First I want to thank Nr. Six for the review. That made my day :-)

Chapter 17

As Alex came home, she woke up her computer. She clicked through the airport website till she found the "bording" button and got a bit sad. The last six seats were sold just five minutes ago. She opened her e-mail queue to send it to Paula and Kevin. She wondered how she could inform Dr Blythe.

As she noticed that she´d got an e-mail not even ten seconds ago she hesitated for a few moments. An address she didn't knew. Alex clicked at it, and it opened.

"Dear DCI Fielding," it read. She grimaced.

"I know I shouldn't have your e-mail address, but it was written down on some of the papers DS McIntyre lost. I couldn't resist. Hope you don't mind. Say hello to Ben from me.

I saw you hadn't bought the tickets yet, so I did it before someone else can do.

Sincerely yours,

Michael

P.S.: It´s always a pleasure to meet you."

A light smile escaped from her lips as she read it and finally closed her account to arrange everything.

First Alex packed her suitcase, and then Bens. When she was ready, it already was past midnight.

She went in Ben´s room. "Ben, wake up." She softly shook him.

"Mmh?" he mumbled sleeping.

"Wake up. In three to four hours we´re going to be on plane, there you can sleep again."

"´lane? We´re visiting family?" Ben was still sleepy but sat up now. Eyes still closed.

"We are going to visit Tony. But we won´t be alone. Just wait and see."

"´s not here? Where´s he then?"

"Moscow." She answered.

"Russia? What´s he doing there?"

"Enjoying to be alone…I honestly don't know, but I´m certain not that what he probably should do." She kissed him on the forehead. "Come on. Change cloths."

"Woah, mom! I´m grown up." He laid back and then sat up again.

"But you´re awake now." She grinned. Alex stood up. "Very grown up when you can´t go swimming on your own." She said leaving his room.

Some hours later she sat in the board café, watching out the window. She knew they were early.

"Why are we that early?" Ben asked -of course he´d noticed too- seeing someone familiar stepping in the café. He blinked several times. "Oh, see. What´s Michael doing here?"

"He?" Alex snapped out of her thoughts. "Who´s what? I´m sorry Ben, I hadn't listened."

"Nothing." He said frowning, seeing Michael laying his finger against his lips and slightly shaking his head.

Alex watched his expression. "Have you seen Paula? She´s with us." She said hoping to explain her son´s reaction to her former question.

"I see," Ben answered. Paula too, where that leading to? Who else?

"Think I hadn't seen Paula yet. But I don't wonder about, it´s way too early in the morning." She maybe wouldn't have had reacted that strongly if it had been Kevin´s voice.

"Ye…wow" she almost jerked up. Resting her head in her hand as Michael sat down she said: "Never do it again. I guess you two still know each other. Half of us is here."

"I was right, not even seven hours." He said glancing at his watch.

Alex said nothing response.

"Has your mom said hello to you from me?" Michael asked watching at Ben.

"No," Ben shrugged and then glanced at Alex. "Mom?"

"I´m sorry Ben, what had you said?" she forced herself to concentrate on her son.

"You hadn't said hello to Ben like I asked you." Michael accused her.

"Now you can do it on your own." She replied. "Besides, I hadn't read your mail."

"Liar." He quoted. She made a face and watched away. Obeying other people in this café. She´d remembered why she´d felt that déjà vu last night. …

She´d asked the same question like Tony had done some years ago. Now she was positive about how he must´ve felt back then. Like an outcast. They all were somehow connected with each other. He and Ben were…not belonging to it.

She had no more time to muse over the direction of her thoughts because someone else stepped into her sight.

"Dr. Blythe. Good you found us." She rose from her seat and shook the old man´s hand.

"Good Morning." He shook hands with the other two. "You are Ben, right?"the old man asked concerned.

"Yeah. Who are you?" the small boy asked back.

Michael used his distraction and held an envelope in front of Alex eyes. She blinked several times before she took it and then looked at him questioningly.

"The tickets. You wanted to buy them." He explained with a wry smile.

"Be glad I did." She replied and muttered a thanks.

Finally, when Paula and Kevin had arrived and they were on plane, Paula sat down beside Kevin. She was the last traveler taking her seat. Left of her was the plane´s hallway and on the right side of her sat Kevin and then two other people she didn't know. In front of her sat Michael, next to him Alex, she´d protested to get another seat but failed thoroughly, then Ben and Dr. Blythe. It was because Dr. Blythe needed to sit next to a window and he and Ben had a conversation. And she demanded to sit next to her son. Plus one other guest had grown impatient with Michael and had forced him either to sit next to someone looking like hundred year old and quite eccentric or next to Alex. So, he´d gratefully accepted a slightly moody companion than someone with the smell of…somewhere between chemistry factory and graveyard.

Alex had the seat between Ben and Michael. She only hoped that Michael wouldn't get the idea to ask something about her life.

But he destroyed her hope as far as possible.

"Where´s the Daddy to your sweet Ben?" he asked.

"Don't know." She answered in a sharp voice. Making obvious that she wouldn't tell more about this issue.

"Oh. Sorry."

She shook her head. "What about you?"

"Since even my sister left me I´m a permanent single. She took Nelson along." when his answer wasn't serious it was true.

"Nelson?" questionably she raised one brow.

"Her dear cat." He sighed theatrically. "I think he liked Tony more than me."

"No; I had neither pats nor siblings." She mumbled.

"That explains everything." He stated. She looked at him, but knew it was a mistake in the moment he did. "Case of spoilt only child." He broke into laughter.

"Hadn´t heard this. I could arrest you." She couldn't help but giggle.

"Who are you?" asked Ben curiously.

"Tony´s dad." The old man smiled softly.

"Why hadn't he told anything about you?" Ben wanted to know.

"He didn't know that I existed." He explained.

"Why not?"

"Vanessa hadn't told him about me."

"Who´s Vanessa?"

"She´s his mother." Without hesitation Edmund answered Ben´s questions.

"Then why hadn't he told anything about his mom?"

"I don't know Ben. She hadn't told me of him either."

"Excuse me Michael. I only need to…" she smiled ruefully and gestured at him.

Michael stood up to let her pass. "Of course."

When she came back, Michaels seat was empty, and hers taken.

"What was that about the only child?" she asked, sitting down on his seat. Michael turned around, smiling apologizing.

"Ben asked me something and I thought it would be rude to talk over an empty seat. So I took yours."

She pf-ed and folded her arms across her chest.

"You think?"

"I think."

"Really?"

"Really really."

"Are you sure?"

"Am I?"

"Shouldn't you answer Ben´s question?"

"I certainly should."

"But…?"

"We´re talking now."

"Are we?"

"Yeah, and that would be impolite."

That was when Alex phone began to ring. She ignored it.

"Shouldn't you answer the phone?"

"I certainly should."

"But…?"

"We´re talking now."

"Are we?"

"I think so, yes. What do you think?"

"I?"

"You?"

Ben, who had enough of it, answered the phone. "Hey, grandpa…. That´s nice." And caught Alex attention. She leaned over to Ben, involuntary pressing her head in Michaels lab. "Ben give me the phone, please."

"I thought you´re talking." Replied Ben.

"It´s obvious that he´s your son. There´s no doubt." Michael said, grinning. Same logic as your mother. "Ben, this time I´ll support your mother. She´s right. Give her the phone."

"Here"

"Thank you." She wanted to sit up again, but winced as she tilted her head upwards. "Ow."

"You hung yourself in my coat. Shall I help you?" he stated.

"No, it´s all very fine. I can do that alone. Thanks for request." she sighed. Trying again to get herself free, "I can..."

Ben had gripped the phone again.

"Are you sure?" Michael asked.

"Of course I´m sure. Just need to get my hair out of your coat."

"Sorry, but Mom can´t speak now…. She´s kind of, kind of, …attached to Michael…"

"Ben!" she couldn´t even glance at him. Just her voice told her thoughts about Ben´s answer.

"…Carol's brother… … …Tony's girlfriend… … …Dr. Blythe son… … …Maryann's father… … …Tony's half sister… … …"

"Ben, please give me the phone. Don't tell such a damn…"

He did as asked.

"Darling, who´s that Michael?" her father asked, in a quite sorrowed voice.

"Someone I attacked with an umbrella." She heard Michael chuckle about that. And immediately threw her fist at his knee. A thing which only made him chuckle more.

"What means you´re attached?"

"I hung myself in his coat." She explained, hearing Michael giggle. "Not funny at all." She shot in his direction, throwing her fist this time directionless in the air, hoping to hit him somehow. "Be happy that I´m not in charge to do worse." She whispered before turning at the phone again as he caught her hand, and held it up.

"How does your head come near his coat?"

"Dad, I´m a grown up woman. I wanted Ben to give me the phone."

"What´s that Michael doing at your house?" he was suspicious.

"We´re at a plane. Moscow. Visiting a colleague…I know it sounds a bit strange, but everything is fine."

"All right Darling. What I want to ask was whether you planned to visit me. Would be nice to have you around again."

"Sorry, like I said, we´re on plane at the moment.. You can come over by Christmas. Ben will be happy. Maybe a big family party after so many years." She guessed.

"Would be nice. I can call around. Think they would like the idea."

"Dad?

"Mh?"

"Take care of you, please. For Ben and me."

"Christmas then. Will you be alone or…?"

"Oh, please. Dad! Alone I think." She finally answered.

"Bye Darling, see you."

"Yeah, see you. Bye." She switched off the phone and leant back as she always did, but then noticed her head was still resting in Michael's lab.

She felt Michael inhaling to say something, but she lifted her other hand to interrupt him.

"No, thank you. I can do that on my own. It´s just a small button."

"Won´t ask again."

She fumbled in her hair and tried to get it loose (with only one hand, he still had her other hand in his), instead it seemed to round tighter around it. After ten minutes she finally gave up.

"You´re right. Would you be so kind and help me?" she asked, lying back again.

"Always do." He replied and began to unwind her hair, now letting go of her hand. "I suppose your neck is hurting." He said as she attempted to sit up normally.

"I suppose you´re right at this point."

"You admitted I was right. Two times in row."

"At this point." She was still lying in his lab, even if she was free again."Now, I´m going to set my neck at the right place again if you don't complain."

She lifted her head again a bit. This time without any hurt. Suddenly she felt Michael hands at her neck.

"Setting it back in place. Not that you get a stiff throat." He explained before she could say something about his behavior.

"Men have a harder time to explain a stiff throat." She repeated feeling the tension sweep away.

"Why?" he asked a bit confused.

First she controlled whether Ben was listening. He didn't so she answered.

"Viagra. Swallow fast. Otherwise you´ll get a stiff throat." She chuckled.

"Yep, only child."