Angel of Death by DD Agent
I do not own NCIS or any of its characters, or its settings - all belongs to the lovely folks at CBS.
I know its been a long time coming, but here is the new chapter of Angel of Death. The final chapter will be up next week, eeek! Thank you for everyone who hasn't forgotten this story, and who has been desperate for an update! Huge thanks and hugs to HuddyJibbsAddict, left my heart in Paris, MTGZ, KSPB, MissJayne, Tony and Ziva Forever, Mrs Elizabeth Gibbs, JibbsShipper and Kari-Kateora for reviewing chapter five. You're all awesome!
Hope you enjoy!
His heart was beating in his ears as he raced through the halls of Bethesda. He didn't know what was going on in his mind, just sure that he needed to get to Jenny as quickly as he could. The security detail he had left in place to protect her stopped him at the end of the corridor, and told him that he had to wait until they got the all clear from the doctors to let him through. But Jethro didn't want to wait, he needed to see her.
He needed to see if what they were saying was true.
"Jethro," Stan patted his shoulder and forced him into one of the horrible plastic seats in the ward. He didn't want to sit there; he wanted to be with her, shake her, find out what the hell was going on with the woman he loved. "Give them some space, we'll see her soon enough."
He managed to nod, and leaned back in one of the seats. His hands wrung themselves over each other, and he failed to settle himself. The call still rang in his ears. The idea that Jenny had tried to kill herself seemed unnatural to him. But Jenny had been sure her new friend couldn't have done it either. Maybe the night before was her final goodbye before removing herself from the world that had turned its back on her.
"Gibbs." Tony's voice was somewhere above the din of his own thoughts. "Please tell us what's going on."
He woke up, finally. He turned to see who was there, and saw that his team had arrived on the scene, including Ducky. Jethro turned to him, hoping that he would have the courage to tell his team what he could not. It seemed that Tony and Ziva already knew that something was wrong, but didn't know all the facts. Tears were streaming down the Mossad Officer's face, and Tony looked like his world was crumbling. As his gaze switched to the medical examiner, so did theirs.
"Jenny has Muscular Dystrophy," Ducky declared. Abby, standing by the nurses station, let out a sob. McGee immediately put his arms around her. Ziva and Tony just looked confused. "She…her muscles are failing her. She doesn't have a lot of time left."
Ziva nodded, still crying. She slowly sat on a plastic chair, resting her head on Jethro's shoulder, looking for comfort. He put an arm around her, trying to get the same comfort for himself. "The disease…I've heard of it. It's hereditary. Jenny's grandmother had it."
That was news to most of the people in the room, especially the men who had known Jenny the longest. Jethro held Ziva closer, not sure what else to do. Abby was still being swallowed by McGee, and Tony was standing still, not sure what to do with his hands. Will Decker walked over to him and offered his. Tony looked glad for the contact.
"I'm Will Decker, used to work with Jenny and Jethro back in the mid nineties. You already know Stan." Tony smiled and shook his hand. The shake turned into a hug, and Tony gripped the man he had never met before. It just seemed natural to be clinging to someone.
"Good to see you Stan," Abby murmured from her place in McGee, and Stan gave a little salute at his favourite forensic scientist.
The security detail in front of them conferred with the doctors and nurses coming out of Jenny's room at the end of the hall. One of the agents, Agent Root, came over to them and went straight to Jethro. The older agent ran a hand through his salt and pepper beard, and turned to him gravely.
"They seem to think that Director Shepard tried to kill herself. They haven't found the blade she used to slit her wrists yet, but they're searching for it. Her wounds have been dressed; the staff shrink from NCIS has been called. She's ready to see you if you want to see her."
Jethro nodded, and handed Ziva over to Stan. He put an arm around her, trying to give her some comfort. Two generations of teams clashed together as Jethro walked the white corridor to see Jenny, to see whether she had tried to give up on everything waiting for her in cheap plastic seats. They watched as the defeated man rested his hand on the door knob, and they all turned away as he went inside.
The sheets had been freshly changed, the previous ones having been covered in blood. Her medication had been upped, but the device where she could up it herself had been removed. She was on official suicide watch, and Jenny had never felt more like blowing her brains out. Because although she had wanted something other than lying in a hospital bed for the rest of her days, she hadn't tried to kill herself.
She considered this to be a warning by Doctor Thomas. She was on his case, and he must have seen her research when she had fallen asleep. The missing files were proof of that. Now if she could only persuade Jethro and Tim that she hadn't tried to kill herself, then they could investigate the possible psycho treating patients on the ward.
Jenny ran her fingers through the ends of her tangled red hair, and watched with a hesitant expression as the door knob to her hospital room turned and someone entered. She felt her heart leap as she recognised the fingers and features of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, her partner and the man she loved. But as she looked up at his face, she realised that the feelings were less than mutual.
He stood at the foot of her bed for what seemed like hours, neither of them sure what to say. She had had a speech all planned out in her head, telling him how she hadn't tried to kill herself and that he shouldn't believe such lies. But with him in front of her, the words wouldn't come.
"Was last night your last goodbye to me?"
She could barely hear his words, so Jethro repeated them. When he did, Jenny realised what he must think. The night before hadn't been her last moment of happiness with him. It had been the first of many similar wonderful nights to come.
"You really think that I would try to kill myself, Jethro?" Jenny asked, pulling herself from under the sheets and standing on her own two feet. Her entire body hurt, but she wasn't going to lie in her death bed and have this argument with him.
He growled the words back to her. "Can you really expect me to think anything less? After everything you've said and done this last week, you honestly expect me to think you didn't drag that knife over your own wrists?"
Jenny slapped him, hating him in that moment more than she had ever done. "You know me, Jethro. You know me better than that!"
"You went on that damn raid in the hope you would get shot. You've been looking for an out for too damn long! I'm just surprised you went for something so brutal."
Jenny felt her body grow weak, so she sat down on the bed. She looked up at Jethro, her bandaged wrists resting on her knees. "You really don't know me, do you Jethro? After all this time, after all we've shared and you have no clue who I am."
He banged the wall next to the window, the panes of glass reverberating in their little pockets. Jethro's eyes were on fire, the pain in his face immeasurable. Jenny didn't know how they were going to come back from this. She didn't know if it was even possible for them to go back to what they had been after this conversation.
His next words proved it. "You didn't tell me anything about your father, anything about the Frog. Hell, you didn't even tell me that your grandmother died of the same disease that you've got! How am I supposed to trust you when you tell me so little? How am I supposed to think I know you when I find out things that change all I know?"
Jenny stood up again, pushing herself into his face. "Really? You want to play that card? That is how I felt when I found out you had a wife and a child. That is how I felt when I discovered you had an entire life before we met, something that had changed you so completely, that still haunts you. Now you know how it feels to have someone keep something so big from you."
"You've always known who I was, Jen, and how I felt about you. You've kept so many things from me. You didn't even tell me you were sick, dammit!" He sighed. "I don't know you."
Jenny snorted. "I've kept so many things from you? Really? Of the big things, of the big things, I've only kept three things to myself. My father, my illness." She paused. "And my refusal to kill any more people." Jethro turned to her, confused. "Our last Op in Paris, I didn't kill my target. I got close, but I bottled it and left."
His eyes drew up in alarm. "What? You told me you made that shot. You told me you killed her. I would have gone back and covered for you, I'd have killed her for you. Instead you lied, and put all of us at risk? There is a terrorist out there that knows your face, Jen! How could you be so damn stupid?"
"Like it'll make a difference anymore anyway!" Jenny yelled, pushing him in the chest. "I was standing there, in that rain and I couldn't make the shot. Anatoly was the danger, she wasn't. And after two years of assassinating arms dealers and terrorists and serial killers throughout Europe I'd had enough. I'd had enough of killing. That's why I left you. Because I got a job offer that could lead me to being Director and I'd never have to take another shot like that again."
Jethro turned to the window. "You've killed a lot of people, Jen."
"Never without a reason. If you think about it, the only people who I killed were people who had hurt me, or had hurt those I loved." She sighed. "You remember that first time we met, Jethro? The first man I ever killed had a gun pointed at you, was about to kill you."
Jenny rested a hand on his shoulder, before crawling into bed. She sighed, and pushed the sheets up to her neck. "You can scream to the heavens that you don't know me, that I'm not the same person. Well let me simplify matters for you, Jethro. My name is Jenny Shepard. My father was murdered by an arms dealer. I'm the Director of NCIS, in the position to stop more daughters becoming the same. And I'm in love you, I've always been in love with you, and I will be until the day I die."
Jethro left the room, slamming the door behind him. She didn't think she was going to get any help with Thomas, and now she had nothing to defend herself with. Along with the paperwork about his previous work, something else had been taken.
The knife Jethro had bought her so many years ago was missing too.
"Do you want a cup of coffee?"
Will Decker looked up from his spot on Jenny's sofa and smiled at the woman. He didn't know her name, but she was beautiful. Age appropriate, with the prettiest corkscrew curls and a stunning smile. He ripped his hat off his head and smiled back at her. She looked like she had been crying, and Will pulled out a handkerchief and handed it to her.
"I'll trade it for a cup of tea."
The woman nodded and left Jenny's office. When she came back, she was carrying a small pot of tea with two cups and a plate of biscuits. He immediately went for one of those, and then used his other hand to shake hers and offer her a place on the sofa. She looked like she wanted to talk.
"My name's Will. I used to work with Jenny when she first started at NCIS." He poured them both a cup of tea, and handed one to her. "You close to Jenny?"
She nodded. "I've been her assistant for a long time. I worked in MTAC for a few years, and one day I helped Director - I helped Jenny find some files she had been looking for. She offered me the job as her assistant - it would be a serious pay rise and I'd get to work with her directly. I'd been following her career for quite some time, and I couldn't refuse." She brushed some hair behind her ear. "I'm Cynthia, by the way. Cynthia Sumner."
He gestured for Cynthia to drink more of her tea, and he took some of his own. "You know, Ducky always used to make me tea when I worked here. When we were in Europe, I'd always make a cup of tea to soothe me. Just seemed to warm me up and make me think that everything was going to be okay."
Cynthia's smile faded. "But it's not going to be okay, is it? Because Jenny's dying. I've had to fill her prescriptions, make her doctor's appointments. Just stand there and do nothing. It's not my place to sit her down and ask her to save herself."
Will could hear the sounds of Jethro and Stan coming up the stairs. After talking to Jenny, Gibbs had asked both of them to come back to her office to talk. Will reached over and squeezed Cynthia's hand, and she clung back.
"Thank you for the tea, Cynthia."
He couldn't say anything more to her. The door to Jenny's office opened, and Jethro and Stan came through. Cynthia took her cue, squeezed Will's hand again and left. Jethro ignored the tea on the tray and headed to Jenny's drink cabinet. He passed Stan a tumbler of bourbon, and gave one to Will who dumped it in with his tea. A glass of bourbon stood with a gutted Jethro as he looked out onto a rainy Washington DC, as if the capital was mourning the loss of Jenny Shepard as much as he was.
"You remember that op we worked in Paris before Jenny left, Deck?" Jethro asked the pair sitting on the sofa.
Will nodded. "Arms dealer and his girlfriend. I provided the info, you provided the execution. Was a very depressing operation, we all got shot at on that op."
Stan turned to his old teammates, confused. "Where was I during this?"
"It was after you screwed up in Naples the first time, and Morrow brought you back," Decker explained. "But this is ancient history, Gibbs, why are you bringing it up?"
Jethro sipped at his tumbler of bourbon before downing the harsh liquid in one. Stan and Decker exchanged danger looks as their former boss reached over and refilled the glass once more. After his second, he slammed the tumbler down on Jenny's desk.
"Jenny didn't shoot her target. She's still out there. I need you two to track her down, and do what Jenny couldn't," the anger in his voice was enhanced by the bourbon he had just inhaled, but Will was still worried. This couldn't be the same man who the other day had expressed his love for the troubled redhead who seemed so lost.
"She was having trouble in that mission. I think she was getting tired of killing people," Will murmured, polishing off Cynthia's tea.
Stan shook his head. "She had no trouble pointing a gun at me in Naples."
Jethro smiled from the other side of the room, something Jenny had said coming back to him and making him smile. "That's because your actions meant I got shot. She had no problem protecting those she loved."
Will stood up and rested a hand on Jethro's shoulder. "What did you and Jenny talk about?"
"Mostly about how we're in love with people we don't really know," Jethro admitted. He reached for the bottle again, but Will got there first. He twisted the lid back on and tossed it to Burley, who caught it like a pro.
Stan put it under a pillow as he walked over to the two of them. "You honestly don't believe Jenny tried to kill herself, do you Gibbs?"
Jethro snorted from her desk. "You honestly don't believe that there's an Angel of Death stalking Bethesda and ripping up people's wrists, do you Burley?"
The three men turned to the sound of Ducky entering Jenny's office. He had some reports in his hand, and he walked in with a purpose. The men cleared around to Jenny's side of the desk and let Ducky display his findings. They were photographs of Jenny's wounds before they had been bandaged. Jethro turned away from them, not wanting to look. Will turned sadly towards Ducky. Where had his faith gone?"
"Abby told me of Jenny's suspicions, and I wanted to have a look at her wounds. They were definitely made by a knife, perhaps even Jenny's," Ducky began. "But look at them. When someone tries to kill themselves, the wounds are deep, gouging, and straight."
Will picked up the photographs, feeling a chill run through him. He missed this, solving crimes and working alongside Ducky, Burley and Gibbs. And Jenny. He missed her most of all. "The wounds don't look deep. And they're not straight, either, they look like slashes."
Ducky smiled. "Indeed. The wounds weren't fatal. They were flesh wounds that bled a lot but didn't hit any major arteries. There are no hesitation marks either. The angle of the wounds suggests that the person behind them was cutting away, rather than in. These wounds weren't intended to kill, and these wounds weren't made by Jenny."
Jethro looked up from the window and turned to Ducky. His mind was on overdrive, and the previous conversation was put aside by the simple notion that made his heart crawl into his throat.
"Jenny's in danger."
She had been crying most of the afternoon, thinking about her fight with Jethro. It was stupid that after the wonderful words they had shared they were back to being at odds. She had never had so many regrets in just a week alone. She should have never let Jethro into her hotel room that night in Los Angeles. She should have kissed him goodbye at the door, and carried on this path alone. Then she might be dead, having the hero's death she felt she had earned.
"Look what state you got yourself in now, Probie."
It wasn't Jethro's voice, and he was the only one who had ever dared call her Probie. As she looked out from under the sheets, she saw that she was no longer alone in her hospital room. Mike Franks was at the foot of her bed, sitting in the chair that Tim and Jethro had spent long hours in. He threw a box of tissues at her, his attempt at being chivalrous.
"Mike? What are you doing here?" He didn't answer; instead he brought out a bottle from under his jacket. Jenny licked her lips. Mike filled one of her water glasses with it and passed it to her. "God bless you, Mike."
He titled his glass in her direction. "No blessing needed. You look like hell, Director."
Jenny realised she must. Her eyes were red, and felt swollen. Her hair was tangled in knots from too many restless night's sleep. The last night she had slept well she had spent in Jethro's arms.
"You didn't answer my question, Mike. Why did Jethro call you in?"
Mike pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He tapped one out of the pack and brought out a lighter, lighting the small white stick and inhaling the fumes with a smile. Jenny shifted on the bed and put her hand out for one.
"Didn't know you smoked."
She smirked. "I'm dying; I don't think there are any restrictions on me. Now give me a goddamn cigarette or I'll head slap you."
Mike grumbled and handed her one. He even lit it for her, and Jenny happily blew out the smoke. She had taken up smoking as a teenager, desperate to try and rebel against her mother. She'd given it up when she had returned to her father, but still remembered the motions and how good the nicotine felt. But after her second puff, her lungs started to reject the smoke.
He handed her a glass of water and she smiled at his kindness. "Probie decided you needed to have a better security detail after they realised you didn't try and off yourself."
Jenny leaned back against her pillows, still holding the cigarette. "Jethro thinks that I didn't do this to myself? He couldn't have realised that a few hours ago before he chewed me out?" Jenny grimaced.
Mike shrugged, and reached over to finish her cigarette. "Probie loves you, and wants you safe. That's all I know."
"Yeah, right. There's no chance for us anymore, our argument pretty much put paid to that."
Mike nodded, and moved over to the window. He opened it up and dropped the two cigarette butts out of it, before lighting up another. Jenny opened her hand up but Mike decided to head slap her instead.
"You know, I've never been a fan of yours."
Jenny rolled her eyes. "I know, I know. Woman Director and all that bullshit. Well don't worry; Leon Vance will be more than willing to jump in my office once I'm cold and dead in the ground."
Mike reached over to head slap her again, but Jenny shifted out of his way as quick as she could. She still caught her side on the sheets and ended up gripping them in pain. She was a wreck of her former self. Mike sat on the side of her bed, looking at her with pity. She hated seeing that look.
"I hated you because of what you did to Jethro. While he was in Mexico, I had to listen to everything you two did together as partners. Every word out of that boy's mouth was to do with you. How pretty you were, how much he cared about you, how he wished you felt the same…you think he came back to NCIS for the dazzling pay cheque? He came back for you."
Jenny bowed her head, looking anywhere other than at Mike. "I guess I wasted another chance with him. I'm always wasting my chances with him. Always running away when I should be jumping him."
Mike snorted, and brought out his bottle to give her a top up. "If you weren't dying, what would you be doing?"
Jenny thought it over. "I'd be in my office, probably yelling at Jethro. Maybe going on a date with some handsome rich boy who I don't care about but will make Jethro jealous." She looked down at her clasped hands, at her bandaged wrists. "I wouldn't be telling him I loved him, I'd be waiting for him to make the first move, to give me some indication that he wants me back."
"Did you ever think, Jenny, that he was waiting for you to make the first move? That after you left him in France, he wanted to make sure that you still wanted him?"
She sighed, resting her head against the pillows. "We're both idiots."
Mike grinned. "Yeah, you are. But the good thing is that I hear from a certain forensic scientist that you have options. That you don't have to sit around and murmur about all the things you haven't done. Just need to get off that pretty little ass of yours and want it bad enough."
Jenny smiled, taking a sip of her drink and wondered when she had lost sight of that.
Julian Thomas was a creepy looking doctor who specialised in degenerative diseases. At his last three hospitals, several of his patients had killed themselves. Now he was at Bethesda, and three of his patients, including Jason Link, had followed suit. And Jenny, his Jenny, had had her wrists sliced open by the monster standing in front of the interview room glass.
"You sure you're up for this, boss?" Tony asked, standing next to him.
Gibbs looked at the man behind the glass, watching him shiver. Damn right he should shiver, he was going to rip him apart for what he had done to Jenny, both physically and mentally.
"I'll be fine, DiNozzo. You and David wait here; me and McGee are going in."
Tim nodded at Tony before he followed Gibbs through into the interview room. Ziva moved from the back of the room and turned to the glass. She rested her head against it, another tear slipping down her face. Tony reached for her hand, and she let him hold it, needing the comfort that her partner could give her.
"Does he realise that this won't save Jenny?" Ziva asked in the silent room, the only sound being the whir of machines.
Tony nodded. "I think he's looking for something to do. This guy hurt Jenny; it's a way that he can truly express his displeasure at her getting injured. And it's a way he can apologise for chewing her out the way he did."
There was a knock at the door, and Will and Stan came in. Tony and Ziva moved apart so the former colleagues of Jenny and Jethro could watch the interrogation. Stan put an arm around Ziva again, and Will put his hand on Tony's shoulder. They all needed to support each other.
Inside the interrogation room, Jethro sat opposite Doctor Thomas and glared at him. McGee consulted Ducky's files and Abby's information, and started pacing around the table behind Thomas. The Doctor started shifting in his seat, growing uncomfortable with the so far silent interrogation. McGee looked into the mirror for a moment, before finally gathering his courage and turning around to begin.
This man wouldn't hurt anyone else.
"Doctor Thomas, do you know what NCIS stands for?"
The man coughed. "I work at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Of course I do."
McGee turned to Jethro and shrugged. "Good. Then you should know that NCIS Agents, very much like Marines and Sailors, don't like it when one of their own gets hurt, or killed." McGee flung the photographs of Jenny Shepard's wrist wounds. "You're aware that the Director of NCIS is one of your patients?"
Thomas coughed again, trying to avoid staring at her wounds. "I didn't treat her, the nurses took care of her wounds and that was it. She had a different Doctor dealing with her illness."
"So you're aware that Director Shepard is dying?" McGee asked with a calmer tone than any one of his colleagues would have exhibited. He was standing between Thomas and Gibbs now.
"Yes, I am. You going to arrest the disease that's killing her next?"
Gibbs stood up, slamming his fists down on the table. His look was murderous, and only a timed cough by McGee forced him down to his seat. Doctor Thomas began to recognise him, and he smiled.
"You're the man who violated her DNR order, aren't you? They were talking about you at the nurses' station; you threatened one of the nurses to bring her back. Were you even aware of the choice you were making when you were doing that? The pain you were condemning her to?"
McGee was now standing behind Thomas, with a few files open, reading something. Thomas kept trying to get him in his peripheral vision, but McGee kept moving out the way. Gibbs had never been more proud.
"Is that what you do, Doctor Thomas? Do you help people with degenerative diseases move on to a better place?"
Thomas tried to shift around but McGee moved behind him again. "I believe in euthanasia, yes, but I would never deliberately kill one of my patients! I believe the patient should have that choice. Like Jennifer Shepard had when she signed that DNR order. You want to look at a murderer, I suggest you look at yourself," Thomas directed at Gibbs.
That pushed Gibbs over the edge, and he grabbed the contents of McGee's files and tipped them out in front of Thomas. They were autopsy photographs from every one of his patients who had killed themselves. Thomas looked at them with a paling eye.
"Wha-What is going on here?"
Jethro picked out the photograph of Jason Link. "You remember him? You remember slitting his wrists to 'help' him get rid of the pain? If you'd upped his medication, or maybe stopped his oxygen I'd maybe believe this Angel of Death act. But you - you make me sick. You're not helping people, you're just a monster."
Doctor Thomas looked at the photographs and turned them over. Something was wrong, Jethro could sense it. A real serial killer would look at these photographs like trophies, would relish in this interview. But Thomas looked like his world was ending, that he couldn't believe all his patients had not killed themselves but actually been murdered.
There was a knock on the door, and McGee went to answer it. Abby was standing there, buzzing with some new information. Both men went outside, leaving Thomas alone with the photographs of his victims. Once the door was closed, Gibbs turned to Abby. He hated being disturbed in interrogation.
"What is it Abby?" Gibbs growled at her.
She handed him a file. "I checked Doctor Thomas' history. He worked at four hospitals before the four, including Bethesda, that his patients started killing themselves at. But I started to wonder why there weren't any victims at the other four hospitals he'd worked at."
McGee nodded. "Maybe something happened between hospitals four and five that made him think about terminal patients differently."
Abby sighed and pointed Gibbs to half way down the page he was reading. "It's a good theory, but it's not true. I checked through the hospital staff records, to see if there were any matches. Janis Crane is a Nurse on Jenny's ward. She worked with Thomas in his three previous hospitals - apparently they worked so well together he recommended her to work at his new post every time." She swallowed. "She worked at two hospitals before she met Thomas. Hospital one noticed a distinct rise in their terminal patients dying. Hospital two had the same rise, but for the first time had suicides."
Gibbs looked through the pane of glass and watched as Thomas shied away from the photographs. In the file was a photograph of Janis Crane. McGee looked at it. She was the woman who had told them about Jason Link's death. She was the woman who had given Nurse Callie Jenny's file back on that first day at the hospital.
She was the one who was currently taking care of Jenny.
When Jenny woke up after a light nap, Mike was gone. Her room smelled of cigarettes, but it was a smell that made her feel less alone in the world. She rubbed her hands over her face just as the door to the hospital room opened, and Nurse Crane came in. She seemed so upbeat, too upbeat for Jenny's liking. People were dying on this ward, she didn't need happy smiles.
"Good Afternoon, Director. Would you like to have dinner in the cafeteria today?" Nurse Crane asked. "Get you out of this room?"
Jenny nodded. She'd like some fresh air, would like to move around a little. "Yes please. Where's Mike gone?"
Nurse Crane smiled again. "Your friend went out to make a telephone call. Nurse Callie went with him, to make sure he didn't burn the place down. Smells like he's done a number in this room!" She helped Jenny into her wheelchair. "Director, you wouldn't happen to know what your Agents want with Doctor Thomas, would you? He went out in handcuffs about an hour ago."
She started pushing them out of Jenny's room and down an empty corridor. Their ward was next to a couple being renovated. Jenny just smiled, happy that Thomas had been arrested. She was safe.
"No idea, I'm sorry."
Jenny kept smiling. Mike was probably off checking to see if Thomas had confessed, but with Jethro handling the interrogation she had no doubt he would. Now she could think on Mike's words, and think about actually getting out of Bethesda. As her thoughts turned to what she'd have at the cafeteria, she missed the banging of the cupboard door as Mike Franks' bound feet continually hit the wood.