whiskey

Part 1 Revised 5/4/2010

Kate was riding in the passenger seat of her tow truck looking out at the rocky terrain, lost in thought. The warm sun was shining into her open window, the breeze felt cool as it blew across her skin. Her boots were resting on the dash board with her long legs tucked in front of her. Without the breeze it would border on hot, with it she was comfortable and relaxed.

Well Kate, you sure have come a long way in the last couple of years. Thank god for Dougie and the shop. It's the only thing that has kept you on the right track. She smiled as she glanced over at Doug. He was driving the tow truck signing along to Toby Keith's 'I Love This Bar'. Doug was like her older brother, since she technically didn't have one. They'd been close ever since he'd started working at McKinney's for her Dad over 20 years ago.

Man he has aged well. Doug stood at 6'1", with a strong stocky build. He had dark shinny hair, which her wore on the short side. His face was usually covered with a short clipped beard or a five o'clock shadow. His eyes were a gorgeous hazel, that sparkled, surrounded by thick dark lashes. Kate looked back out the window, not really focusing on anything. I wonder if that is how you would have aged Wes. It's been ten long years, and I still miss you. Kate rubbed her face. Stop it McKinney. Don't let yourself go down that road again. No use in dredging up old memories of how bad you fucked it up.

Doug turned onto route 5, heading north. The route twisted and turned its way through the Siskyou mountain range. He kept the truck at the posted speeds, this was a dangerous stretch to drive, you had to be careful. Accidents were common. All too often cars would get impatient and pass when they shouldn't. Doug looked over at Kate. Wonder why she is so moody lately. It dawned on him then, today is the anniversary of Wes's death. Damn I miss my little brother. Kate's still messed up over that cluster fuck. She's 'gotta move pass that shit. No one blames her but herself.

"Wonder what the bike in old man Henderson's barn looks like?" Doug threw out there, trying to make conversation.

"Not sure, He just called Jesse the other day and mentioned we could have it. He is cleaning out the barn. Hard to say, but it was worth a drive up there to check it out."

Doug looked into his rear view mirror and saw several motorcycle's . They hadn't been there a few minutes ago. He kept an eye on them as they began to gain ground on the tow truck. Jesus, those guys are movin!

One bike was several car lengths ahead of the four following him. Looks like he's running hard to get away from them. "Hey Katie, take a look behind us."

Kate looked through the rear window of the tow truck and saw a lone biker trying to outrun four others. She watched in fascination as the four riders in back pulled out hand guns and started firing at the lead biker. Shit! She turned around, ducking low, and opened the glove box pulling out a glock. She rummaged around in the glove box and found the clip, and loaded the gun.

"Here, the safety's on." She sat the gun next to Doug on the seat.

"You stay down!" Doug ordered Kate as he heard several bullets hit the truck.

Kate leaned over the front seat and reached under groping around until she found the shotgun. She pulled it out, threw a couple of shells in and dropped the extras from the glove box into her pants pocket.

She peeked over the edge of the seat. The lead biker was gaining on them quickly, and was getting ready to pass. She felt Doug veer to the right trying to give him room, but this section of the road was up against a steep cliff edge, he only had about 2 feet of shoulder to work with. The biker didn't hesitate. She saw his bike lurch forward as he gunned it, then heard the roar as it passed by them. She watched long enough to see the patches on his cut as he passed them.

"He's wearing a Son's cut Doug." She looked behind them and got a better look at the four bikers following him. It's the goddamn Myans!

Doug moved back over as soon as the biker cleared the tow truck. He looked ahead towards a sharp curve and couldn't believe his eyes. "Oh shit! This ain't 'gonna be good. Hang on Kate." Doug slammed on the brakes and headed for the small shoulder.

Kate looked up to see what had freaked out Doug and froze in disbelief. A red Mustang had started passing a gasoline tanker, it was in their lane heading right at them. The Son's biker tried to maneuver away from the Mustang, but ended up lying his bike down in a last minute effort to save himself. He slid along the pavement and headed towards the guard rail along the right shoulder.

The Mustang driver panicked, and cut back into the southbound lane cutting off the truck driver. The tanker began jackknifing and sliding sideways taking up both lanes of the highway.

"Common man, get it stopped." Doug spoke out loud, willing the tanker to get stopped before it hit the tow truck. "I got nowhere to go!" The tow truck screeched to a halt on the small shoulder.

The Mayan's who couldn't see around the tow truck began passing as soon as Doug had slowed down and gotten over to the right. The two bikes in the lead hit the Mustang's drivers side as it crossed back into the South bound lane. The impact threw the bikes and riders onto the southbound shoulder. The Mustang did a complete 180 just missing the tow truck. The last two Mayan bikers had to lay their bikes down to miss the Mustang and slid directly into the path of the tanker.

Kate watched as the two Mayan bikers slid under the truck, just missing the rigs tires. She heard the roar of an engine behind them and turned around in time to see the Mustang driver panic and leave the scene. The two bikers he'd hit were not moving.

Kate turned back around in time to see the tanker coming right at them. She heard the roar of it's engine, and the squeal of the tires on the pavement. Kate sat frozen in place. Please don't flip, please don't flip. Get it stopped.

"Move! Go Katie! Get out your door! I'm right behind you!" She felt Doug pushing her into action. They scrambled out of the door. Doug grabbed Kate and threw her over the guardrail, jumping over after her and lying on top of her to protect her in case there was a blast from the tanker.

The squealing noise suddenly stopped. Doug picked up his head, holding down Kate's. Did he actually get the tanker stopped? Doug tried to see through the smoke and dust. He could see the tanker had stopped inches from the front bumper of the tow truck. That was too close!

"Ok, ouch! Seriously. I have pebbles stuck in my cheek! Let me up!"

"Sorry." He let go of her head and eased up off of her. "I want you to stay here, by the truck."

Doug stayed low and headed to the cab, grabbing the shot gun. He slowly eased his way around the tow truck, using it for cover. No telling who survived this mess. I need to protect the Son's biker if I can get to him.

As soon as Doug moved away into the smoke Kate got up and dusted herself off. She went to the cab of the tow truck and looked around until she found the glock on the floorboard. No way am I leaving Doug unprotected, to many Mayan's lying around with guns. I'm not loosing another Winfield to them. She tested the mechanisms, and reloaded the clip just to make sure it was in working condition. Mimicking Doug's actions, she walked quietly around the back of the tanker, working her way toward the Mayans who were down.

She reached Doug as he was approaching one of the Mayans who had slid under the tanker. The Mayan was moving, trying to pull his leg out from under his bike. Kate slid past Doug towards the other Mayan biker who was down behind his bike and out of Doug's line of vision. As she got nearer to him saw he was crawling towards a gun laying a few feet from his reach. Don't do it! She raised her glock in both hands and spread her feet out for leverage, remembering how she was trained to shoot.

Kate flinched when she heard the shot gun go off. She looked over towards Doug and saw him lean over the biker he'd shot and spit on him. Shit! Shit! She looked back over at the Mayan she was holding the gun on just in time to she him reach for the gun on the pavement. "Don't do it asshole!" Kate yelled at him.

He grabbed the gun and leveled it at Doug. Just take a deep breath and fire at your target. She heard her Dad's voice, guiding her on the practice range. She pulled the trigger and nailed the Mayan in the chest. He fell back, the gun dropping to the road. Kate lowered the glock and walked towards the Mayan. She kicked the gun away from him and then looked down into his face. Recognition hit her like a kick to her stomach. She nearly cried out in her shock. He had been there the night Wes had been killed. You so deserved that! She stood over him, shaking with the realization of what she'd just done.

Doug reacted quickly, moving towards Kate, once he recovered from the shock of seeing Kate gun down the Mayan. "Christ Katie, I told you to stay by the truck!" Shit, this must be surreal for her after what the Mayans did to her and Wes. He grabbed the gun out of Kate's hands and pulled her into him, hugging her tightly. "Shit, are you ok?"

Kate pushed away from him careful not to look at the dead Mayan. "I'm ok. We've got to help the Son's biker." Memories of Wes's death and the Mayan's attack on her flooded Kate. Don't think Kate, just take care of business. She turned away from Doug and started walking towards the Son's biker who wasn't moving. Please be alive. She approached him carefully, not sure if he was armed or not. As she got closer she checked for a pulse and found a steady beat. Thank God!

She turned back looking for Doug and saw him talking to the tanker driver. They were in a fairly heated discussion. She left them to it and headed to the truck to grab a blanket and their first aid kit. No way we can call the police or an ambulance, her brain was working furiously on what to do.

Doug saw Kate and stopped her on her way back to the fallen biker. "The diver and I are gonna drop the Mayans and their bikes over the gorge edge on the southbound side. The two who hit the Mustang didn't make it. He doesn't want trouble, has too many accidents on his record and is afraid of getting fired, so he will help me then he's outta here."

"I will be helping out the other biker. He's out cold, but his pulse is strong and he's breathing OK."

"Alright, as soon as we get this cleaned up I will drive the tow truck up to you. We will load his bike up and take him to a hospital." Doug took off at a lope, they needed to work quickly.

Kate knelt next to the biker and tried to decide what injuries he'd sustained. His helmet had a big dent in it, but it had stayed on. The back of his head was bleeding. His face had some serious road rash and his left leg had a huge gash in it. She tied a bandanna around his upper thigh as a tournaquit. His side was bleeding, so she pulled his cut back and his shirt up revealing a long furrow on his side. You're lucky. I think a bullet did that. Wow, it doesn't look like you have any broken bones. That's pretty amazing. She looked closely at his cut. Sgt at Arms, Redwood Original…Shit . That's the original charter that Dad had been with. You're a long way from home big boy. What the hell were you doing all alone?

Kate heard the tanker start his engine, and slowly pull away. She saw Doug pull up next to them and heard the winch whining as he pulled out some chain to attach to the bike. The bed slowly tilted and slid down at an angle to accept the broken bike. He worked quickly attaching the chain and pulling the bike onto the bed, leveling it off and securing the bike with more chain. He looked around the area and found a gray bedroll off to the side partially open. He whistled. No wonder you were on the run from the Mayans. There must be a cool dozen glocks hidden in this bedroll. Doug secured it and threw it in a lock box on the back of the tow truck.

"How bad is he?" Doug knelt down on the other side of the biker.

"I don't think he has any broken bones. He's not losing too much blood. Mostly road rash and a few cuts. He took a nasty blow to the head, and it's cut, though I think we can move him."

Kate helped lift his shoulders enough for Doug to get behind him and drag him towards the cab. He climbed in backwards dragging the biker in behind him. Kate lifted his legs and they got him into a sitting position on the seat. Kate covered him with the blanket, and had Doug lay him across her lap. She pulled off his helmet as Doug did a u-turn and headed south.

"I'll head towards the clinic in Hilt."

"No Dougie. Let's take him back to the shop. I will put him in my apartment up stairs. I'll call Travis, he owes us big time, I think he can patch him up. We don't know if he's wanted, plus the Mayan's will be looking for their missing boys. They will check the hospitals, he will be unprotected if we take him there."

"I don't like him being in your apartment. We don't know him. He's not some lost stray dog Katie. I found a bed roll full of glocks that he was carrying."

"I'll be fine. I know how to protect myself. It will just be until he comes to and gets his buddies to come collect him. Besides you and I both know the Son's run guns."

Doug slammed his palm onto the steering wheel. Shit! I'm not gonna win this battle. I can't take him home to my house with Sarah and the kids. She's right, until we know his story he has to remain hidden. The apartment above the shop will work fine. "Alright, but I have a bad feeling about all of this."

"Duly noted, you're worrying over nothing." Right, it's like every day we see crazy shit like this go down. I shoot Mayan's all the fucking time. Kate's hands began to shake as she replayed the events in her head. She began to gently stroke the bikers hair trying to calm down. Well Wes, I finally got the chance to get some revenge for your death, and what they did to me.

"Thank God it's Saturday and no ones working overtime today. The shop will be quiet, we can slip him up stairs without anyone noticing." Doug stole a quick look to see if he recognized the Son. Damn he looks familiar, If my memory serves me correctly their Sgt at Arms is a guy named Tragger.

"I don't think we should call or contact the charter until we know more about what happened. He might not want to be found. Think we should wait till he wakes up? I mean he was runnin guns, alone." Kate looked over at Doug to gage his reaction.

"I don't know Kate. We are gonna have to really think this through. Don't need the Mayans commin after us over this, if we do call the charter and they come for him, it will be like waving a red flag right in their faces. We will be caught in the middle. Let's just concentrate on getting him in the apartment and fixed up for now. We can figure out how what to do later."

Kate texted Travis, a friend from High School who was now the local veterinarian explaining what they needed him to do. He replied quickly that he would meet them at the shop with supplies. "Travis will be there when we get back."

"You all right Katie?" Doug grabbed her hand and forced her to look at him. "It's not everday you shoot somebody and drop them over a cliff."

"I'm a little shook up, but fine. I recognized the one I shot, he was there the day Wes was killed. It feels good to finally get some payback." Kate pulled her hand out of Dougs and pulled the hair out of her eyes.

"Yeah, payback." Doug took a deep breath, tell her, you never have. "I never got the chance to go after them either. Your dad kept an eye on me 24/7 until I let it go. I know he was right, I couldn't win a fight against a whole charter. I would have ended up in the plot next to Wes. But it hurt like hell knowin what they did to you, and to Wes. I wanted to help you so badly Kate, but your Dad shipped you off to your Aunts so fast I never got the chance to talk to you. I felt like I should have kept a better eye on you two, I wasn't a very good big brother."

Kate waved her hand at Doug, "Please don't, It's been a long time. I loved Wes, and my stupidity got him killed." She held her palm up at Doug so he wouldn't interupt. "No, it's true. If I hadn't been racing, posing as a guy, none of that shit would have went down with the Mayans. End of conversation." She looked out the window as she held onto the mystery biker, tamping down the rush of all the old guilt and pain.

It killed Doug to see her fall back into the silence she'd used as her defense. She would never talk about that time, or exactly what had happened, especially to her. Katie, you're killin me. "Honey, stop putting that wall up. You know I love you like a little sister. You never meant for Wes to get hurt. What happened wasn't your fault. You gotta learn to let it go, or it will end up tearing you apart."

You know you're my rock Dougie. Kate thought to herself and wiped away a stray tear. She concentrated on the face in her lap. He had dark curly hair which sat in disaray on top of a high forhead. He had dark long eye lashes resting on well defined cheek bones. He wore a mustache and a small patch of hair under his lips, she smiled, and giggled out loud, thinking of the nickname for that patch of hair. The French tickler. Shit Katie, your loosin it. She covered her mouth and stole a quick look at Doug to see if he'd heard her.

"Hey, don't go all hysterical on me. Keep it together McKinney." Doug looked sideways at Kate. She was pale and had a wild look to her eyes. He'd heard her make a funny noise and cover her mouth. She's barely keeping her shit together.

"I'm fine, really. Just had an odd thought."

They pulled into the lot at McKinney's garage opening a bay door and parking the tow truck inside. No one needed to see what they were up to. If they were going to keep the Mayan's off their back then keeping him a secret was top priority.

Travis had been waiting at the shop. Between he and Doug they got the biker up the narrow stairs to the apartment above the garage. While he worked on the biker, Kate and Doug unloaded his Dyna and rolled it into a large storage room locking it up. Once they cleaned up the blood in the cab of the tow truck they went up to the apartment.

Travis was finishing up on stitches in the bikers leg when she checked on them. "How's it goin?" Kate asked as she picked up several blood soaked towels.

"He took a pretty good knock on the head, I'm a little concerned with it. If he doesn't come around by tommorow morning then we can start worrying. He took a few stitches on the back of his head, I think his helmet must have cut him. His leg patched up fairly easily although he's got a shit load of stitches. I left you an ointment for his road rash. I think a bullet grazed his side, I wrapped it up. I left some extra bandages for the side and leg wound." He finished wrapping the injured leg. He helped Kate clean up the rest of the mess.

"Thanks Trav, you really helped us out. Listen, don't talk about him being here. We need this to be a secret for your safety and ours." Kate stopped Travis and made sure he got the hint.

"Ok. I won't say anything to anybody. I'm not sure I like the fact you got him here with you." Lord knows I don't want him with you here alone. Travis had been trying to get Kate's attention for the last 6 months, but she'd been tough to corner.

"Don't worry, Dougie will be here too." Why does everyone think I can't handle myself? Christ, I'm a grown woman I don't need a bunch of babysitters.

Travis reached into his kit and pulled out a white bottle. "These are some strong antibiotics. I gave him a shot of some today. Make sure he takes two of these a day once he comes around."

"Got it. Thanks again." Kate walked Travis out to the door of the apartment seeing him off.

She returned to her bedroom, tucking the covers over the biker trying to make sure he was comfortable. She stood over him her mind working over the possibilities of what she was going to do about him. Who are you? I think we need to keep you a secret until you wake up. The bedroll of guns makes the stakes much higher. Duh, Kate, your so stupid. Look for clues in his cut.

Kate looked around for his clothes. Maybe I can find his wallet with an I.D. With all the commotion she'd overlooked that simple solution. She found a pile of clothes laying on the rocker in the corner and went through his cut pulling out a simple wallet with a money clip attatched. His driver liscense had the usual picture, he looked pissed off in it. Alexander Tragger, so the mystery man has a name. Kate found a wad of money in the clip, out of curiostiy she counted it. Four hundred and some change. Damn, you sure don't mind carrying some serious cash do you? She found a health insurance card tucked in behind his liscense, noting it was a veterans insurance. Military, huh? She found a cell phone in another pocket, but it had been beaten up pretty bad during the crash and was in pieces.

She walked back over towards the sleeping stranger in her bed. Alex, it fits you. She looked closely at his tats now that he was bare chested. He wore the usual Son's markings along with an unusual 'old school' Marine tatoo on his forearm. She ran her fingers along the tatoo as she looked at it. A Marine, now that's interesting.

Doug stood in the doorway of Kate's bedroom watching her. He'd never seen her act like this around anyone. Kate wasn't the take care of everyone type. She had a funny look on her face. Shit, I'm really gonna have to watch her. Today was pretty fucked up.

"So…what's his name?" Kate jumped, tucked her hands into her jean pockets and turned a bright shade of pink. Doug ignored her reaction and walked into the room. "I saw you looking at his liscense."

"Alexander Trager."

"Huh, I thought that's who it was. So what are we gonna do with him?" Doug wanted to get a feel for where Kate was in all this.

"Let's give him a chance to wake up. We will let him call his buddies and arrange for a pickup after hours. Hopefully we can keep the Mayans off our backs and word won't get out that we helped him." God knows we are out in no mans land, getting caught up between the Mayans and the Sons would be a bad move. I've worked to hard to get Dad's business back on track to get caught in this shit storm.

"What about the guns?"

"Let's take 'em to the cabin. Get them off the property. I don't want anything to blow back on the business." Kate headed towards the doorway, out of the bedroom, leaving a small light on in the corner. If he wakes up he will be able to see his surroundings.

Doug turned and headed for the apartment door. "I will take the guns out to the cabin on my way home. Sarah has been blowing up my phone. I missed a date night. It will give me time to get a cover story set up with her." Doug rubbed his beard and shook his head. I hate lying to her, but it's for the best. "You call me if he comes around before I get back in the the morning." He gave Kate his best 'look' trying to get his point across. "I'm serious Kate. We don't know him, what he's like."

"Doug, my Dad was a Son. I know what they're about. I can handle myself. You worry to much. Go home to Sarah and the kids, I will be fine." Kate gave him a big hug and a smile and shoved him out the door. After all he's just a man.

She puttered around the kitchen and made herself a quick meal of ramon noodles and a beer. She ate her meal making a mental list of things to do. Drop off his phone with Cheyanne. It had gotten pretty tore up during the wreck. She was a whiz with electronics and owned a shop downtown. Have Doug work on his bike and get it repaired. That was something her dad had taught her, you helped out people when you could. It didn't matter who.

Thinking of her Dad made her smile. She had been close to him as a child. Her Mom had died when she was only a couple of months old, in some kind of car accident. He had spoiled her trying to make up for him being the only one around. She'd grown up in the shop, learning how to fix motors and run the place. By the time she was in high school she become a permanent fixture at McKinneys.

Kate discovered she liked to draw at an early age, and took her talent a step further and learned how to use an air brush to make tank designs and detail work on hot rods. The summer after graduating high school had been a catalyst, and she made some bad choices. By August the shit had hit the fan, and her dad had shipped her off to ther Aunt. She was to attent college that fall, and her Aunt was supposed to help Kate get back on track. Her dad had loved her but had no control where she was concerned.

She had been away for ten long years since that fateful summer. She'd been called home two years ago when she found out her dad was dying from cancer. She had been at loose ends, and coming home to her sick dad had been hard. On the flip side, having the family business to run had given her a purpose again.

McKinney's had been her dads dream. He'd gone nomad when Kate was a toddler. He'd never told her why, the subject was strictly off limits, but she'd learned that the Son's were still close to his heart. The shop was considered a friend of the club. They often did work for the Oregon chapter since Hilt was on the border of California and Oregon. Many of the Nomads would come to McKinney's for work.

Kate washed her dishes, grabbed another beer and walked down the hallway towards her bedroom to check on her 'mystery man'. She took a swig of her beer and placed it on the table. She pulled the white rocking chair out of the corner, leaving it next to the bed.

She noticed he'd been restless, the covers were tossled and he had a fine sheen of sweat on his brow. She used a damp washcloth and gently wiped the sweat from his forehead, careful of the road rash on the right side of his face. She grabbed the tube of ointment and rubbed it gently over the scrapes, they looked swollen and angry. Don't need an infection to set in.

Looking down on the biker she lightly stroked his hair and ran her fingers down the side of his face. The artist in her had her examining his face as if she was going to draw him. You have the most beautiful face structure, high cheekbones and a strong jaw. Your hair is so curly and soft. I bet it does whatever it wants giving you a wild and tossled look. I wonder what color your eyes are? The eyes were always herfavorite part. They are the window into the soul.

Kate smiled, when she would run her hand down the side of his face he would turn into it, and almost smile. How sweet. The big bad biker liked her touch. God Kate, don't even go there with him. She new once he woke up he'd be gone. It wouldn't do any good for her to get attached to a complete stranger. She knew the life he led, especially being the Sgt at Arms. Telling herself that over and over didn't help. She was no angel herself. Her life had been a living hell for a few years, coming home to McKinney's had been her balm.

Kate felt the pull of sleep, she snuggled into a blanket and stretched her legs out onto the bed and settled into the rocker. Without a second thought, she fell asleep holding his hand.

Tig woke up with a start. The sudden jerking movement hurt like hell, his head exploded with a white hot pain. Opening his eyes was an effort. Goddamit, what the hell is wrong with me? He tried to blink away the fuzziness. It felt like a jackhammer was pounding away at the base of his skull.

As he slowly woke up he realized he hurt in more than one spot. His side felt like it was on fire and his right thigh was throbbing. Tig's memory of the chase and crash hit him. Shit, way to go Trager, you had to dump the Dyna. Where the fuck am I? What happened to the guns? I can't just lay here unprotected. Common Tig, get your shit together.

He tried to move his right hand but realized to late it was intertwined with someone else's hand. Surprised, he moved his head to look at whoever it was. His head spun, and a soft moan escaped him as the pounding intensified. He tried to focus, to see anything, but realized he was close to blacking out. "Shit."

Kate felt the tug of his fingers against hers and heard his moan and muffled exclamation. She came awake with a start, swinging her legs off the bed and releasing her hand from his. He was moving his head to the side and rubbing his eyes with his left hand. He brought his right hand up to the bandage wrapped around his head and was trying to take it off.

She grabbed his hands gently, and pulled them away from his face afraid he would open up the scrapes, or take off the bandage. "Easy, it's ok. You're safe."

Tig struggled to form the words he wanted to say. He could hear her voice and feel her hands holding his. "W-where mmm I?" He knew it hadn't come out right. Fuck Tig! You sound like your fucked up. Can't say what I'm thinkin, nothin' is commin out right. In his exasperation he tried to sit up, pain exploded in his side, he felt like he couldn't catch his breath. Darkness sucked him back into oblivion.

"Whoa, stay put. Please, you're safe, I promise." Kate kept pushing him gently back into the bed. He finally pushed it to hard and passed out. "Oh you're a stubborn one." Kate used the wash cloth again and gently wiped away the layer of sweat on his face and chest and arms. He wasn't carrying a fever but his body was working hard to recover from his injuries.

Kate checked the clock it was nearly 6:00 a.m. Might as well get up and start the day. She grabbed his clothes and cut and headed for the kitchen to see what could be salvaged. His cut, because of the leather, had held up surprisingly well, it only had one spot with a small rip. I can sew that up. She checked his shirts and jeans for sizes, his old ones were going in the trash.

She fixed herself a pot of coffee and jumped into the shower. She realized a little late that she didn't have any of her clothes with her, she was used to living alone. She wrapped up in a towel and headed into her room. Please don't wake up. She quickly rummaged around for her clothes and darted back into the bathroom to finish getting ready. Whew! Smart move McKinney.

Kate usually opened up around 7:30 in the morning. Her crew would wander in and start clocking in between 8:00 and 9:00. She didn't care when they came in as long as they gave her a full eight hour day. Guess I'm gonna have to hope that if he wakes up he will stay put since he doesn't have any clothes.

Kate took a quick peek in on Alex finding him in the same position as before. Ok, please stay put. She ran downstairs and got the business open for the day. Luckily Doug showed up early and he went upstairs to keep an eye on their biker in case he woke up. They didn't need him showing his face downstairs when no one knew he was there.

She grabbed her keys, purse and ipod and climbed into her F150. She headed towards Cheyennes small appliance shop to drop off Alex's phone in hopes of her being able to salvage it or replace it for him. On her way she ran over her to do list. Get the phone fixed, get replacement clothing and hit the grocery store. A couple hours later she walked back into the apartment.

Kate found Doug sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper and sucking down a coffee. "So how pissed off was Sarah last night?"

"She was ok with it, our sitter had to back out anyway." He shrugged and grabbed the grocery bags to start unpacking them with Kate.

"You have any pressing projects right now?" Kate looked at Doug. "I was thinking you could work on getting his bike fixed up."

"I can give the tune up to North. I will take an inventory of what needs replaced and let you know what to order. I'll probably get Turk to help me out so we can get it done in a hurry. It's gonna need a lot of help, you sure about this?"

"Yep, I'm just trying to do what I hope someone would do for me if I needed help. Besides it's what we do."

Doug smiled at Kate and pulled her into a hug. She's always had a big heart, that's what gets her in trouble. "I'm worried about you, you doin' ok with all this?"

She stepped back from the hug and looked up at Doug. "Doug, I've never been in this situation before, but this is what feels right. I remember Daddy takin' in some of the nomads and fixin their stuff up while he let them work for a few weeks of pay. I can't just turn my back on him when he needs help."

"You're right Katie." I just can't shake this bad feeling in my gut. This is gonna bring trouble to her door.

Kate worked the rest of the day logging payroll and balancing accounts. Stuff she hated to do, and normally did on Sundays when she had the shop to herself. She'd washed the new clothes she'd picked up for Alex and caught up her own laundry. Periodically she'd check in on Alex and bath him with the cool cloth talking to him, trying to reassure him that he was in a safe place.

This afternoon as she checked on him, she couldn't resist tracing his marine tattoo along his forearm. She continued her exploration of him, pulling off the blanket and checking his leg wound. She noticed he had a lanky build. He was probably well over six foot. He was muscular in a deceptive way, she could feel the corded muscles beneath her touch but he didn't have that 'cut' look. His skin was warm to her giving off a strange tingle. Jesus Kate, you are insane. That just doesn't happen, you need sleep.

She covered him back up and sat in the rocker, stretching her long legs out onto the edge of the bed and snuggled into her blanket. She reached over and grabbed his hand without a thought as to what she was doing. I'll just take a little nap.

Alex woke up suddenly, his body tensing. He blinked his eyes trying to clear them. Ok, you're in the same room, wherever that is. Someone is holding my hand. It must be 'her'. He'd heard her talk to him and felt her gentle touch even though he couldn't quite wake up. At times he felt like he'd go crazy, her touch had been soothing and electric at the same time.

He managed to turn his head and focus on her. He took her in studying her from head to toe. She had beautiful reddish brown hair with highlights the color of gold. It was shoulder length in a simple cut. Her face was softened in sleep, with highly arched eyebrows and a mouth with full pouty lips. Her nose was proportioned nicely to fit her face shape, slightly rounded at the tip.

She looked to be in her late thirties, but you could never really be sure he mused. She was wrapped tightly in a blanket, her long legs lifted onto the edge of his bed. She had on some simple wool socks and faded worn jeans. He enjoyed watching her sleep, studying her, so he was careful not to wake her. He laid his hand gently on her leg wanting to touch her. Damn they are fine long legs. I wouldn't mind having them wrapped around me. Shit Tig, where the hell did that thought come from? I don't even know where the fuck I am, I'm all tore up and all I want to do is have sex with a girl I don't even know.

Tig shifted slightly just testing his side and his leg and the pain hit him in waves. His head still swam, he was struggling to concentrate. Shit, this ain't good. He felt gingerly behind his head finding stitches under the bandage. I need to find out what happened to the guns, get a hold of Clay. He tried to sit up and swing his legs over the edge of the bed but grunted in pain as his body refused to listen to his brain. Fuck me. And with that he blacked out.

Kate woke up later that evening and realized Alex had likely woken up and tried to get up. His left leg was dangling over the edge of the bed and he'd shifted positions. She tucked his leg back in and covered him. She noticed he felt much cooler and his eyes were fluttering. He was mumbling in his sleep. She continued to talk to him and touch him, he seemed to calm down when she did.

Kate got the feeling Alex was going to wake up sometime soon so she decided she'd spend the rest of the night close by until it was time to get some sleep then she'd crash in her rocking chair again. She spent some time on her computer again, finishing up on some odd and ends.

The mood to sketch hit her, she grabbed her pencils and sketch book and settled in to her rocker. She turned on the tv and flipped it to Nitro Circus, she liked to watch the ridiculous stunts and to see the latest trends with off road bikes.

She looked over at Alex. You're the one I really want to sketch. She began with a simple outline, getting his features set up in position then started adding details and shading. Several hours later she had a finished drawing of him in her bed. She closed the sketch pad and slid it under the bed. Don't need him seeing that.

At some point Kate drifted off to sleep watching the tv. She had been watching CSI reruns. She woke up long enough to click off the tv and fell back to sleep.

Alex heard the hum of power tools in the background and mens voices as they worked. He slowly opened his eyes. Hey, I can actually focus without my head feeling like it's going to explode. The room was lit from light filtering through drawn curtains and he could make out that he was in someone's bedroom. He turned his head and saw her again.

He stretched, testing his sore muscles and various injuries. His side was down to a dull ache, he'd thought maybe he'd broken some ribs, but with further inspection he discovered a bandage over what looked to be a wound from a bullet grazing him. His head ached, but nothing like it had. His right leg was fucked up, he felt a long bandage running the length of his thigh. It felt hot and swollen and hurt like a bitch. At least I'm alive. Wonder who my guardian angel is.

The bandage around his head was annoying the hell out of him. He reached up and pulled it off, feeling the back of his head and several stitches. He laid there for a while thinking of what had happened and how he really needed to get moving, let Clay know what was going on. Mostly he just stared at the woman with her long legs resting on the bed, fast asleep in the rocker.

She began to stir, stretching her long arms out and above her head. Then she rubbed her face with her hands. She opened her eyes and looked toward Alex. She was startled to see the most amazing blue eyes looking back at her. "Oh" She continued to look at him, lost in his eyes, not fully awake.

"Jameson Whiskey" he rasped, with a lopsided grin.

"What?" Her groggy response made his smile broaden.

"I meant your eyes look like Jameson Whiskey, they are the most amazing golden color with flecks of green and browns. Like a good whiskey. I've been lying her watching you sleep and wondered what color your eyes would be when you woke up." His reply took Kate off her guard; she had been guilty of the same thought earlier.

"Got a name Whiskey?" He flashed her another sly grin. He was having fun fucking with her.

"Kate." She was slowly getting her thoughts together and waking up. She looked down at her thigh and realized he was rubbing a small circle on her thigh causing a trickle of heat to wander up her leg. Fuck Kate, get away from him. Shaken by her resopnse she pulled her legs off the bed and sat up straighter in the rocker.

"Easy, I don't bite." He put both palms in the air, not wanting to startle her. He'd felt the connection too, so a little space was good. "I'm Alex Trager, but most of my friends call me Tig."

"I know your name, I looked on your liscence." Kate's response was softly spoken. She was unsure of what to say or how to proceed with him. She was feeling shy and uncertain all of a sudden. What the hell is wrong with me? I never let anyone get me all worked up. She was known to be cold and calculating, tough and resourceful. She had worked hard to gain respect working in a business that was dominated by men. Most of the men who had tried to get close to her had found this unsettling.

"I'm sure you have lots of questions." Kate threw out there, wanting the conversation to move on. "Let me get you some water, put a pot of coffee on, and if you're hungry I can make some breakfast. I will be glad to answer any questions after I've had my coffee." She needed some space between them. This was getting weird. Rising from the rocker she tucked it back into the corner and carefully folded the blanket laying it across the arm.

Tig pushed himself into a sitting position, swinging his legs off the bed. He had to fight not to grunt out loud with the effort. He hurt, but it wasn't anything he hadn't put up with in the past. He lifted his hand to his face rubbing the bridge of his nose. His head was sore and swimming, but the dizziness was fading. It left him with a dull throb to pound on the back of his head. It feels like a really bad hangover.

Kate stood quietly watching him. She didn't want to crowd him. She tried had to ignore the sight of Alex's long legs, but failed miserably. She followed them upwards, noticing a sheet hastily being jerked over his waist. Her line of vision kept moving up, following the dark v of hair to a broad chest covered in a layer of dark curly hair. She briefly noted a long jagged scar on his right shoulder as she moved her way up to his face. That's when she realized she had been caught shamelessly checking him out, and if the grin on his face was any clue, he knew it. Shit, McKinney. Real smooth. Her face immediately went crimson, but she held his gaze defiantly.

Tig's eyebrow arched giving him a mischievous look. Wonder if she likes what she sees. "I'd love a shower, then we need to talk." He was careful not to let her hear the laughter in his voice. Until he had a grasp of the whole situation he definitely was going to tread carefully.

"I will get you a couple of towels. Make a right down the hallway. While you are in there I will grab you some clean clothes and leave them on the bed." Kate managed to say it with no trace of the emotions she was feeling. God Kate you're such an imbecile, you might as well have jumped him right there. "Idiot." She mumbled to herself as she walked out of her bedroom.

Tig stiffled a laugh when he heard Kate's muffled idiot remark. No need to let her know he heard her. She was proving to be an interesting distraction. Plus he owed her God knew how much for helping him out. No need to be cruel.

The shower felt amazing. He let the hot water soak the pain out of his muscles. He was careful washing his hair because of the stitches. He let the spray hit him in the face, helping to ease the ache in his head.

Wrapping the towel around his waist he headed back to the bedroom and found a pair of new jeans, his own belt, and a black t-shirt. He laughed as he picked through the pile, there were two packages of underwear unopened, tighty whities and boxers. He took his time getting dressed; his body kept reminding him of the recent events which landed him in this position.

As he worked on getting dressed without popping the stitches in his thigh he was thinking about what to do next. He needed, really needed, to know about the guns. But how the hell did he ask about that? Shit, the fucking Myans had really screwed the works this time. He noticed his leather was repaired and cleaned up as much as possible. He searched inside for his phone, but had no luck finding it. His wallet and money clip were intact. I really need that phone.

Tig decided that shoes and socks could wait. I'll pass out if I try for that. He headed in the opposite direction looking for the kitchen, following the scent of coffee and bacon. He slipped quietly into the kitchen walking straight for the coffee maker. He found a cup poured, turned around leaning against the counter and took a careful sip to judge how hot it was. He almost purred outloud, and took a large swig this time, the coffee tasted good and he hoped the cafeinne would help his head.

"I guess black is ok?" Kate watched in fascination as he looked over the rim of his cup at her. Her really had the most amazing blue eyes. "Sapphires" slipped out before she could stop herself. Shit why am I so easily distracted around him?

"Sapphires?" He echoed. What the fuck?

"Your eyes, they are the color of Sapphires, glittering and translucent. You're not the only one who wondered what color the eyes would be when they opened." Kate looked him square on, even though she was more than a little disconcerted by his gaze.

His face went from cool and calculating to amused in a split second, leaving Kate helpless in the wake of his transformation. His smile flashed and her heart broke into a million pieces. She knew her time with Tig was short lived, she wasn't going to let herself go down a road she would regret.

She turned her back on Tig and pulled the bacon out of the oven where she had been keeping it warm. She piled the scrambled eggs next to the bacon and turned to put it on the small table. The table already had some toast and plates sitting out. "Help yourself, I'll be right back."

She headed down the hallway to the bathroom and grabbed the Tylenol. No doubt he was hurting and she had one hell of a headache. The coffee hadn't touched it.

Tig sat down gingerly. He made a plate for both of them. He was just starting to eat when she walked back into the kitchen.

"Glad you have your appetite" She said lightly, not sure where to head with the converstaion. " I brought you some Tylenol for your head. I'm sure it's got to be sore." Kate added and set them on the table.

Tig grabbed the bottle and popped the cap off shaking two out onto his palm. "Thanks. I can definitely use em."

They finished eating in companionalbe silence.

Kate was thinking it was nice not to try and carry a forced conversation to be polite. Tig had been thinking along the same lines. It was unusual to spend time with a female who kew how to just 'be'. No extra chatter or fake conversations, it was very relaxing.

They both cleared the table, he began filling the sink with water and soap. He washed, she dried and within a few minutes they had the little kitchen cleaned up. Alex grabbed both of their coffee cups and refilled them, setting them on the table and sitting back down. Kate followed his cue, and sat down across from him.

His expression went from relaxed to guarded as he looked across the table at Kate. "Where am I?"

"You are in the apartment above my business. I own McKinney's Repair and Paint. We fix just about anything with a motor. We are located in Hilt." Her chin was raised looking him straight in the eye with her reply.

Tig fought to keep a straight face, but damn she was cute when her hackles went up. She must get a lot of flack being a woman and running a shop. "Where is my bike?"

"It's in the shop downstairs. We had to do a lot of work to get her up and running. I think they are still waiting on a few parts." Kate replied as she lifted her coffee up for another swallow. She looked over the rim at Alex and saw him struggle for the next words. His eyes closed, he was rubbing this eyebrow and the bridge of his nose with his right hand. It was as if massaging would help make the awkward thought he was trying to put into words come out easier. She hid her smile behind her coffee cup.

He had tilted his head slightly to the side and pulled his hand away from his face before he looked her in the eyes and said, "I had something attached to my bike, a gray bedroll. It had some 'cargo' that was delicate in nature. What happened to it?"

Should she tell him she knew what the 'cargo' was? "The bedroll, which I know is full of guns, is hidden at my cabin up in the mountains. I didn't want that on my property."

"Thanks, I appreciate your taking care of me, my bike and the cargo." Smart girl. Way to keep the guns away from your business. Tig was pleased with her decisions. "My cell?" He arched his eyebrows with the question.

"It's with a friend who is good with electronics. It was basically destroyed, but she is trying to get your contact list out and onto a new phone. I was afraid I was going to have to start calling names off your phone to find out where you belonged, but you saved me the trouble my waking up." Kate rested her chin in her hand, he elbow on the table, looking at Tig. She was letting him process all the information and then she would get her chance to ask questions.

"How many days was I out of commission?" He was rubbing the side of his head with his hand, and grimacing.

Kate noticed how Tig had suddenly turned a little white, and how he was rubbing his temples. He must really be hurting. I better get him back in bed before he passes out on me. "You were out for four days. Today is the fifth day. No one knows you are here except for me, Dougie and the doctor who patched you up. We decided it was better that way, so please stay put until we iron everything out."

Tig concentrated on Kate's face trying to keep the dizziness at bay. His head was pounding so hard his vision was getting fuzzy again. He knew he was in trouble, and was likely going to pass out. He hoped to hell he wouldn't embarrass himself and loose the perfectly good breakfast she had made. "You must have been in the tow truck that I passed." He wanted to get more answers but he didn't think his body was going to let him.

Kate sensed he was struggling to hang on. "Yes, I was in the tow truck, and saw the whole thing happen. I really don't mind answering your questions, but you are pushing yourself way to hard right now. Let's get you up and moving back into the bed. I will stay and talk as long as you like, but if you pass out at least you'll be in a bed. I wouldn't be able to lift you by myself if you did."

"I think I need to make a pit stop first." He rose quickly and started down the hallway moving as fast as his leg would let him. Shit, this is goin' to be embarrassing. Tig made it to the bathroom and shut the door. He barely made it to the toilet as he threw up, gripping the seat and sinking to his knees. Stars danced behind his eyelids as he struggled to remain conscious. He heard Kate knock softly and ask if he was ok. He managed to give a weak reply. "I've been better, but I'm ok, just give me a couple of minutes."

Kate leaned on the far wall listening to him be sick. She fought the urge to barge in and gave him a few minutes. Ok, that's long enough. Kate knocked again, "Alex? I'm coming in." She found him on his knees swaying, his hands rubbing the front of his face. "Come on." Kate gently reached under his arms and helped him to his feet. Not an easy task with his sore leg, but between the two of them they got him up and moving towards the bedroom.

So far he had silently taken her help, but she could tell by the way he stiffened up when she touched him he wasn't used to anyone helping him.

Tig struggled with staying on his feet and moving. He knew she would never get him into the bed alone. He concentrated with all he had just to keep going. He was barely aware of her encouraging him to sit back onto the bed, the pounding in his head had reached epic proportioins. His stomach lurched again, and a groan escaped him. Shit, I'm gonna puke all over her.

Kate understood his predicament and reached for the waste basket she had been throwing bandages into. She placed it in front of him saying, "just throw up in this trash can, no worries."

"Jesus." Alex ground out. He reached for the can and began to throw up again. Once that wave passed he looked at Kate with the saddest eyes, breaking her heart. "I'm so sorry Katie, but this headache is making me sick." Eventually he was down to dry heaves, and was swaying. She handed him a glass of water from the bed stand and ordered him to rinse. God knows there is nothing nastier than that taste in your mouth.

Kate tried to lighten the mood by teasing him. "Honestly, my cooking wasn't that horrible was it?" She took the trash can from Tig and sat it on the floor.

Tig managed a weak smile, "Fucking horrible." He laid back into the bed and tried to push Katie away when she started to fuss and tuck him in.

Kate ignored his weak protest and pulled the covers up over him. "Don't worry, I will be here when you wake up. We can finish talking then. Just rest, you need to sleep and heal." She didn't even realize what she was doing as she pushed the damp hair off his forehead, and placed a gentle kiss just above the bridge of his nose. "Sweet dreams Tig. Feel better."