FIRECRACKER: Fiona's adventures amongst the gunrunning community of South Florida.
A/N: I'd like to thank everybody who has left a review for this story, and those of you who have pm'd me asking what had happened to the rest of this story. I can only apologize for keeping you all waiting for this final chapter in the first story of the Firecracker series. I'd also like to thank Jedi Skysinger for reading through this chapter for me and fitting in a Beta during her busy life.
Story One: Making friends the Glenanne way
Chapter Seven: A Fresh Start.
"Relationships – they're just not my thing."
Michael Westen's words from three nights earlier drifted through Fiona's mind as she stood before a full length mirror in her motel room. Turning one way and then another, she took her time checking out her latest persona. Fiona Glenanne, hardened New York arms dealer, was gone and in her place stood Fiona Glenanne, pampered South Beach party girl, at least on the surface.
"They never were."
She studied the dress she had chosen to début the Americanized version of herself. Tilting her head to one side, she wondered what Michael would make of the new style. Would he like the soft, silky texture of the dress she had chosen? Turning to one side and then the other, she concluded he would admire the way it clung in all the right places, emphasising her waist and hips and he would no doubt note that with her hair pulled back and the single shoulder strap on the dress, it left her shoulders, neck and throat bare and very kissable.
"If it makes you feel any better, you were the closest I ever got."
She slipped her pedicured and painted toes into her new shoes, a delightful pair of knock-off, four-inch high Jimmy Choo wedges. Satisfied with her new image, she picked up her Fendi purse and strutted out of the motel room and across to the nearest commuter parking lot. It was time to go shopping for the right vehicle to match the "new" her.
"But it just wasn't close enough, – I guess."
It took her twenty minutes to find what she was looking for and three minutes for her to claim her prize: a new model dark blue Audi A4.
Driving out of the parking lot, it was lucky for Fiona that she wasn't in a rush to reach her destination as the heavy morning traffic was moving at little more than a crawl. Travelling in the slow moving queuing traffic gave her plenty of time to think about what she wanted and how she was going to set about getting it.
"It coulda worked out between us, Michael." She blinked as her own words came back to her.
She had gone about things all wrong, she realized that now. Throwing herself at him, trying to seduce him so soon after their reunion had been a mistake. He had thought that this was just another one of their ships passing in the night moments.
"You were robbing banks for the IRA."
And that's what it might have been except for two very important details. He was no longer a spy, his own people had thrown him out into the cold, and she was no longer affiliated to the IRA or any other criminal or terrorist organization. For the first time in their long association, they could be whatever they wanted to be.
"And a spy is just a criminal with a government pay check."
It didn't matter that he had no money. Money was easy, as were guns and explosives. A normal regular life, that was going to be the hard part. She blinked and brushed a hand over her face. It didn't matter to her what they chose to do, as long as in the end they did it together.
"Michael Westen, it's time we set to work on a few o' those relationship issues of yours," she spoke out loud in her new accent as she pulled into a parking spot close to the loft Michael was calling home.
Leaving the car, she strode along the uneven pavement with a determined air about her. Reaching the high metal gates, she slipped inside and made her way up the rickety stairs. At the top, she paused just long enough to pull one the clips from her hair before picking the truly pathetic lock on the door.
Once inside she wrinkled her nose at the smell of decay which filled the large, mostly empty space, before taking the opportunity to see for herself how well Michael was fitting into civilian life.
It was a short investigation.
"Not a great start, Michael," she tutted.
From what she could see he wasn't even making an effort. Some cheap bedding, a couple of power tools, a soldering iron – and four cups of blueberry yogurt in the fridge - did not make a home.
Strolling over to the far end of the room, she discovered a small bathroom: a sink with a long crack in the bowl minus a plug, an ancient claw footed bath in need of a thorough clean and a fresh coat of enamel. Turning away, she didn't even want to think about the toilet. Frowning at the lack of home comforts, she went back to where the bed or rather the piled up mattresses sat in the middle of the room.
Sitting down, she ran her hand over the thin bed cover. Lifting the pillow, she held it close to her face, breathing in his scent. "I can see I'm going to have my work cut out for me," she muttered.
Placing the pillow back where she had taken it from the head of the bed, she reached across to where she had spotted a small pile of crumpled magazines. Laying down on the bed, she began to skim through the old editions of Soldier of Fortune and Survival Weaponry and Technique.
It seemed in no time at all she heard the sound of shoes on the metal staircase. Smiling, she quickly rearranged herself on the bed; it was time to let Michael know that this time she wasn't moving on.
The door swung open and he came through fast with his handgun leading the way.
"Hello, Michael." She peered over her shoulder, smiling softly.
"Fi, you're here." He came to a stop and slipped the gun out of sight.
He didn't sound that pleased to see her, but it didn't matter. She just had to explain how things had changed. "I came by for a visit. The door was locked. So I broke in."
She shifted slightly on the bed as he came closer. Her smile widened as she the fought the urge to laugh at his confusion.
"New accent? New style?" He waved a hand in her general direction.
"I'm in Miami now, I can't very well be talkin' like a frigging leprechaun now can I? This is the new me, Michael. For now."
"So, you're staying in town then? G-reat, but listen, Fi, now is not a really good time."
Now he was trying to get rid of her? Why would he –? And there it was.
"Oh, Jesus, Mike, you didn't tell me she was gonna be here."
Oh, she'd been waiting for a chance to get her hands on that bastard. She was on her feet, ready to rip the head off SEAL Commander Sam Axe. "You cost me a lot of money, you sonuvabitch! I've been waiting to talk to you for a long time."
If Michael hadn't got in her way, catching hold of her and using her own momentum to spin her away, she would have taken her revenge there and then. As it was, the coward was half way up the steps leading to a small platform high above her head.
"I cost you?" Axe whirled round. "Okay, +for starters, what you're talking about never officially happened alright? But unofficially, even if it had, you deserved a lot worse than what you got, lady!"
Deserved worse? He thought she deserved worse? Oh he was going to pay for that, and so was Michael if he didn't move out of the way. Her hand curled around an empty beer bottle which she'd noticed earlier.
"That was a legitimate purchase! The US government had no business -" Michael ducked, and the bottle broke harmlessly against a metal strut, missing it's target.
"Yeah? Legitimate business? How is a Libyan arms dealer legitimate? How do you figure that?" Finally the old man was showing some fire and was trying to push past Michael. If she could get to her purse, she had a brand new stun gun just waiting to be christened.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!" She was thwarted by Michael wrapping his hands about her arms holding her at bay. "Fi, I'm thrilled that you have come by. But Sam and I need to talk about a job, so you -"
"Job?" He thought he could actually make her leave? Breaking out of his grip, she sat down and glared over his shoulder at the old man still standing on the stairs. "Sounds like fun. I'm in."
"Yeah." She took a degree of pleasure from Axe's resigned huff and in Michael's look of defeat.
Round one to Glenanne. She smirked as Axe retreated up the stairs.
"Fiona, I need to talk to you – outside."
"You're taking his side?" She turned her head to regard Michael through narrowed eyes.
"Y – No, look, come outside... Please, we need to talk."
He sounded sincere, but he always did when he wanted something. After sending one more death stare up to where she could hear Axe stomping about on the high platform, she got to her feet and slowly strutted out through the door Michael was holding open for her.
"So?" She leaned back precariously against the metal safety rail, squinting in the bright sunlight.
"Sam is my friend," he began. "He's helping me with the burn notice... If you're going to be around -"
"I can't believe you, Michael!" He would rather have the help of some washed up, old booze hound? "He's the one who -" She was that furious that she couldn't finish the sentence.
"I know, I was there – remember?" He stepped closer, smiling that soft charming smile which melted her anger. "I never told you, it wasn't important at the time, but it was Sam who gave me the identity of Libyan informer who got your deal busted. If it hadn't been for him, you would have never got out of Cairo in one piece."
The hands which had gripped her so tightly a few minutes earlier now reached out to gently stroke up and down her arms as he continued to explain. "If you remember, I arrived after the take down. You were about five seconds from being arrested when Sam's team turned away from chasing you down. He did that on my say-so."
"British intelligence had leaked it was an Irish informer who aided us and them in stopping the arms deal. It was Sam who arranged for me to be there when the Brits turned the real informer loose... It meant that I could let your brother know whose name to pass on to the Libyans."
She stood with her eyes closed, enjoying his gentle touch.
"Him? That boy scout?" She opened her eyes to stare deeply into his clear blue orbs, searching for the truth. Their lips were mere inches from each other. Swaying slightly, she leaned in, wanting to feel the touch of his lips on hers.
Then he was gone, stepping back with his arms crossed over his chest.
"Yes," he confirmed. Now with the crisis averted, he was pulling away from her. "So, if you're planning on staying around and helping out, you're going to have to be nice."
"Nice? With him?" She pulled a face; the thought of it was enough to turn her stomach. "How about polite? I might be able to manage polite," she offered – with one provisio. "If he keeps his mouth shut."
"Thank you, Fi," Michael breathed out, his hand already on the door. He paused, "Look, I need to speak to Sam, do you think –?"
"I'll wait out here." She grinned magnanimously at the thought he was about to break the good news to Sam Axe.
She waited less than a minute before removing her shoes and slowly and silently opening the door and slipping back inside. There was no way she was going to miss this.
She could see Sam pacing up and down. His voice carried and echoed throughout the empty space. "She's bad news, Mikey. Hell, let's face it she's a goddamn liability – and when she's around, you forget how to think straight."
"She can help. You can't deny she's good at what she does."
"What she does is cause chaos, that is when she's not blowing stuff up or out committing every crime known to man."
Oh, he was going to pay for that. Fiona glared up at the platform.
"Sam, I never told you how I knew where to find you in Istanbul."
Oh no! Fiona paled. No, that wasn't him, was it? She felt sick as Michael confirmed her worst fear.
"It was her...Fiona. I - er, I was working a job and we hooked up."
Working a- You almost got me killed, Michael Westen! That's what you meant to say.
"She told me that she had heard that Hezbollah had taken an American soldier prisoner and gave me the location of where you were being held in the city. Nobody knew the place existed. If she hadn't-."
"Huh, she was probably one of the ones who -"
"No, she wasn't involved. But if she hadn't told me what she knew -"
"Okay, brother, we'll try things your way." Sam sounded as happy as she did at the prospect of working together.
Fiona pursed her lips. If she had known it was Sam Axe who had been locked in a cell, beaten and starved and from what she had heard soon to be executed, would she still have told Michael? she wondered as she slipped back outside onto the staircase.
Letting her head fall back against the wall, she frowned and squinted into the sun. Yes, she would have, she was forced to admit. It was bloody difficult to hurt a dead man. She smiled as she heard Michael approach the door to "let" her back in to begin planning the job.
However, even though she had promised to play nice with Sam Axe, that didn't mean she couldn't accidentally drop an anvil on his head or let him trip over a tiny bit of C-4 if the opportunity arose. She might even get away with unintentionally discharging her weapon if she was careful...
Story Two: Grand Larceny & Mango Smoothies.