"This wasn't supposed to happen," the young undercover agent muttered to herself, chewing thoughtfully on a thumbnail as she paced back and forth in the small, shadowy room. "We wouldn't even be here if those thugs had snatched Heather like they were supposed to. But no...they gotta kidnap me instead!"

"Maybe they wanted the spunky one," FBI Handler Joe Renato remarked with a small grin from where he lounged on his back in a corner on the floor. "It's not your fault, Lily. It's just a minor setback. We can probably still make the plan work—we just gotta twist it around a little."

"As if it's not twisted enough already," Lily commented under her breath.


She shook her head. "Nothing." She tried in vain to look out the single inadequate window built into one wall. Even if she were tall enough to see out, there was a thick layer of grey crud coating each side of the glass pane, preventing anyone from looking in or out.

So Lily commenced her pacing again. Feeling a chill in the dark air, she gave an involuntary shudder, pulling her thin sweater tighter around herself.

Joe noticed Lily's discomfort. "You alright?" he inquired.

"Yeah, I'm fine," was Lily's immediate response. I'm just very cold, she added silently. Nothing I can't handle like a big girl.

Joe accepted her answer, but still continued to watch her thoughtfully.

Lily sucked in a quick breath of air as another shiver racked her petite frame. Feels like winter in here.

"Liar," Joe accused with a small laugh. "You aren't fine. You're shivering."

"It is kinda chilly," she finally admitted.

Joe sat up with his back against the wall and knees bent in front of him. He patted the hard ground near his feet. "Come here."


"Come here," Joe repeated. "Sit down."

"Why?" Lily asked.

Joe sighed somewhat impatiently. "Because I'm freezing, and you're freezing...and neither one of us needs pneumonia."

Lily hesitated a moment before finally settling on the concrete floor between Joe's knees. She leaned back against his warm chest, immediately feeling less chilled.

Joe lightly rubbed her slender upper arms, to build up some friction-based heat. "Darnell should find us before much longer."

She looked up at him with an incredulous expression. "How? Nobody knows where we are!"

"Actually, they should have a pretty good idea of where too look," Joe answered. He tilted his head forward, his chin almost resting on Lily's shoulder. "This pendant you're wearing," he revealed, fingering the modest weight of silver that lay against Lily's blouse. "Is more than just part of your costume. It has a tiny tracking device inside."

"Oh." Lily examined the pendant curiously. "Do all your agents have them?"

"Just the special ones," Joe replied with a grin.

Lily smirked. "The rookies, you mean."

"Them, too."

She slowly rolled the silver pendant between her thumb and forefinger, imagining the tiny device hidden inside. Did a skilled craftsman build the silver around the tracking device? Or was the miniscule invention assembled and subsequently inserted?

Not finding so much as a seam ridge to tell the tale, Lily abandoned her scrutiny of the silver piece. She released the shiny metal from her grip, allowing it to drop back into place against the buttons of her blouse.

Lily gave an anxious (yet somewhat bored) sigh, linking her fingers together across her flat stomach.

Joe mimicked her position, gently resting his hands atop hers.

"How long have we been here?"

Joe checked his wristwatch. "Too long, in my opinion. Hour and a half."

"Has our plan failed?" Lily asked meekly.

Joe gave her an honest answer. "I don't know. There's no way of knowing what's going on out there."

Lily fell silent. She chewed on her bottom lip, feeling the pangs of guilt that she had screwed up their mission by getting kidnapped.

(time break)

The next twenty minutes passed without a word spoken by either of them.

Lily peeked up at Joe.

One brow furrowed as he stared straight ahead at some spot on the opposite wall, deep in thought.

Lily could practically see the gears turning in his head. "Hey...you okay?" she asked softly.

Joe broke out of his seeming trance, giving her a reassuring smile. "Yep. You?"

"Just dandy." Lily traced an old scar on Joe's right thumb. "How'd you get this?"

"Got it during a drug bust," he told her, subconsciously aware of the pleasant sensation of her smooth skin touching his. "Some guy high on crack decided a nearby chair should get acquainted with my head. Miraculously, it got my hand instead."

Lily grimaced. "That must've hurt."

"Hurt less than the head would have," Joe replied with a smirk. "How did you get this one?" he asked in return, moving his finger across a faded two-inch mark running down the side of Lily's wrist.

She gave a wry smile as she recalled the circumstances that awarded her that scar. "I rescued my younger brother from a knife fight a couple years ago. It was some gang initiation thing. I guess they just randomly picked their victim one night when Tom and I were out taking a walk. We made a big mistake, cutting through their neighborhood."

"So, what did you do? Whip out the badge and handcuffs?" Joe teased.

Lily chuckled. "Nah. I was fresh out of the Academy back then. Didn't carry handcuffs."

"What happened, then?"

"I remembered my best kickboxing moves," she replied proudly. "I got cut a few times, but I did win the fight."

Joe grinned down at her. "I never would have figured you for a kickboxer."

Lily matched his grin, giving a noncommittal shrug.

Joe took a deep breath and exhaled loudly, leaning his head back against the wall. "Ah...this is ridiculous. I'm locked inside a ten-foot wooden cube with a pretty girl, and we're comparing battle scars."

"Can you think of anything better to do as we wait for Darnell?" Lily retorted lightly, filing away into the back of her mind the fact that he'd called her 'a pretty girl'.

Joe thought for a moment. "We could take a nap," he answered, only half-joking.

"You know, I just might do that," Lily responded softly, closing her eyes and leaning back fully against Joe's body.

Joe idly tapped his fingers against his companion's left knee, in no distinct musical pattern. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall," he quietly sang. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer..."

Lily snickered at his choice of entertainment.

Her amusement caused Joe to chuckle, too. "Take one down, pass it around...ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall."