Author's Notes: Don't know what was going on with the website Thursday night and most of Friday. I uploaded the latest chapter of Gassed around 9 pm Thursday but didn't get the notification for it until about 4 pm Friday afternoon. Weird. I'm sorry if you were late getting the notification as well. It's been a tough week so I'm glad the weekend if finally here. I'm also looking forward to Spring Break coming up in a couple of weeks. I plan on getting some major writing done during my week off. I hope you enjoy this chapter.

Disclaimer: CBS, Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, and Ann Donahue own all rights to the characters and premise of the show. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.


Chapter 14

It had been painfully obvious to Lindsay that Mac had been reluctant to leave the apartment after hearing her story. Even though those events were in her past, it was as if he recognized that the memory of that time still had the power to cause her pain. Especially in light of all that had happened the past couple of days.

Finally she was able to convince him she was okay. Yes, she was battered and more than a little more than worse for wear but she could handle it. The memories were at the forefront of her mind, mingling with the current trauma. Though he didn't ask and she didn't say, they both knew the combination of the two were what had haunted her dreams. Mac only consented to going to the lab once Lindsay reminded him that the current threat from whomever had sprayed Danny was still out there and that she was trusting him and the rest of the team to get to the bottom of it before something else, possibly something worse, happened. He left after encouraging her to try to get some real rest and with a reminder that she should take it easy. He promised she'd have some visitors pop in to check on her again during the day.

Once she was alone in the apartment, Lindsay put together a small breakfast of toast and cereal to go along with her coffee. She took her time nibbling the simple meal and then cleaning up afterward and found that even that simple chore had worn her out. She was hurting but not bad enough she felt it warranted taking a strong painkiller. Instead, she curled up on the couch under a throw blanket and let herself drift off to sleep.

This time her rest wasn't plagued with the same horrible dreams as before. It was almost as if telling Mac the story of what had happened during her freshman year of college had somehow, at least temporarily, exorcised those demons. In fact, she was sleeping so hard and so well it took her several moments for her to hear the knocking at the apartment door. She grumbled sleepily under her breath that Mac hadn't needed to send someone to check on her right away. But she groggily slipped off the couch and made her way to the door. Maybe if whoever had drawn the short end of the stick saw how tired she looked, he or she would report back to Mac that it wasn't necessary to check on her every ten minutes.

Instead, all drowsiness faded immediately once she peered through the peephole and saw who was standing on the other side. Surprised, she unlocked the door and swung it open.

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

"You don't understand, my sister is in trouble and I have to find her. If you don't want to help me, let me see the people who can." The rugged man in jeans and flannel shirt would have been quite handsome if not for the troubled expression marring his boyish good looks. Usually an inviting smile where just the hint of a dimple showed was all he needed to charm someone onto his side of a disagreement. He'd often been told that if he ever decided to change careers, he could have a good future as a salesman. He would always joke back that in a way he was a salesman although what he offered didn't cost money. Today that charm wasn't working to his favor.

The female receptionist slash security guard working the desk on the ground floor of the building that housed the New York Crime Lab was used to being charmed by officers and lab employees alike and as such was now immune to such charms. "I'm sorry, sir. There is nothing I can do to help you. If someone is in trouble, you should go to the closet police precinct. The 12th is just a couple of blocks away. An officer there will be happy to take your statement and assist you."

Stella Bonasera heard the last part as she entered the building. Normally, she ignored the going on at the desk as she made her way to the elevator but the man standing there arguing with the receptionist was so familiar that it caught her eye. She detoured from her normal route and went to the desk.

"It's okay, Pam. I'll handle this." Stella held out her hand. "I see your picture just about every day. I know you are Lindsay's brother but since there are two of you with the same face, I'm not sure if you are Brett or Brian."

The visitor from Montana relaxed considerably at Stella's arrival, although the worry didn't completely ease. He shook her hand. "Brett Monroe, Ma'am. Brian wouldn't have been as pleasant. From my sister's description, you must be Stella."

"Nice to meet you." She signed him in and led him to the elevator. She wasn't sure what Brett knew about Lindsay's attack or even it had anything to do with why he was there. "Lindsay didn't tell us you were coming."

"She doesn't know." Brett admitted, worry once more the central focus of his expression. "I'm hoping I'm here just to prevent a disaster but I'm quickly losing that hope. Tell me Linds is here at work and everything is okay."

The elevator doors opened and Stella led him down the hall to her office. "What makes you think something is wrong and what disaster are you hoping to prevent?"

Brett's shoulders slumped as he collapsed in the chair she offered him. He was exhausted from taking the red-eye from Bozeman Yellowstone International straight into JFK. "Well, that answers my question, doesn't it? If she was here and okay, you would have just said so. Since you are being evasive, something must be wrong. Damn, I was hoping it was all a mistake. Okay, fine. Last night Brian got a text message from Lindsay's phone. I don't know who sent it but I know it wasn't Lindsay. She never would have sent that message to Brian. Knowing her, she wouldn't have sent it to any of us but especially not to either Brian or Jeremy. I went to her apartment and she's not there. If she wasn't there, I figured she had to be here. So what's going on? I can handle it."

Stella sat in a chair closest to Brett. She didn't understand all of his ramblings but the parts she did concerned her. He said he could handle the information but she wasn't completely sure. She eased in to what he needed to know. "Lindsay was injured a couple of days ago during an altercation. She was roughed up but not badly enough that the doctor thought she needed to be hospitalized. She's not at her apartment or here at the lab because she's staying with our boss. She wasn't injured enough to be hospitalized but the doctor didn't want her staying alone while on painkillers. She's safe. Her cell phone was stolen at the same time so, yes, any message your brother received last night didn't come from Lindsay."

Brett closed his eyes, willing himself to focus on the positive. His baby sister was hurt but apparently she was going to be okay. Still, Lindsay had already been through so much he hated to hear about even the slightest injury. When she'd talked to him several weeks ago and told him about her jaunt undercover, it had taken all his will power not to hop a flight then to come to New York and wrap her in bubble wrap. And he was probably the most level headed of the brothers.

"What happened to Lindsay? You said altercation. What was it? Shoot out? Some other cockamamie undercover stint she had no business being on? Lab accident? What? I know you are withholding information but I've been terrified since I heard from Brian last night. You can't imagine the how my imagination's been working over time coming up with the worst scenarios. Trust me, my imaginations is pretty vivid."

Stella hesitated. Brett deserved to know the truth but at what cost would it come? Danny was one of her closest friends and she'd been ready to tear him from limb to limb at first. What would Lindsay's brother, a man who'd probably spent his life protecting the youngest member of the Monroe clan, want to do to the man who had hurt Lindsay even if it hadn't been by choice? Finally she sighed. "Two days ago Lindsay went to lunch with a co-worker. While there the co-worker was sprayed with a substance that caused him to not act like himself. He attacked Lindsay."

Brett shook his head. It was as bad as he feared and would only get worse. "It was Danny, wasn't it? Is he here? I have to see him."

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

"Danny? How? I thought…" Lindsay leaned against the door, just not believing she was seeing her partner and friend standing there.

Danny shifted uncomfortably, wondering once again at the wisdom of coming to see her. He really didn't remember much of seeing her the night before due to the drugs so he took a good look at her injuries for the first time since she'd appeared at his cubicle in the Emergency room. The stitches on her cheek were no longer bandaged, giving way to her Montanan belief that it was better to let such wounds breathe. Her eye wasn't quite as swollen as it had been, it would now at least open halfway. His stomach turned at the thought that he had caused that damage even if he hadn't been in control of his own actions. "I shouldn't be here. I'm sorry…"

He turned to go but one word from her stopped him in his tracks. "Don't."

He turned back to her and she held her uninjured hand out to him, inviting him back. He jammed his own hands - he had stripped them of their own bandages himself in the shower earlier, not to let his busted knuckles breathe but to allow him to keep seeing the proof of his actions every time he looked at them - into his pockets. He didn't take her offered hand but did follow her back into the apartment. She closed the door behind them. "Mac fixed a whole pot of coffee this morning and there's still over half a pot left. Want some?"

Danny nodded. "Let me get it. You go on and sit down and get comfortable. You want some too?"

She nodded. She could sense his discomfort and it made her sad. It reminded her of the couple of days after she had stood him up when she'd treated him at arms length not wanting to discuss her reasons for not starting a relationship with him. After they had finally talked, or at least she'd given him some lame excuse for her actions, things had gotten somewhat back to normal but still a little strained. Now they were right back to that incredible awkward stage for a totally new reason.

Getting comfortable was almost impossible with her wounds but she'd just managed to find a position on the couch that didn't hurt when Danny returned from the kitchen with two mugs of coffee. He handed her one before sitting on the other end of the couch. There was room for possibly two other people to sit between them but she was glad he didn't choose the chair at the far end of the couch. She hoped a little levity might ease the tension a little. "If I turn on the news, am I going to see a live report of the hospital showing a rope of tied bed sheets hanging from your room there?"

For a moment he looked confused and then, realizing what she was insinuating, chuckled. "No, I didn't break out. The main purpose of the psych hold was Mac's attempt to keep me from being arrested. Since Mac proved that it was the spray that caused me to flip out and the assault charges have been dropped, Dr. Peterson saw no reason to continue to hold me. He still wants to see me a few times on a outpatient basis though." He said the last part without much enthusiasm and Lindsay was pretty sure he was debating whether he would do that.

"That's great."

He nodded, looking at his coffee cup to avoid looking at her. "Flack was still there when Dr. Peterson came in. He gave me a ride back to my apartment before he had to go to work. I grabbed a shower to wash off the antiseptic feel and smell of the hospital off and put on real clothes instead of the scrubs they loaned me since Stella had to take my clothes as evidence."

"And then you came here." Lindsay finished. She felt bad. Mac had thought to bring her bag of spare clothes from the lab that day in the ER. Apparently no one had thought to do the same for Danny. She hadn't even thought about it when she and Mac had headed to the hospital the night before.

"It wasn't my first plan." Danny explained. "What I really wanted to do was hop on my bike and head to Staten Island. I thought if I could go to Stanley's I could figure out who had switched the vitamins with the steroids and why. I was all set to do it too; got as far as the Verrazano bridge before I turned around. The usual Danny Messer method of trying to solve all my problems myself just always ends up causing more problems. Things go much better when I trust Mac and the team to do what's right."

Lindsay set her coffee mug on the table, trying not to wince or groan as the movement jostled her sore ribs. She knew if she did, it would only make Danny feel worse. It didn't sound like Danny held any ill will toward Mac for his deception the night before. She was sure Flack had probably filled him in already on what had happened. "Have you talked to Mac this morning?"

Danny shook his head. "Nah, I don't need to hear from him to know that I'm suspended without pay until they get to the bottom of the steroid issue." His tone was extremely bitter and then almost as if he could hear it himself, he hung his head. "Listen to me, complaining about my situation to you. You're on forced medical leave because of me. I have no room to complain to you about my work troubles. You could be at work right now if it weren't for me."

"Danny, stop blaming yourself. You were just as much a victim in all this as I was; perhaps even more so because you couldn't control anything that happened. The team is going to find out who dosed you at the diner and who gave you the steroids. Who knows, Mac could surprise you and not suspend you outright, just put you on a modified assignment in the meantime."

Danny didn't look convinced so Lindsay didn't push the issue. Instead she tried to turn his mind away from his guilt into more productive matters. "Any idea who might have switched the pills? I take it you've used Stanley's quite a bit."

"Only drug store Ma would even think about using. Small family type place; probably more like the type you'd have back home than what you would think of having in New York. Old man Stanley wouldn't hire anyone to work there that he didn't know personally. I can't imagine anyone there would do something like this. Scares me to think what else might have happened. I almost called Ma this morning to have her check any drugs she might have gotten there recently."

Hearing him mention his mother reminded Lindsay of how strained things had been for Danny with his parents every since Louie had died from his injuries the same time they had discovered that the CSI whom Lindsay had replaced had been killed by D.J. Pratt. His parents had blamed Danny for not being there when Louie had died but she knew he'd been trying to work things out. "How are things going with your parents? Last time I asked, you said things were getting better with your mother."

He nodded. "Things are almost back to normal with Ma. Still a little strained but she lets me come visit her and she calls to check on me occasionally. Pop's a different story though. He won't say a word to me. I figure eventually Ma will work on him as well and things will improve. I haven't told her anything about this though. Can't see it helping things. What about you? You talked to your family?" He didn't come out and say it but he was most worried about her brothers. He had heard stories about how protective the Monroe brothers could be toward their little sister. He couldn't imagine they would be happy to hear she'd been hurt.

Lindsay shook her head. "I haven't seen my cell phone since the diner. I asked Mac about it yesterday but he didn't say anything about it last night. I'm sure I could use his phone but I don't want to worry them. Hopefully he'll bring my phone to me today. If they try to call me and can't get me or I don't call them soon, they'll worry. Michelle's due to give birth any day now so I know Dougie will suspect something's wrong if I don't check on them."

Danny had heard so many stories about her family that he felt like he knew them all even though he had never met them. "This is their fourth child, right?"

Lindsay nodded. "All boys. Michelle was hoping this one would be a girl but I think Dougie's glad. He wouldn't know what to do with a little girl. They're going to name him Freddy."

It didn't surprise Danny that they were going to name this first baby born after their uncle's death after they man they had all loved. "You going to tell them about this?" He was sure she would; they weren't a family to keep secrets from each other.

"Are you crazy? I love my brothers but there are some things they are better off not knowing. They have a tendency of going to extremes that defy reasoning when it comes to me. I made the mistake of telling them when I was twelve about this boy in my class that was pulling my pigtails. Instead of telling me that it was just the boy's way of saying he liked me like most brothers would have, they waiting on the school playground one afternoon and scared him so badly the boy went to the principal and asked to have his schedule changed so he wasn't even in the same class as me any more."

Although Danny hated to be part of secret that Lindsay kept from her brothers, he was glad to know he wouldn't have to worry about them tracking him down to kill him. He'd seen the way Lindsay could take down men twice her size and he suspected her brothers could be equally if not more dangerous. He wasn't in any hurry to find out for sure.

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

"Look, if you care about Lindsay at all, you'll tell me where to find Danny Messer." Brett insisted when it became obvious that Stella wasn't answering his earlier questions. "I know you care about her. Linds has told me all about how great a friend you've been to her since her first day here at the lab. I can't protect her if you don't help me."

Finally Stella found her voice. "I never said it was Danny who hurt Lindsay. Besides, I told you the person who did hurt your sister wasn't in control of his actions when it happened. I can understand you wanting to be there for your sister but hurting the person you think hurt her isn't the way to do it."

"I know that," Brett assured her. "That's why I have to find Danny. I get that you don't want to betray a friend by telling me who your co-worker was that hurt Lindsay. The fact that you really haven't denied that it was Danny pretty much confirms it was him. In the long run, it doesn't matter if it was him or not; he's in trouble."

Stella raised an eyebrow. "What kind of trouble?"

"Over protective brother trouble. I didn't come just to check on Lindsay. I'm also not the only brother who dropped everything to come to New York. My twin Brian is also on his way. I just got her faster cause he had to come from California and wait for approval from his CO to leave. I bet he's probably here by now and the first place he's going is to Danny Messer. And it won't be a friendly visit."

Stella remembered Brett saying he'd come to prevent a disaster. "What exactly was in that text message Brian got?"

This time it was Brett who hedged his answer. He wasn't sure how much of her past Lindsay had shared with her friends in New York and he didn't want to spill any secrets she might be keeping. He knew what a private person Lindsay was and was pretty sure she hadn't told anyone the worst parts of her past. No sense bringing them up now and confusing the situation even more. "The message itself isn't important but the gist of it was that Danny had hurt her. Brian's more of the punch-first-ask-questions-later kind of guy. Don't get me wrong; we all take protecting Lindsay pretty seriously. I won't hesitate to throw a punch myself if the situation calls for it but I tend to take into account Lindsay's emotional well-being than Brian does. Even if Danny was the one who hurt her, she wouldn't want Brian to jump into it in his typical big brother fashion. I just hope I can get to him in time."

Seeing Mac come down the hall, Stella waved him into the office as well. She introduced him to Brett and quickly explained the situation. Then she turned back to Brett. "I don't think you have to worry about Danny. He was hospitalized after the attack. I don't think your brother could get to him even if he could find him."

Mac frowned. "There's a problem there. I just got off the phone with Flack; Danny was released from the hospital this morning. Flack took him home and then left. He'd gotten all the way to the station when he realized Danny had left his cell phone in Flack's car. He drove back to give it to him but Danny had already left. We don't know where Danny is right now."

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

"So how are you really feeling? I can tell you are trying not to let on to the pain you're having but it's obviously there." Danny asked, more of the guilt coming out in his voice than he would have liked.

"Danny, you didn't cause this; remember that.."

"Yeah, I did. I might not have been aware of what I was doing or been in control but every single damn bruise or broken bone in your body happened because I hit you or kicked you. I did that, no one else. Knowing I was drugged and ultimately not responsible helps but it doesn't alleviate all the guilt. I'm sorry, but it doesn't."

Lindsay nodded. "You remember back when I first started at the lab? You were working on that big serial killer case that had been driving us crazy for months? We finally had gotten a piece of evidence that looked like it was going to give us the proof we needed to arrest the bastard who'd been murdering teenaged girls. You were processing the evidence and asked me to hand you a chemical. I handed you the bottle and you continued to work. Do you remember that?"

Danny nodded, the case still raw in his memory. He wasn't sure why she was bringing it up now, though. "Yeah, I remember. Not even two minutes after I used it, I realized something was horribly wrong. It didn't do what it was supposed to do and the evidence was ruined."

"I had left that part of the lab and was well on the other side of the building when I heard you screaming every profanity you knew, maybe even making up a few to go along with it. I came racing back to see what was wrong to find out our one best chance of solving the murders was destroyed because the wrong chemical was used. I felt so guilty I almost went and turned in my resignation to Mac right then."

"But it wasn't your fault." Danny argued. "One of the techs had screwed up when refilling the bottle. He put the wrong chemical in by accident when he was restocking; you just happened to be the unsuspecting person to grabbed it thinking it was the correct chemical. You couldn't have known what was going on. No need for you to feel guilty."

"Didn't stop me from feeling it though. Because that evidence was ruined, we had to keep looking. We knew who was responsible for the murder but we couldn't prove it because we didn't have the evidence to back it up. He killed three more girls before he slipped up again and left us something we could catch him with. I felt responsible for every one of those girls who died because of the evidence we lost. But every time I said something you were the first person to reassure me that it wasn't my fault. You told me that my guilt was misplaced and you wouldn't let me wallow in it."

"It was and you shouldn't." Danny argued even now. He was beginning to see where she was going when a small smile appeared on her lower lip. Smiling with her top lip was apparently too painful with her cracked cheekbone.

"How is what happened with you any different? I unwittingly handed you the wrong chemical because someone else screwed up and you unwittingly used me as a punching bag because someone left you incapable of making rational choices yourself. I understand the guilt you are feeling; I really do, maybe better than anyone else . But it's misplaced just like mine was and I'm not going to allow you to wallow in it any more than you did me." Her matter-of-fact tone said she considered the matter closed.

"Fine, as long as you accept the fact that you telling me that isn't going to magically make the guilt disappear any quicker than me doing so to you made yours." He warned.

He looked a little more relaxed than he had since he walked through the door and that in turn allowed Lindsay to relax a little as well. "Agreed."

Danny shook his head, marveling at how she could feel so at ease with him after what he had done even if it had been unwittingly. He leaned over and his finger hovered just above the worst of the bruising on her cheek but still without touching her. "So, the pain?"

"Manageable." She saw the disbelieving look he was giving her. "It is. The maxillary bone it touchy but since it's not a bone that really moves, it's not as bad as it would have been if it had been the mandible. The ribs are probably giving me the most trouble just because they twinge every time I try to move. And the wrist is driving me crazy more because the brace keeps pressing against the bruises."

"The pain pills help though, right?" Danny asked hopefully, not wanting her to be in pain. He hoped Mac and the team figured out who was responsible for this quickly because he'd love the opportunity to repay some of that pain she was feeling because she got stuck in the middle.

She shrugged. "Yeah, but I'm trying to take them only when the pain gets to be too much. Mac's been really kind to let me stay here but I know he's not going to agree to me going home as long as I'm taking them. Not to mention I can't work as long as I'm on them. I know field work will be out of the question until the ribs fully heal and the brace comes off but I could at least work in the lab until then."

He could hear her frustration. "Which is all a bunch of crock really. You know if Mac had been the one injured, he wouldn't be staying with anyone or, hell, even staying off work. He'd have walked out of that emergency room and straight back to work and damn anyone who tried to suggest he should take it easy."

His description was so perfect that Lindsay couldn't help but giggle. "Mac is more of the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind of boss, isn't he? But the key word there is boss."

"Take the pills, Montana. Doc wouldn't have prescribed them if he didn't think you needed them. Have you taken any this morning?"

She shook her head and he raised his eyebrow in an unspoken question of where were they. She sighed and told him on the nightstand next to the bed in the spare bedroom. He retrieved them and returned to the couch reading the label. "One or two? Says you can take either."

"Just one for now. It'll dull the pain well enough. I save the two for nighttime." She held her hand out as he shook one pill into it. She took it with a swig of her cooling coffee. "Thanks. I don't suppose you'd do me another favor would you?"

"Anything." He assured her, his eyes reflecting the honesty on his word.

"The other night, Stella brought be a few things for me to wear but I need more stuff from my apartment. I was going to ask Mac about us stopping by to pick up a few things last night but with everything that happened it just didn't happen. I know he's going to send people by to check on me today but they are working so I'd hate to impose. You think you could go with me to my apartment so I can pack a proper bag? I'd go by myself but I'm pretty sure Mac would skin me alive if he found out and I'm also sure the bag would be heavier than what I'm supposed to lift."

"Sure, I thought you were going to ask for something difficult. I don't think you would do well on the back of my bike but we can leave it here and get a cab. I don't think you should risk getting jostled on the subway just yet. Are you sure you want me to go with you though?"

Lindsay reached out with her good hand and squeezed his hand, the first physical contact she'd had with him since he arrived. He didn't pull away from her grasp but she could tell he was uncomfortable with the contact. It saddened her because one of the first things she'd noticed about Danny was that he was a physical kind of guy. Even before there was any hint of feelings from him, he always seemed to be comfortable with touching her. Nothing major really, just a hand on her back when they were walking down a hall or a hand on her shoulder as they looked over evidence together. She never really paid much attention to it until now when it was conspicuously absent. "I trust you Danny." She got off the couch and went to the desk where she started writing on a pad of paper. Tearing the piece of paper off the pad, she saw Danny's quizzical look and explained. "You know as soon as we leave Flack, Adam, Stella, or Sheldon is going to show up to check on me. If I don't answer the door and there's no note explaining where I've gone, all hell's going to break lose."

"You tell them you're with me it still might." Danny quipped almost bitterly.

"Don't be ridiculous." Lindsay argued but in truth she had thought the same thing. That's why in her note she hadn't said she was with Danny but with a friend. She grabbed the spare keys that Mac had left for her and taped the note to the front door before pulling it closed and locking it.

The couple that technically wasn't made their way down the hall to the elevator. The car gave a little lurch as it started its decent. Lindsay stumbled with it just a little and almost instinctively, Danny's hand was on the small of her back keeping her steady. She smiled at the contact. It was the first time he'd willingly touched her since entering the apartment. Maybe they would be able to get through this after all.

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

"She's not here." Stella grumbled as she, Brett, and Mac approached the apartment door and she saw the note Lindsay had left. "She's gone to her apartment to pick up a few things."

Mac frowned. "She shouldn't be going out by herself. I would have taken her to get things she needed if she'd said something. Any of us would."

Brett laughed despite the seriousness of the situation. "My sister has a stubborn streak two miles wide. Mix that with the independent streak that's ten miles wide and she's pretty much trouble on two legs. Mom always complained that Lindsay started the terrible twos at two months and never outgrew it."

"She's not alone." Stella supplied after fully reading the note. "She says a friend came by and is going with her. You think that's Danny?"

Mac nodded. "She would have said who otherwise."

"Damn, that'll be the first place Brian goes. If Brian sees Lindsay as bruised up as you say she is AND Danny is there, it'll be a fight to the finish."

"Let's go."

- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -

"Surely I won't be there more than a couple more days." Lindsay muttered as she carefully folded a couple of outfits and placed them in the small travel suitcase opened on her bed. Danny smirked.

"I should warn you that when Flack stayed with him, it was only supposed to be about a week but it turned into more like three. Flack said he thought Mac secretly enjoyed the company and kept coming up with reasons for Flack to stay. But apparently Mac is a pretty good cook, so he didn't complain too much."

Lindsay thought about the mysterious girlfriend Mac currently had and didn't think he had that much of a need for a roommate anymore. At least not her, but she didn't say anything. "Mac said Flack had stayed there after the explosion. I couldn't figure out why there though. Flack has family in town and you for a best friend. Why did he need to stay with Mac?"

"You've seen my apartment, Montana. Not exactly extra room for a roommate, even temporarily. And, Flack's dad and sister had driven him crazy in the hospital and he was scared it would be much worse if he stayed with them or vice versa. Mac seemed like the safest choice when he offered the spare room. You need a hand with anything?"

She shook her head. "I just need to pack a few things from the bathroom and then I'll be ready." She disappeared into the bathroom just as someone knocked on her apartment door. "I guess Mac's spy hunted me down anyway. Can you get it while I finish up here?"

"Sure." Danny left her bedroom and went to the door. Expecting it to be someone from the lab, he opened it without checking the peephole. It wasn't someone from the lab but he recognized him from the many pictures he'd seen as one of the twins. For just a moment the two men locked eyes, one pair turning darker with undisguised rage. Danny never saw the fist coming until it connected solidly with his jaw.

He hit the ground hard as Lindsay's brother followed him down, a murderous rage flickering in his eyes. "You hurt my baby sister and now I'm going to hurt you."