A/N: Set post "O Little Town of Bethlehem. And many, many thanks to my friend Lattelady. She helped me out of a corner I had written myself into and she gracsiously allows me to borrow bits of the EH world she created. T.C. McGruder is her creation along with the idea that Jacob and Alex share a house in Deale, Maryland.

Disclaimer: Do we even need these anymore? We seem to be the only ones who care about these characters.

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Friday night:

Frank Fuller looked pensively at the computer screen in front of him. Part of him was annoyed; he couldn't believe Jacob had been so stupid. Part of him was grudgingly admiring; if this was a deliberate ploy to hide in plain sight it had worked. But now he had to decide what to do about the information he had unearthed.

"Dad, Mom said if you don't come into dinner right now all you're gonna get are leftovers." Frank's teenage daughter Katie came into his home office. "What's so interesting?" she asked curiously as she came around his desk.

Frank quickly minimized his screen. "Internet porn," he replied promptly.

Katie wrinkled her nose. "Eww, not funny." She looked at him suspiciously. "You're not checking up on Ethan are you? I don't think you're allowed to do that, even if you are the director of the FBI."

"It's nothing for you to worry about. Tell your mother I'll be there in a few minutes."

As Katie left the room, Frank clicked again to bring his screen back up. He stared at it for a bit longer. No, there was no mistake, the Maryland Department of Vital Statistics clearly showed a certificate of marriage on file for Jacob Hood and Rachel Young dated nearly a year earlier. Sighing, he hit the print button before closing the browser and opening his email. A few more clicks and he sent a meeting request to Tyler C. McGruder.

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Sunday morning:

Jacob woke slowly, with the vague feeling something wasn't right. He blinked sleepily, trying to identify the problem. As he came more fully awake he realized what was wrong; Rachel wasn't in his arms. They had returned home from their latest case yesterday which meant they had fallen asleep tangled together after making love in their own bed.

He frowned as levered himself up on an elbow to glance at the clock on the bedside table. It wasn't quite six in the morning; Rachel was never up this early on a weekend day. Just as he was beginning to wonder if she was all right; he heard the toilet flush and the running of water. He relaxed back onto his pillows; obviously she had awakened and needed to use the bathroom. He felt his cock harden at the prospect of her re-joining him in bed.

He smiled as Rachel came out of the bathroom; she was wearing the shirt he had discarded on the floor the night before. He couldn't decide if her habit of wearing his shirts stemmed from her knowledge of how sexy he thought she looked in them or if she couldn't be bothered to look for her robe. His smile vanished when he realized Rachel was looking at him apprehensively with her hand behind her back.

"Sweetheart, is something the matter? Are you ok?"

Rachel slowly held her hand out to Jacob. "Umm, yeah, more or less…" She trailed off looking at Jacob uncertainly.

"What is that?" Jacob was puzzled. "A thermometer? Do you have a fever…?" His mouth dropped open when he recognized what Rachel was holding in her hand. It was a pregnancy test stick. He scrambled out of bed and took her by the shoulders. "Rachel, are you…"

Rachel smiled and held up the stick so Jacob could read the word 'pregnant' in the little window. After a gasp of surprise, he pulled her against him and kissed her passionately. His hands slid from her shoulders under the hem of the shirt and he grasped her ass. Her arms automatically went around his neck. Rachel moaned against his mouth as he pulled her up against his naked body; she could feel his cock hard against her belly.

Her knee slid up his leg and she hooked her leg around his, pulling him even closer. Jacob's hands moved to her thighs, as he lifted her she wrapped her legs around his waist. Jacob staggered over to the bed and sprawled backward onto it, Rachel on top of him.

Rachel tugged off the shirt and leaned down to kiss Jacob. He rolled, pinning her beneath him as he trailed kissed across her jaw to her ear. His tongue traced the inside of her ear as he whispered to her.

"Do you have any idea how turned on I am? How badly I want to fuck you right now?"

His mouth continued to work its way down her throat to her collarbone while his hands caressed her breasts. His mouth finally found her breasts and he traced her nipples with his tongue. Rachel was writhing beneath him, moaning with pleasure.

Jacob paused, "I can't wait to see the changes in your body."

"I thought my breasts were perfect already," Rachel gasped. "At least…."

"I'm not talking about your breast swelling. " His hand moved over her belly. "I can't wait to see your belly get big, big with our child."

His mouth replaced his hand on her belly as his hand moved lower, to sketch patterns on the inside of her thighs. Rachel moaned in anticipation as Jacob trailed kisses from her belly, along the line of her hips, and finally as he nipped at the sensitive skin on the inside of her thighs.

"Oh fucking hell, yes, baby, right there. Please Jacob, right there."

Jacob slipped his hands under her ass, lifting her, opening her to him, as he moved his mouth to her core, his tongue teasing her, bringing her closer and closer to her climax. Rachel twisted one hand in his hair, holding him tightly against her, her cries becoming higher and more frantic as she felt her muscles tightening, her vagina feeling hot and wet.

As he felt the first contractions of her muscles, Jacob slid up her hot, sweaty body. Nudging her thighs apart with his knees, he entered her with one quick stroke. The feel of Jacob's cock, hard and deep inside of her provided the final sensation she needed. As her climax washed over her she clung to him, her nails digging into his back, her legs wrapped around his hips.

The feeling of Rachel's climax, her body tightening around his cock was too much for Jacob. He thrust into her, hard and fast. Within minutes, his own climax overwhelmed him. He buried his face in her hair, groaning in satisfaction.

After a few minutes, Rachel nuzzled the side of Jacob's neck, smiling with contentment. "I'm glad you took the news so well."

"I must admit I had thought this was something we'd talk about, but yeah…"

Rachel's post-coital glow disappeared abruptly. She pushed Jacob off of her and sat up, clutching the sheets around her. "Just what the hell does that mean?" she snapped. "You think I did this on purpose?"

His eyes widened in surprise, he couldn't understand Rachel's reaction. "I didn't say you did. I only meant I never thought your birth control would fail, we'd have time to plan…"

She grabbed a pillow and whacked him. "And that failure is as much your fault as mine Jacob Hood." She glared at him "Actually, it's all your fault."

Despite his best intentions, Jacob couldn't keep from smiling. "I don't think it's entirely my fault you're pregnant."

Rachel hit him with the pillow again.

"Yes, yes it is. I was perfectly happy with my implant. But nooo, you were worried about the long-term effects on my health. You're the one who insisted I try something different."

"But sweetheart," Jacob objected. "The ring has a failure rate of .03%, the same as your implant. And it's a damned sight safer long-term."

Rachel slumped against the head of the bed, her anger forgotten. "Yeah, when you use it right." She recovered enough to shoot a glare in Jacob's direction. "I knew something like this would happen but you wouldn't listen."

Rachel hadn't been enthusiastic about switching from her implant to a vaginal ring; despite the fact her doctor assured her it was as effective as her implant. Her problem lay in the fact she had to remember, every three weeks, to remove the damned thing and then, a week later, to insert a new one. She worried that with their hectic life-style it would be too easy to make a mistake. With the implant she didn't have to think. The doctor kept track of the timing and sent her a reminder notice when it was time to have it replaced. But Jacob had nattered on and on about the long-term risks and she had finally agreed to shut him up.

She had only been using the ring a few months when the inevitable happened. Six weeks ago when it was time to insert a new ring, they had been in the field. The case they were working was especially challenging. The crops in an experimental field were withering and dying for no apparent reason. They had been investigating the situation around the clock. Rachel barely had time to eat or sleep, let alone to think about her contraceptive choices.

It might not have mattered but for the shoot-out. When Jacob had finally realized what was going on, who had tampered with the crops, he insisted on confronting the man immediately. What none of them realized was the man had not been acting alone; he was merely a tool. When they reached the man's location, they walked in on a murder in progress. Gunfire had been exchanged and Rachel was saved from injury only because she had donned her vest before setting out.

Jacob had made it clear that night was an exception to her no-sex-in-the-field rule. He had come too close to losing her and he needed the reassurance of holding her, loving her. Rachel did not need persuading. Her brush with death had made her as desperate for him as he was for her. Over the next week, while they cleared up the details in the case, Jacob had invoked his the-case-is-over-and-no-one-gives-a-damn-about-us corollary to her no-sex-in-the-field rule on most nights. It wasn't until they were packing to return to DC that she remembered the ring.

She had been unsure what to do. She knew she couldn't just insert a new one; if she had become pregnant, it could cause problems. She was also reluctant to tell Jacob. She was afraid he'd worry and obsess about her condition. She decided to wait and see; wait until she knew for sure what was happening to her body. If she wasn't pregnant, she'd insert a new ring at the proper time and that would be the end of it. If she were pregnant, well, she'd deal with that prospect then.

The fact they had worked two cases back to back had made her feel her decision was the right one. Jacob would have been distracted and it would have interfered with his ability to focus on the problem at hand. Besides, while they were working they weren't having sex, so the chances of her getting pregnant were diminished.

Jacob's eyebrows rose slightly at Rachel's tale. He internally debated pointing out the very large holes in her logic. When she realized they had been having unprotected sex, the logical thing to do would have been to start using condoms until they knew one way or another. Even if they hadn't been having sex regularly, it only took one time. Every act of unprotected sex increased the chances of pregnancy exponentially. With a small smile he decided, for the sake of marital harmony, he should keep his mouth shut. He reached out to pull her into a hug. Rachel at first batted at his hands but she allowed herself to be drawn into his arms.

Tipping her face up to his, Jacob looked into Rachel's eyes. "Are you unhappy about this baby?"

Smiling, Rachel shook her head. "You know I'm not, a little shocked maybe, but yeah, I'm happy."

"Well, you know I'm thrilled, so what are we arguing about?" Jacob eased them both down on the bed, "I think we should enjoy a lazy Sunday in bed." He nuzzled the top of her head. "It won't be long before we can't do this anymore."

Rachel sat back up. "Tempting, but we can't spend all day here. We promised Alex we'd have dinner with her and Owen if we got back to town in time." Her expression turned sober. "And we do have to talk, to plan. We need to decide what to tell the Bureau."

Frowning, Jacob sat up and leaned against the headboard. "I don't think we should tell them anything. We should both go in tomorrow and tender our resignations, effective immediately."

Rachel's jaw dropped. "You want to quit? Why? I thought you enjoyed your work?"

Jacob reached out to stroke Rachel's face. "I don't think it's fair only you should be penalized because of our relationship. Why should you have to give up a job you enjoy, one you're good at, while I get to keep mine?" He shook his head decisively. "No, it's best if we both quit."

Rachel tried to argue but Jacob was adamant. She pointed out they had always known that eventually she would have to leave the Bureau. She had gone into the relationship knowing she was breaking the rules and she was willing to pay the price. He had retorted he was just as guilty of breaking the rules as she was and he wasn't about to let her face the consequences alone. Rachel argued they would soon have not only themselves but a baby to support; with her poor job prospects they needed his FBI salary. Jacob countered that he not only had adequate financial resources to support a family but he was constantly getting feelers from both academia and the private sector. He wouldn't be out of a job long.

"Look, it's for the best I quit too," Jacob framed Rachel's face with his hands. "To be perfectly honest with you, I've always been a little afraid of this moment; the moment when we had to face the music. Afraid you might someday resent me for costing you your job. I think…"

"Cost me?" Rachel interrupted him. "Jacob, you're not costing me anything. You've given me so much. How could I ever resent you? How could you ever think I would value a job over you or our family?" She tilted her head thoughtfully. "Ok, maybe I can see where you could think that, since we have kept our relationship secret." She took his hands in hers, "but I only wanted to postpone not being with you every day. Not postpone losing the job." Her face scrunched up. "Does that make sense?"

"Yeah," Jacob wrapped his arms around her. "But I think it would be best for everyone if we both quit." He looked down at her, "even if you quit without telling them about us, about the baby, you know word will leak out if I'm still with the Bureau. I certainly don't intend to hide you from my new handler or Frank."

Rachel snorted with laughter. "I'd like to see you try to hide me when I'm nine months pregnant. Look, it won't matter who knows what after I've quit. Yes, there'll be gossip but it won't be the same as if I got kicked out on my ass for having an affair with you. My only goal here is to not be fired. Eventually I'm going to want to get a new job and it will be easier if I wasn't fired for cause."

"Now," she continued. "Tell me honestly Jacob. Do you want to stay with the Bureau?"

"I guess," he shrugged. "At least for now. I'm not sure I'll want to travel as much once the baby's here though."

"We can deal with that later. Right now let's focus on getting me separated from the Bureau with the least amount of trouble."

They spent the rest of the morning debating the wording of Rachel's letter of resignation, making love, and planning the logistics of the following day. They decided once they arrived at the Hoover Building, Jacob would remain in his lab while Rachel met with McGruder to tender her resignation. Late that afternoon, they went to Deale as planned and shared their news with Alex.

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Monday morning

Rachel took a deep breath as she entered the anteroom of T.C. McGruder's office. As carefully as she and Jacob had planned how they wanted the day to go, now she actually had to face McGruder she was as nervous as hell. She only hoped her detail chief wouldn't ask too many questions.

His administrative assistant looked up at her entrance. "May I help you?"

"Agent Young to see Detail Chief McGruder. I, uh, don't have an appointment."

"I'm sorry Agent Young; Chief McGruder is with the Director right now." She looked at Rachel pointedly, "he's rather busy today. Would you care to make an appointment for tomorrow?"

Rachel swallowed. 'Shit.' It had never occurred to her or Jacob McGruder might not be available. "No, I'm afraid that isn't possible, I really need to see the chief right away. It's something of an emergency."

The two women starred at each other for a few moments. The admin gave in. With a sigh she reached for her phone. "Hello, Tracey? Is Detail Chief McGruder still in with the Director? Oh…, well, there's an Agent Young here to see the Chief, she says it's an emergency." She waited while her counterpart in the Director's office relayed the message. Her face registered surprise and she hung up. "You're to go right up."

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T.C. McGruder studied the paper Frank Fuller had handed him. "Damn it, married? I gotta say, I didn't see this coming." He looked up at the Director. "I've been wondering, they've been together so long, if something wasn't going on," he shrugged, "but this? You do realize I'll have to fire her don't you?"

"It's not that easy Ty," Frank sighed.

McGruder's eyebrows shot up. "Look, Frank, I know Hood's a friend of yours, but this, this is a clear violation of EPD protocol."

"Friendship has nothing to do with this," Frank retorted. "It's FEW that has everything to do with it."

"Few? What the hell are you talking about Frank?"

"Federally Employed Women, I had a delegation from their DC chapter visit me after that mess with Ray Wynne." Both men's faces twisted with disgust at the mention of the former Deputy Director. "It seems they were concerned about what it said about the culture of the FBI when we were so quick to assume Sofia Lyons had to be crazy when she claimed a consensual sexual relationship with a supervisor."

"Wait a second, Lyons did a hell of a lot more than that," McGruder protested. "She shot and kidnapped Young. Firebombed a house."

"Yeah," Frank put in impatiently, "after we fired her and let Wynne put her in the hands of a drug-happy doctor." Frank snorted. "As much as some people around here hate to admit it, FEW had a point. When Lyons first made her claim against Wynne, we should have suspended both of them, done a full investigation."

"Oh come on Frank, hindsight's 20/20, why should you have suspected anything was wrong?"

"I don't know," Frank glared at McGruder, "maybe because it took Jacob less than twenty-four hours to discover not only did Lyons have a baby like she claimed but Wynne actually was the father."

He rubbed his face. "Look at the situation stripped to its basics. We have a female FBI employee involved in a consensual sexual relationship with a man who is technically her supervisor. When we discover it, we fire her but let him continue in his position." He looked at McGruder glumly. "It's the Wynne thing all over again."

"Not at all," said McGruder. "We have a clear violation of FBI protocol here."

"We had it in the Wynne case too," Frank snapped. "In case you haven't bothered to read 'em, HR has established clear guidelines regarding consensual sexual relationships between supervisors and employees." He slumped back in his chair. "And the woman involved this time isn't some run-of-the-mill civilian employee. Young is a decorated agent with a personnel folder full of commendations for a job well-done." He raised an eyebrow, "one of them from you just last month."

McGruder swore softly. "You're right. Politically, either both of them go or both of them stay." He looked at Frank thoughtfully. "So, what do you want to do?"

"I thought you wanted to fire her?"

McGruder shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "I said I had to fire her, not that I wanted to fire her." He looked at Frank ruefully. "She's a damn good agent. She's been doing good work with Hood, work that goes well beyond her brief as his bodyguard and handler." He tapped the copy of the marriage certificate. "She's been doing good work since this happened, hasn't seemed to interfere in any of her duties."

He shrugged and continued. "As for Hood, yeah, he was a pain in my ass for a while, but the work he's been doing? Most of it is vital to the security of the country. People with his qualifications don't grow on trees, be a damned shame to lose him too."

Frank leaned back in his chair. "Exactly, you see my problem…" his face showed annoyance as his phone rang. "I told Tracey to hold my calls." He picked up the receiver and barked "What?" A thoughtful look crossed his face and he glanced at McGruder. "Tell her to come up here. Now."

"What was that about?"

"It seems Agent Young is down in your office. Says she needs to see you; about an emergency."

"Well, well, well," McGruder raised an eyebrow. "Do you think she knows you found this?" He held up the marriage certificate.

"I don't see how, I printed it at home Friday night and locked it in my briefcase. I didn't tell anyone why I wanted to see you this morning either."

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Rachel's palms were sweating and she had trouble opening the door to the Director's office. This definitely didn't figure into her and Jacob's carefully laid plans. She took a steadying breath as she walked across the floor and came to attention in front of the Director's desk.

"Sir, I need to speak to Chief McGruder confidentially."

"Don't be ridiculous Young," McGruder snapped. "There's nothing you have to say to me the Director can't hear."

A brief smile touched Frank's lips. "I have to say I agree with Ty on that one."

Rachel swallowed and briefly closed her eyes. She faced McGruder squarely and handed him the letter she held in her hand. "Sir, I'd like to offer you my resignation, effective immediately. Dr. Hood is aware of my intentions and is waiting with Agent Lee in his lab for my replacement." She pulled her weapon from its holster and laid it on the Director's desk. Her FBI badge and ID followed it. "If that's all sir, I'll say goodbye and that it was an honor working with, for you."

As Rachel turned to leave McGruder's voice stopped her. "Not so fast missy."

She stiffened and turned, "Sir?"

McGruder had opened her letter, skimmed it and passed it along to Frank. "I have a few questions." He pointed to the chair beside him. "Sit."

"With all due respect sir, I don't work for you anymore." Rachel titled her head toward the letter in the Director's hand. "I quit."

"Well," McGruder drawled, "Maybe I don't accept your resignation."

Rachel sat down abruptly a look of horror on her face. "Not accept my resignation? Why not?"

Frank looked up from the letter in his hand. "We have a few questions, that's all." He held up the letter, "the first being, what prompted this?"

Rachel raised her chin stubbornly. "I thought my letter was clear. I want to pursue other opportunities. I've enjoyed my time with the FBI but I feel it's time to move on."

"Umm, so you said." Frank looked thoughtful. "You also said Dr. Hood knows of your intentions. Is it safe to say he approves of your quitting?"

"Uh, well, yes, I guess so." She collected herself. Remembering Jacob would have a continuing relationship with Frank and the FBI she didn't want to lie. "He thinks I should do what I feel is best."

Frank came around his desk, leaning against it he handed Rachel the copy of the marriage certificate he had found on the Internet. "Rachel, is this why you're resigning?"

Rachel looked at the certificate in shock. She looked at Frank and McGruder. "I see, this is why you won't accept my resignation, you're going to fire me." Her shoulders slumped. "I don't blame you; we've been lying to you for months now."

Her eyes filled with tears. Blinking hard to prevent them from falling, Rachel hurried into speech. "I know I don't deserve it, but could you please just accept my resignation? The work Jacob does for the Bureau is vital. He really is a high priority asset. It would be hard for him to continue with the kind of gossip my firing would ignite. He'd hate it."

"No one's talking about firing you," McGruder said gruffly. He looked at Frank hopefully, "A resignation…?"

Frank shook his head regretfully. "No, people would say we coerced her."

McGruder tilted his head considering. "Yeah, you're right." He sighed. "So what do we do?"

Rachel looked at both men, confused. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm thinking a transfer, she's overdue for one anyhow. With her record, she could easily move into a more responsible position. Let people think we knew about the situation, didn't like it, but were willing to go along provided they were discreet." Frank offered.

McGruder considered this scenario. "Hmm, not bad, Hood has a high enough profile, people could see where we might want to bend the rules." He snorted. "And god knows we had enough trouble coming up with a handler for him."

Rachel tried to protest, but both men ignored her.

"The only problem, why the transfer now?" Frank looked at Rachel speculatively.

McGruder also regarded Rachel with consideration. "Yeah, we need a good reason for why we're splitting them up now after we've supposedly tolerated the situation for this long."

Rachel was unnerved by the looks on the faces of the two men. By the conversation they were having. Without thinking she blurted out, "I'm pregnant."

Frank's jaw dropped but McGruder shook his head, "Nah, we can't tell people that, they'll eventually…" He trailed off and smiled broadly. "I'll be damned."

He looked at Frank and his smile vanished. "You do realize this changes things a bit. She has to be out of the EPD today, no ifs, ands, or buts."

"But Ty…" Frank protested

McGruder shook his head decisively. "No, one rule of the EPD that has to remain inviolable is that I can't have a pregnant agent." He raised an eyebrow. "My agents have been trained to put their lives on the line without a second thought. A pregnant agent will have a second thought; one that could cost lives, not only their protectee's but their own."

Frank nodded soberly. "You're right. Whatever we do, it has to be done today."

"Sir, can't you just accept my resignation?" Rachel asked a bit desperately.

Frank ignored her question. "You said Jacob was in his lab?" He reached behind him and hit the intercom button on his phone. "Tracey, could you get Dr. Hood down here? He's in his lab." He turned back to the others. "We really can't decide anything without him."

He squatted down to put his eyes on the same level as Rachel's. He took her hands in his own, "but before he gets here I need to know. Your quitting. Is it what you want or is it what Jacob wants?"

"I, we both, I mean…" Rachel stammered.

Frank squeezed her hands. "Is it what you think has to happen or is it what you want to have happen?"

Rachel blinked hard, willing herself to not cry. "Has to happen," she whispered as a few tears rolled down her cheek.

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Felix Lee looked up from his magazine with a look of exasperation and pity on his face. "Ya know, Doc, you checking your watch every five minutes isn't going to make the time go any faster."

Jacob flashed him a quick smile and continued pacing around his small lab. "I know Felix, but I can't help but wonder, worry, about what's taking so long. I mean, how long does it take to hand in a letter of resignation?"

The big man shrugged. "Depends. Maybe McGruder was busy when Agent Young got to his office. Maybe she had to wait." He didn't want to worry the Doc, but most likely McGruder had plenty of questions for Agent Young. She was an experienced and decorated agent; McGruder wouldn't want to let her go that easy.

Both men jerked to attention when the phone in the lab rang. Jacob looked at it apprehensively for a moment before he answered. "Hello? Oh, hello Tracey. Did he say why? Ok, I'll be right down."

Jacob hung up with a worried look on his face. He looked up to find Felix looking at him inquiringly. "Frank wants to see me, didn't say why."

Felix shrugged. "I hate to say it Doc, but I think you need to prepare yourself for the worst." He pulled himself to his feet. "Come on, I'd better escort you down there."

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Preparing for the worst, Jacob cautiously opened the door to Frank's office. His hesitancy vanished immediately when he saw Rachel hastily wiping tears from her cheek.

"Damn it Frank," he growled, "have you been bullying her? If you've been giving her any crap…"

"Shut up, Jacob," Frank said amiably as he straightened up against his desk. He raised an eyebrow. "I think we need to have a little talk." He gestured to a conversational grouping of a sofa and chairs in the corner of his office. "Why don't we all sit down and discuss this rationally?"

Jacob sat beside Rachel on the small sofa and leaned forward, facing Frank and Ty aggressively. "I don't see what there is to discuss. Rachel's decided she wants to take her life in another direction, she doesn't want to be an agent anymore…"

Rachel put her hand on Jacob's arm, interrupting his tirade. "They know Jacob." Her breath caught in her throat. "They know everything."

Frank almost laughed at the look of dismay on Jacob's face. "I understand congratulations are in order."

Jacob scooted over and put his arm around Rachel, he looked at Frank defiantly. "Ok, yes, she, we, broke your rules. But I swear to god Frank, if you fire her instead of letting her resign, I'm out of here too."

"This would have been much easier," Frank handed the copy of the marriage certificate to Jacob, "if you had come to me with this originally. Now, it's gonna take a bit of maneuvering on my part to get us all though this."

Jacob looked at Rachel in confusion. She shrugged her shoulders. "I don't understand either, but they," she gestured to Frank and McGruder, "don't seem to think I should be fired or resign."

Once again Frank explained the concerns raised by FEW and how he was afraid, in the current situation, he'd be forced to fire Jacob as well as Rachel. He glared at Jacob.

"And as much as you're a pain in my ass, I'd hate to lose you, the work you do. Your position is one of the most successful initiatives I've launched as director."

"So what, you stick Rachel in some hole-in-the-wall office, in some do-nothing job, to prevent a scandal?" Jacob shook his head, "that's unacceptable, if you think I'd…"

Rachel once more laid a hand on Jacob's arm. "I think," she murmured, "we should hear the Director out."

"You may be a genius, but you don't know jack-shit about politics," Frank said shaking his head. "If Rachel was transferred to a position like that, that would create a scandal." He pursed his lips. "People would wonder what we were trying to cover up; how a highly decorated agent had blotted her copybook so badly to be transferred to a dead-end job. No, the best way to handle a situation that could cause a scandal is to act as if there's nothing out of the ordinary going on."

"Exactly," McGruder nodded approvingly. "You hide in plain sight. As long as we act as if there's no problem, well, people will take their cues from us."

"Ty and I have already discussed this. We think we can pull this off easily enough." Frank flicked his finger at the certificate in Jacob's hand. "Our official position is that the two of you came to us a year ago. Neither one of us liked it, but we were willing to go along with your marriage as long as you were discreet." He raised an eyebrow. "Which no one can deny you were. So, yes, it was irregular but the two of you have a pretty damned good track record; people could see where we wouldn't want to split you up."

He smiled. "Until now, now Rachel has to be transferred from the EPD. And luckily, there's recently been an opening I think she's be perfect for."

Rachel raised her head hopefully, "Where is that sir?"

"Special Agent in Charge of the Counter-Terrorism Division. You were doing good work in C-T before Ty poached you for a position in the EPD. With your language skills and background people won't be to surprised by the move." Frank looked at her appraisingly. "But you'll have two bosses. As the SAC you report to the EAAD for National Security. You'll also be the FBI liaison to All-Sec. It's a cross-agency deal; you'll meet weekly with liaisons from the CIA, the NSA, and Homeland Security. And in that capacity you report directly to me." He cocked his head, "Think you're up for it?"

Rachel sat stunned. If she could have drawn up the specifications for her dream job in the FBI, this would pretty much be it. "Sir, I, yes, I mean," she stuttered to a halt and took a deep breath. Looking the director in the face she said, "Thank you sir, I'll do my best to justify your confidence in me."

"Good," said Frank briskly. "Now, let's get the paperwork going to get this settled."

McGruder rose from his seat and looked balefully down at Jacob. "I'll go over my roster and see who's available. And you better try damned hard to get along with whoever I select."

Jacob opened his mouth to protest, but once again Rachel silenced him with a hand on his arm. Frank and Ty's eyes met and they shared a smile at the way Jacob was so easily managed by the woman at his side.

"Sir, if I could make a suggestion? I understand Terrance Mason recently transferred to the EPD from White Collar." At McGruder's nod she continued. "He worked with us on a case a few months ago, we were both impressed with his abilities; I think he'd make an excellent replacement for me."

Grunting with approval at this suggestion, McGruder swept Jacob from the room. It would take a day or so to retrieve Mason from his current assignment and until then, the two of them would review the roster to select a temporary bodyguard. Jacob paused at the doorway, a small smile on his face as he watched Frank huddled with Rachel, as he outlined the parameters of her new position. It looked as if, once again, Rachel was correct; there were such things as miracles.