CHAPTER 4- A deal

Again, sorry with late update and I can't give you any better excuse than the one last time. Exams hurt me. I can't sit in front of the screen for less than ten minutes without my parents screaming at me to study.

Anyways, thank you lovedietcoke, coolaquarin, VeeFall, FMSMandi, i luv ewansmile and Preeti for your reviews for the last chapter! It is really nice to know what you think! Thank you very much!

Onwards to the story!

*-*-*-*Miami, 10 45 hours, 18 November 2012*-*-*-*

Sam could not resist. He kept on switching glances from Michael to Pearce as they stared at each other stoically, neither dropping their gazes as they exchanged unspoken words over their shared look. They sat on two couches exactly opposite each other, their backs straight with tension and occasionally, they twitch their head in irritation. Ruth had served both of them tea but they sat on their saucers on the glass coffee table in between them. No tea was sipped over the past five minutes and no one moved in the living room. Even the baby, Charlie, had fallen quiet and was watching Michael and Pearce with wonder on his face. But no one noticed the child. They were all watching the two glaring adults who had not spoken a word since they sat on the plump couches.

Pearce felt heated under the eyes of every single living being in the room. Even the little boy was staring at her, his small mouth open slightly in a baby-like astonishment. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Nate and Ruth standing on each side of Sam. Their arms were crossed and they were impatient for them to start talking but neither dared to make a sound to urge them on. Michael looked as though he was going to explode anytime soon so the best move was probably to be still and shut up. What was more, she noticed a barrel of a gun sticking out of Michael's waistband of his slacks. Despite her having her own gun at the moment, she was not comforted. If a gunfight was started, there was no doubt who would pull his gun out first.

Feeling the pressure of so many eyes on her, she decided to make the first move. She leaned forward and she saw Michael tensing up even more. He was so tensed that even a slightest tremor would break him. Pearce decided not to be the tremor so she quietly picked up her cup of tea and brought it to her lips, sensing the slight release of strain in his body. She sipped her tea, finding it surprisingly nice for the wife of a Westen. Taking a larger gulp down, she set her cup on its saucer again before crossing her legs daintily, placing her hands on her knees.

"It has been quite so time Westen." She mentally smacked herself for unconsciously starting small talk. She had made a point to make as little conversation as possible and get straight to the point. Yet, her old self which was usually at ease around Michael kept on surfacing.

Michael cocked his head to his left, his eyes flashing as he pondered on her words, searching for any hidden meaning. Finding none, he replied emotionlessly, "What do you want Pearce?"

Pearce bit her lip, frustrated that he was the one getting straight to the point when it should be her. His straightforwardness was such a pain sometimes yet she could not stop herself admiring it sometimes. "I'm here to make a deal with you."

A snort. She watched him angrily as he laughed softly and smirked at her. "You honestly think I would make a deal with you? You, of all people?" Michael's voice was humorous but it held all the traces of venom and seriousness that was Michael Westen's.

"Hear me out," Pearce quickly said, "This is of utmost importance and you are the only one who can help us.

"Us?" he repeated. "You are saying you want me to help you and the company? The organization that locked Fi behind bars for a crime she did not commit?"

The wedge that drove them apart was brought up and Pearce felt her anger heightening when she heard him deny the truth that the Glennane girl killed two men. She hated weakness and she certainly hated it when people allow their emotions get in the way of real justice and missions that benefitted her country. While following emotions might be able to appease the battle within a person, following orders from superiors with the country's best interests in mind would profit an entire country.

Keeping her emotions in check, she just nodded and replied, "We are willing to listen to your plea for Ms Glennane's case if you help us out."

Michael stared at her. It was not every day the CIA considered releasing a criminal from their prisons, even if it was in forfeit. They would surely try to arrest Fi again, even if he helped them. That was the way of the CIA- everything goes according to their plans and no 'evil criminal' would be loose on the streets. Just thinking about it gave Michael a headache as he tried to figure out the loopholes that the CIA had set up. He was not going to let any chance of getting Fi out of prison, even if it meant he had to help the company in whatever important mission that they require of him.

However, he could not seem too interested or eager of the agent's offer. It would not be beneficial to him and the odds would be tilted towards the CIA's side- something he did not want badly. Keeping his face emotionless, he questioned, "What are the terms?"

Pearce watched the ex-covert spy carefully, trying to catch a glimpse of any sort of emotion to crosses his face but to her disappointment, found none. She settled back on her couch, making herself look calm and composed when her heart was beating furiously against her ribs. It was so fast and loud that she was pretty sure that Michael could hear it but then again, he did not show any sign of noticing. "We offer the retrial of Ms Glennane…"

"Retrial?" he interrupted, much to her annoyance. She shut her mouth, cocking an eyebrow at him, silently indicating for him to continue. "Just a retrial?" Michael repeated, his temple starting to throb as he gritted his teeth.

"Yes," the agent answered stonily, not helping his mood at all. "I believe that would be enough-"

"No it is not." Michael had stopped holding his emotions in but instead, had used it to spice his voice with venom. "I had pleaded for her but no one took my words into account. A retrial would not suffice to guarantee her freedom and I am not taking anything less than her freedom as well as mine so we could live without the interference of you or the company."

"So if you want my help, that are my terms," Michael snarled, sitting back in his couch while folding his arms. "Take it or leave it." His voice indicated the finality in the matter and Pearce could not help but feel threatened by the man.

She chewed the insides of her mouth angrily, thinking about his conditions and how she was going to explain it to the higher-ups back in the office but she knew that if she stalled or returned to the office to get their permission, Michael would leave and escape. With little time on her hands, she had to think quickly on how she could create a loophole for her to use so she would be able to get the Glennane woman back to where she belong- prison. She wondered why Michael still believed and supported Fiona even when she did terrible, terrible things and most of them were for her own selfish wants. Joining the IRA and everything before becoming an illegal bounty-hunter, she was never on the right side of justice. Michael however, was a soldier before becoming a spy, someone who gave up his life and innocence to protect the needs of his country or company. She wondered why he had fallen for the total opposite of him.

Snapping out of her reminiscing of their odd relationship, she focused on the loophole she had to create. She glared at Michael who returned the hate happily and she felt an immediate urge to knock him out just for her own satisfaction.

Wait, she thought, her eyes widening slightly, I totally forgot that I did not even tell anyone else in the Company about the deal. They did not even say I could use Glennane as a bargaining chip. However, this serves my purpose.

"Fine," she snapped at him, seeing a shocked reaction in return. "Ms Glennane would be released." Well, that's what I say…

She saw a flash of relief in Michael's eyes but it was quickly replaced with suspicion and wariness before his eyes became shielded again. She felt a sense of appreciation at his fast restoration of his mask but felt some thrill of fear. She hoped he would not figure out her lie. If he did… she shuddered to think what he would do to her and everyone she cared for.

"Since we got to the end of the terms, let's talk business."

Pearce halted before nodding to the audience who stood around them. They stared at her, open-mouthed, unsure of what she meant but Sam recovered quickly and he hurriedly said, "Today is a nice day, isn't it? Let's go out for a walk!"

He grabbed Nate who pulled his wife but that was before she managed to pick up her little son. Then together, they trooped out of the house and slammed the door shut behind them. Pearce breathed out a sigh of relief as she could now speak freely. She did not want to share the news that an assassin, who was notorious for his many kills, was now restarting his fearsome killing after more than ten years of disappearance. No one knew why nor did they really care. All they wanted was for this monster to be stopped.

She glanced at Michael who was still looking at her impassively, waiting for her to speak. She took a deep breath, knowing that once she told him the confidential details, there was no turning back. She would have to stick to him like a piece of gum on his shoe to ensure that he would not do anything stupid. She was not going to let him and his big head take over the mission and turn it into a huge disaster as he usually did. And unlike the past where he could always fix everything again, this time, one mistake can turn the tables around on them. She was not going to let that happen and she would make sure of it. Even if she had to point a gun at Michael.

"You need to know that whatever said in this room has to remain confidential."

Michael just gave a sharp nod at her words, waiting for her to move on. Pearce took a deep breath before saying, "The Black Panther's back."

Silence met her words. There was no change in Michael's facial expression and she narrowed her eyes at him. He was too uncaring for one who had been part of a mission to annihilate the Panther twenty years ago. The mission that failed terribly, resulting in many American lives destroyed. Michael was one of the very few survivors and yet, he held no anger or fear in his eyes. She silently prayed that it was hidden behind that stone cold mask of his.

"We want you to find the Panther." She stopped there. That was all there was to the mission. It was simple. Stop the Panther. Stop the killing. Stop the rogue assassin.

"Alive or dead?" Pearce perked up at Michael's question. He stared at her, making her feel as though he was drilling her with those eyes. He held her gaze evenly, not a shred of emotion in his eyes as he repeated, "Dead or alive?"

Pearce did not know. She was just told to stop the Panther but she was not told on the conditions. She just knew that he had to be stopped. But then again, the Panther was notorious and the only one who was never seen. Everyone who had seen the Panther did not live to tell the tale. She often wondered how he escaped scrutiny and watchful eyes as well as ensured that there was no evidence leading back to the man himself. It was mind-blowing, the man's intelligence and skill. He was certainly of the highest caliber and if the CIA acquired the information on how he did everything he did, they might be able to catch the numerous enemies, terrorists and what-not that threatened the States.

Making up her mind, she replied, "Alive. At least so he can talk. I want to know how he does everything."

Michael smirked at that. He stood up, signaling the end of the conversation. It was also a clear dismissal of Pearce. She hurriedly stood and she looked him in the eye again. "Well?" she asked, waiting for his response to the mission.

"A chance to take down the man who killed so many and at the same time save my girlfriend?" Michael gave her a crooked smile. "I am not passing the chance."

She broke out into a big smile at that, relieved that she enrolled Michael into the mission. Although she hated him and he returned the feeling almost too happily, she knew that with him on task, the mission would most likely run smoothly without many hiccups. Well, that was what she hoped. The mission would be smooth, sure, but the road was going to be long and painful. For everyone.

"Great," she said briskly, "I expect you to be at the CIA building tomorrow at 13 00 hours sharp to go over the mission in greater detail."

She spun on her heel and headed towards the door. Through the window pane, she saw Sam chatting to Nate and Ruth animatedly who looked as though they could no longer take the suspense of the happenings in their very own house. Sam was totally oblivious to their fidgeting and side-glances to their home, complimenting a neighbour's house who looked exactly the same as the next. Pearce allowed herself a small smile as she watched the large man's antics but another thought passed through her mind, forcing her smile to disappear.

She looked over her shoulder, noticing Michael watching her dazedly. "And Michael?" she called, getting his attention immediately. He snapped out of his daze and stared at her with more focus.

"Do remember what is at stake here." She needed to rub it in his face. The freedom of his girlfriend and a chance to live a life with her were at stake and Pearce needed to ensure that he would keep them in mind. So that he would not screw it up. Michael gave a half-hearted growl in response, much to her satisfaction.

"And you make sure that you remember what you promised me Pearce," he answered back. "If you don't, you will see what I can do.

She shuddered slightly, hearing the acidity of his threat. She was not willing to experience the wrath of Michael Westen. Glaring at him, she snapped, "I won't. Make sure you don't as well."

Flinging the door open with rekindled anger, she stepped out and without turning back, slammed the door.

Sorry for such a LOOOONG wait! Exams you see… I can spout out all the excuses but I think you all know the main reasons to why there's such a long wait.

Sorry for short chapter as well. I will try and make up with the next chapter! So please hang on and bear with me and look out for the next chapter!

And DO REVIEW! Thank you very much!