The Harem of Jason Morgan
She remembers everything.
It's been nearly five years, still she remembers it all as if it had happened yesterday. Everything. The song that was playing, Marvin Gaye's classic, "Let's Get It On." His smile. The taste of his lips. The curve of his back. The laughter in his eyes when he'd marveled at her response to him telling her he loved her. She'd waited to hear those words for what seemed like an eternity. God knows it felt like she'd been in love with him for that long and that it had taken him nearly twice that long to REALIZE she was.
She remembers everything.
How they made love, over, and over, and over again. It was the first time. They couldn't get enough of each other. Could it have been that on some subconscious level they knew that would be their one and only time? No. They thought they'd have all the time in the world--that they'd have many more nights like that one. They were wrong. Dead wrong.
She remembers everything.
The blinding light. Then, the intense heat as the room seemed to be engulfed in flames. It wasn't. But you couldn't convince either of them of that. For in the instant they were flung from the bed by the force of the blast, they knew that they were in Hell or at the very least, beginning their descent into Hell. From that moment on, nothing was ever the same for either of them--or BETWEEN them. So what if she loved him, and he felt the same about her? That didn't do the woman downstairs any good. She was dead--blown to smithereens when she turned the key in the ignition. The coroner said she'd never felt a thing, that death had been instantaneous. She'd been lucky, one could say. She wasn't left behind to contend with the anguish and guilt--like they'd been.
Yes. She remembers everything and wonders if he does, too?
"NOOOO!" Dara awakes with a start, clutching her hand to her chest.
"Shh " Rinaldo replies, his voice as soothing as his touch. He gently pries Dara's hand away from her chest and finds her heart pounding with an almost frightening rhythm. "You had another nightmare, didn't you?"
Kicking the covers off, Dara nods. "Only problem is, it isn't a dream. It really happened." Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she pauses, forcing a smile as she looks back at Rinaldo. "I really should be sleeping in my own bed--not that I don't like being here in yours, mind you. It's just that--"
Rinaldo props himself, using his good arm. "What, you think if you're in your own bed, you'll rest easier?" He reaches and strokes Dara's bare back, which seconds later is clothed, as she dons a nearby discarded designer of his. Placing a hand on Dara's shoulder, he gently draws her back to him. "I know for a fact you were having the same problem sleeping in your bed after everything went down with Moreno at the shooting range." Rinaldo feels Dara stiffen ever so slightly upon mention of Moreno's name. "You're still kind shook up over everything that's gone down, huh?" Dara nods. "But that's not the only reason you're having trouble sleeping is it?"
Dara sighs as Rinaldo draws her atop him. Running her fingers through his hair, she offers up a forlorn smile. "You're not gonna let me dodge this, are you?"
"Hey," as he turns up the corners of his mouth in lieu of a shrug. "If you wanna go on waking up in a cold sweat night after night, be my guest." He pauses. "But I don't think you want to." Gently, he traces the contours of Dara's face with his finger. "In fact, I think you KNOW the only way to put it all to rest IS to talk about it."
Burying her face against Rinaldo's neck, Dara gives a mirthless laugh. "Where do I begin?" as she allows her head to come to rest on his taut chest.
"The beginning's usually a good place." Absently, he strokes the nape of her neck, smiling as she wriggles appreciatively beneath his touch. "Or, you could start with the name you've called out in your sleep for the last two nights: Jerry."
Raising her head from his chest, Dara tries to read Rinaldo's face--not an easy feat, considering the only light in the room was supplied via slivers of moonlight which filtered through the partially drawn curtains. But all that she needed to know regarding Rinaldo's reaction to her slip of the tongue she could gauge from his tone: He was genuinely concerned about her. Their relationship - if you could call it as such, for neither Rinaldo nor Dara attempted to label what it was that was going on between them - was one of (great) no-strings sex and a somewhat twisted camaraderie with regards to their "line of work." At no time did emotions - other than fear (as with the incidents at the shooting range and warehouse) or ecstasy (as with the sex) - ever come into play.
There was a long silence between Dara and Rinaldo, as if each knew the next words she spoke would somehow release a flood of memories and emotions she'd not dealt with in years--memories and emotions that were slowly eating away at her. After all, she DOES remember everything about that night that incredible, beautiful, fateful night.
Dara straddles Rinaldo, lightly resting on her heels. Lacing her fingers in his, she gives an anguished sigh, and in a distant voice begins to tell him all that she'd refused to tell Jason when she'd first arrived at the Penthouse.
"Jerry Jacks is the name of the man you heard me call out in my sleep. He was my partner."
The Harem of Jason Morgan
V was finishing her rounds. She'd stopped to
check on Robin when she
hears the front door open. Shaking her head and smiling the
smiles at Carly's attempts to get up to her room quietly, V looks
clock, "2am. Carly must really be ticked off to have stayed
late." She thinks.
Just then V notices Robin stirring.
"Jason? Is that you?" she mumbles weakly.
V reached over and turned on a dim lamp, "Hey there Robin, it's me, V. How ya doing? Can I get you anything?"
Robin groans weakly as she struggles to prop herself up a little, "Owwww. God, I am so stiff! And thirsty. Can I have some water please?"
V gets up and gets her a cup of water from the carafe on the dresser. She hand it to Robin, "How are you feeling, Robin? Are you still in pain? I can give you some meds...."
"Ohmigosh! My protocol!"
V grabs her hand and gives it a squeeze to get her attention, "Robin, calm down. It's okay. Jason knows your whole regime and made sure that you got your proper dosages at the proper times while you were out of it. Dr. Harmon helped us out with all that. Everything is just fine. Jason saw to that."
Robin smiles. "Yeah, I should have known that Jason wouldn't let anything happen to me, especially missing my meds. Hey, where is he? Can I see him?"
"Sorry, not right now, he's upstairs. You'll see him tomorrow."
Robin gives V a pleading look, "Please V? Will you get him for me? Please?"
V shakes her head, "Come on, Robin-- It's 2am. He's sleeping. Tomorrow'll be soon enough okay?"
V crosses her fingers behind her back and prays Robin'll let it go. From the sound of things, Carly came in drunk and Jason'd have his hands full right now trying to get his posterior from the conflagration. When Emily filled her in how Jason stood Carly up to stay and read to Robin, V couldn't help but wonder just how much more clueless Jason was than the other guy. V refused to blame it on Jason being brain damaged, I mean if that were the case what was Jax's excuse for being so oblivious to her feelings?
Robin let out a sigh of frustration, "Fine, tomorrow then. V, could you do me another favor? I really need to go to the bathroom and want to brush my teeth, can you help me get to the washroom? I know that I should be better but this one armed stuff is for the birds. And I still feel like I was hit by a train rather than a car."
V's back is to Robin, relief written all over her face, V composes herself, grins, looks up and mouths the words 'Thank You'. She turns around, still smiling, "Sure thing! Glad you're feeling strong enough to try."
As V helps her out of bed Robin asks, "So V, why are you here? I mean, you said it was 2 in the morning. Shouldn't you be asleep too?"
"Well, we've all been a little worried about you, Robin; so we've taken turns in staying with you in case you woke up and needed anything. This is my shift"
"All this fuss over me? Why?"
"Do you really need to ask that, Robin?"
"No, I guess I don't...Jason set it up." As Robin walks into the washroom V thought she saw her smiling in a self-satisfied way.
V shakes her head and whispers softly to herself. "Better fasten your seatbelts folks, this is gonna be a bumpy ride!"
A short time later V gets Robin back into bed. When she's sure Robin has fallen back asleep, V heads to the secret room. Much to her delight, she'd found the computer fully operational with the surveillance system intact. One of the cameras had been stuck but V fixed that a few days ago. She makes herself comfortable and turns on the computer, "Well now, both penthouses are secure, time to check on the periphery." After about half an hour, V notices movement on the roof. She zooms in on the lone figure who lights up a cigarette. "Hmmm, wonder what Brenda's doing up?" Another couple minutes pass she starts to yawn and V is about to call it night when something catches her eye.
"Damn!" V's instantly alert. She zooms in to see one man carrying a box enter a Janitor's closet on the floor below them. There's another man standing guard outside the doorway. "This is textbook covert WSB." V thinks. "If they are going by the playbook that means I have about 15 minutes tops." Looking to the screens again, she sees Brenda is still up on the roof. "Well now Brenda, you've always wanted a little spice in your life..."
V hightails it to the roof. Just before going out she composes herself. "No need to scare her and have her scream." V thinks. She opens the door slowly, "Hey Bren? It's me, V. Listen, I need your help. I'm about to tell you something but you have to swear to me to keep quiet and don't panic okay?"
Brenda nods, "Sure V, something wrong?"
V gives her roommate a wry smile, "Well, some might think so. A couple of guys a floor below us are setting a bomb to blow Jason's Penthouse to Kingdom Come."
Brenda's eyes open wide, "Okay, I'll wake everyone up; how long do we have?"
V shakes her head, "No Brenda, I don't want to wake ANYONE up. We're going to take care of this."
Brenda laughs, "Right. You're joking. Right? V? OH MY GOD! You're serious! How?"
V fills Brenda in on her plan, "Brenda, you've really improved with the hand to hand training. You're gonna use it for real okay? I need you to..."
About two precious minutes later, Brenda, dressed only in a man's white dress shirt haphazardly buttoned and her panties slips down the back hallway and heads down one flight of stairs, She looks back at V who gives her a thumbs up for encouragement. Brenda turns and bursts through the door running and screaming "Help! She's after me! HELP!"
The lookout turns to see what the commotion is and spies a stunning brunette with a bod that just won't quit running toward him screaming for help.
Brenda spots the lookout and runs up to him, "Oh my God! You have to help me! She's after me! I swear I didn't know he was married! Please hide me!" Brenda sees him giving her the once over and takes a deep breaths to give off that heaving chest thing that no guy has ever been able to resist. Just then V comes running up yelling "You little tramp! Wait 'til I get my hands on you!"
"EEEK! Help me! Brenda yells just as V grabs her arm. V gives signals her with a curt nod and Brenda whips around and nails the guard with a strong and very accurately placed Roundhouse kick to the head while V whips out a tranquilizer gun and shoots. The lookout goes down like a ton of bricks. The door to the Janitor's closet opens, "Lionel, what the hell is going on out here?" *Thhhhpt" "What the.." the man pulls a tranq dart out from neck and collapses.
V gives Brenda the gun "Watch them! I need to diffuse this!" Looking at the timer, V sees that there's 5 minutes left. "Phew! Glad it wasn't one of those down to the second deals." She thinks. V disarms the bomb immediately. There was nothing fancy about it. No one had suspected that it would ever be found so there was no need to booby trap it or anything.
V steps out of the closet and give Brenda a quick hug, "You were great, Bren! Thanks!"
Brenda grins ear to ear, "What a rush! Was I really okay, V?"
V nods, "Better than okay, Brenda. Believe me, there isn't anyone else that could have been more of a distraction than you are." Why don't you run upstairs, throw some clothes on and send Johnny down here. I need his help getting these guys upstairs. Jason's gonna want to talk to them."
"Sure thing V!" Brenda takes off.
The next morning
Dara has showered and dressed. When she came back into Rinaldo's bedroom Dr. Harmon had just finished with Rinaldo's follow up.
"How is he?"
Dr. Harmon turns to see Dara watching Rinaldo with more than just the normal amount of concern in her eyes. He knows that look. She's feeling responsible. Dr. Harmon motions for Dara to have a seat.
"Look, I'll be straight with you. He lost a lot of blood and it's a pretty nasty wound. However, he's strong and in great shape. He's going to be just fine in time. The key is to keep him from getting back to work too soon AND for him to not overexert himself. Do you think you can do that?"
Dara nods letting out a heavy sigh. She hadn't even realized that she'd been holding her breath.
"Dara, it's time for you to be checked out now. I'm going to see if there is any signs of infection that might mess up the stitches on that ear and I want to check your ribs."
"I'm fine, Dr. Harmon"
"No. You're not fine. The way you're holding your side and from the difficulty you're having breathing you may have over exerted on that cracked rib. You and Rinaldo seem to have the same problem trying to do too much too soon. Now, let's get you checked out."
"Good idea." V said as she walked up, "You're far from out of the woods, Dara. We've a bigger task ahead of us than Moreno was. Let the Doctor check you out. You need to be in top condition for the next round."
Dara smiles ruefully, "You're right as usual, V. Fine. Let's just get this over with"
V smiles and gives Dara a curt nod before going in search of Jason. She spots him coming down the stairs with Carly who is wearing sunglasses despite being indoors. V catches him before he can get involved in something else.
"Mr. Morgan, may I have a minute?" V asked.
"Is it important, V? I'd like to go check on Rinaldo and Robin"
"I'm afraid it is important, sir. Can we go to your office?" Once they reach his office, Jason turns to V and asks impatiently, "V, what is it?"
"Yeah V, When I got in last night, this morning actually there were no signs of trouble."
"Good. If you believe that then I did my job. There were two men, sir. NOT Moreno's." V gave Jason a significant look. "One setting the bombs with a lookout. They've been neutralized as have the bombs but I think we need to set up sweeps for a couple days."
Carly's bloodshot eyes open wide as she whips off the sunglasses, "Why didn't you tell me, V? GOD! My baby could have blown to smithereens! Who were they? How do you know that they're not Moreno's men?"
"Ms Roberts, Brenda and I took care of both the situation and the men. There was no reason for you to know. If you'd have been there you'd have taken off with Michael for his safety which would have actually made the situation worse. You'd only have been a bigger target that way. I've had a LOT of training with explosives. Trust me, the bombs they set were child's play. The last one was diffused with over five minutes to spare on the timers."
Jason looks sharply at V, "So, that's how Dara managed it."
"Yes sir," V smiles "The Ardanowski Special, sir. I've got lots of other tricks up my sleeve as well whatever you might think of the WSB, they give excellent training if you want to get a little extra credit."
Jason nods and paces the room for a minute. "Tell me V, how were you able to find these guys? This is a huge building."
V's eyes sparkle with excitement "Remember that secret room I was telling you about? Well, the computer is still fully functional as is the monitoring system. Mr. Scorpio was nothing if not careful. He had all the ducts, utility areas and basically every nook and cranny set up with security cameras. I just kept an eye on things that way."
Carly looks at V curiously, "I've been wondering where you've been for the last few days! A secret room hmmm?"
Jason brings the heel of his hand to his forehead and squeezes his eyes shut, an action reminiscent of his predecessor and mentor Sonny Corinthos.
"Exactly HOW did you dispose of them, V?"
"You're assuming I killed them, sir. I said I neutralized them-- not that I took them out. I've got them stashed in the secret room. Shall I go get them, sir? They should be coming to in just a few minutes." V smiles mischeviously, "My guess is that Dara would love to have a chat with them."
The slightest of smiles shows on Jason's face. "Man, this V is quite a piece of work!" he thinks.
"Ya know, V, I bet you're right; maybe you should show me this secret room. Carly, do you know where Mike is?"
"Yeah Jase, he drove over with Dr Harmon as a cover but then he went to sit with Robin while Dr. Harmon checks everyone else out. Want me to go get him?"
"Do it. V and I will wait here. And if the doctor is done with Dara, send her in too"
"You got it" Carly leaves.
"Mr. Morgan, there's something I want to talk to you about since we're alone. I have to call Mac. He's worried sick about Robin. It's been a week since Moreno went down now that mopping up operation is complete. I want to get in touch with him-- let him know she's okay. I'll use a scrambled phone, but I have to let him know what the deal is. He loves her, sir. Just as much as you do."
Jason's head snaps towards V as she says those words. His eyes are steely and he's clenching his jaw so tight you can see the muscles twitch.
"What I feel for Robin is NONE of your business you got that?"
"Mr. Morgan, I don't have a problem with that. What I DO have a problem with is that there is a very good man, who's cut you a lot of slack because of his niece's feelings toward you, going insane because he still doesn't know who snatched her from the hospital. He doesn't know that she's safe. All he knows is what happened at Moreno's compound and that was from the press and police. What you're doing is wrong and Robin would be the first one to tell you so!" V responds defiantly. Her eyes every bit as icy as Jason's and jaw, while not clenched, set in a determined fashion. This was one battle she has no intention of retreating from. "Mr. Morgan, out of respect for you, I've waited on this. I could've gotten in touch with him right away-- but I didn't. I'm not here to screw things up. Listen, what if I email him? You can stand over my shoulder and dictate what you want me to say even but -- Geeze Louise! Give the poor guy a break! Let him know she's alive and being well taken care of! Let him know she 's safe! If you don't then you're doing to Mac what Dr. Jones did to you when he kidnapped Michael."
"DON'T YOU EVER COMPARE ME TO HIM!" Jason rages.
"Then don't give me a reason, sir." V responds with a quiet deadliness telling Jason she wouldn't be so easily intimidated. She continues, "I know you run the show here. I also know you're doing what you think is right. I can respect that. You've my word I won't disclose her location. You have my word that there will be no repercussions. Mr. Morgan...Jason. Mac has a right to know that she's okay. Please. Let me contact him."
"Jason, she's right you know, and Sonny'd tell you the same thing."
"Mike, stay out of this..."
"No, Jason, I won't. As a father who has no idea where his son is or if he's even alive, I can't condone you're willingly putting anyone else through it. It's wrong, Jase. It's just wrong"
Jason paces the room thinking. "Okay. Go ahead. But V...do NOT tell him where she is yet. Only that she's okay. For your sake, you better hope that he doesn't try to come after her or that the PCPD doesn't try anything."
V nods, "Thank you Jason. You have my word. You won't be sorry."
There's a knock on the doorway, "You want to see me, Jason?"
"Dara, good. What's the word on Rinaldo?"
"The doctor said he's be fine but needs R&R for the next few weeks. Carly thought it would be a good idea for Dr. Harmon to check out Robin as well while he's here. When he's done, he'll come to see you."
"Okay, good. Listen...."
Dara and Mike are brought up to speed on V's escapades and they go to get the two "prisoners" from the secret room.
The Harem of Jason Morgan
James Connery squints as he enters the darkened establishment which has the audacity to call itself a pub.
As he looks about, surveying the motley crew of characters which inhabit the joint, he silently curses himself for not following up on this tidbit of information when he'd first received it. As his eyes come to rest upon the man in question who'd supplied him with the info, he wonders what are the chances of them both getting out of the establishment without coming to blows either with each other or the occupants--who seem to grow more unruly by the minute.
"If the mountain won't go to Mohammed ," he mutters, as he crosses the room. Finally reaching the bar, he takes a seat and orders a gin and tonic. The bartender proceeds to look at him as if he's just landed from outer space. "The closest thing you've got to it, then," he shrugs. Turning his attention to the man on his left, he dabs at his sweat-soaked brow. "You're a hard man to find, you know."
"Not hard ENOUGH, obviously." Jerry Jacks slams back the last of his whiskey, then eyes his former boss. "I was wondering when you'd show up, Director Connery."
"Nice to see you, too, Jacks," he replies, in an equally dry tone. Connery downs his drink, then turns to Jerry, whose expression matches that of his dour tone. "I never got the chance to thank you for the tip about Jensen's call to you."
"You're welcome--not that it helped any."
"Any more info from your source?"
"No." Jerry shoots Connery a heated look. "Look, I know you think Dara's dead, but I don't care WHAT those reports said. C'mon, Director! There was NO BODY, for cryin' out loud. 'Sides, I have it on good authority she's alive."
"An 'authority' you're not willing to identify?"
Connery rubs his temples, a futile attempt to ward off an oncoming headache. There's no reasoning with Jerry when his like this, the Bureau Director surmises. "Okay, let's say your 'source' is right. She IS alive. Then why hasn't she contacted you yet?" he inquires softly.
Jerry is silent on that one. True, V had been supplying him with tidbits here and there, even going so far to say she'd had visual contact. But it had been over 24 hours since he'd heard from her. And that was plenty of time for something to have happened to Dara. For someone to have MADE something happen to her. "Okay. I don't have that one figured out yet. I'm thinking she hasn't 'cause she can't. Hell, I dunno. All I know is I'm not giving her up for dead."
"Believe me, no one wants Dara to be alive more than me. How do you think *I* feel? I'm the one who assigned her to Port Charles."
"We both know why you did that," Jerry says quietly. "If I had any sense, I'd have gotten out with her."
"You ARE out, Jerry," Connery replies, referring to Jerry's self-imposed exile from the Bureau--a situation he was hoping to remedy, thus the purpose of his visit.
"You know what I mean," replies somberly, motioning for another drink.
The drink arrives, but before Jerry can reach for it, Connery slams his hand over the top of the glass. Jerry shoots his friend and former boss a look that would cause lesser men to run for cover. Connery in unfazed. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he shakes his head in frustration, as he eyes his hardheaded friend. "How many times to I have to say it before you get it through that stubborn Aussie skull of yours, man?" Connery hisses. "I do not, I repeat, DO NOT, hold either you or Dara responsible for what happened."
Jerry holds Connery's gaze for a few seconds. His boss manages to speak of the incident as if he were giving directions to the local pub. Then again, Jerry muses, Connery WAS always one to keep his emotions in check--both professionally and personally. Jerry envies Connery regarding the latter. After all this time, the memories still act as a grate against his soul. "I know you don't, James," he replies, wincing as he downs the fiery liquid. As he slams the glass down on the counter, he turns to the face the father of the woman whose death he'll always feel responsible for. "But *I* do."
"Look, Jerry. We can go 'round and 'round on this 'til the Second Coming. What am I talking about? We HAVE discussed this ad nauseum. Despite what you believe, it didn't happen "on your watch." Yes, I know you and Dara volunteered to hang back in the shadows as a precautionary measure."
"*I* volunteered," Jerry corrected him, his voice bitter, laced with self-loathing. "Dara only came along for the ride 'cause I twisted her arm."
"And if you'll recall, after a 48 hour stakeout, I told you both your services were no longer required. In fact, I recall telling you two to go off and have a good time breaking the Bureau Rules regarding extracurricular activities between Agents," Connery chided, trying to lighten the mood. When he saw Jerry's face cloud over, he realized he'd done just the opposite. "Look, Jerry. This is getting us nowhere. My daughter's dead. And the fact is there's nothing you, Dara, or even *I* could've done to prevent it." He pauses, giving a furtive glance about the pub before continuing. "What I'm about to tell you, I've never told a soul. NO ONE." Jerry shoots Connery a questioning look, then narrows his eyes. He can tell by his tone that something serious is about to follow. "There's no way we could've saved her," Connery states mater-of-factly, in a hushed voice.
"Why?" as Jerry takes a swig of the whiskey.
"Because there was a leak Upstairs in the Bureau." Jerry nearly drops his drink. "One of the top dogs turned out to be a double agent. He was DVX all along."
"MotherofMaryJesusandJoseph!" Jerry mutters. "You serious on this? You're not just trying to make an old bloke like me feel better, are ya', mate?" A grave shake of Connery's head tells Jerry he's telling the gospel truth. The two comrades are silent as both finish off their drinks. When done, Jerry turns to face his brother in arms, eyeing him with scrutiny. "Wait a minute! You've known this for YEARS, and you're just telling me this now?! Do you know what the last five years have been like for me, mate? Do you know what that night cost me. WHAT I GAVE UP?!"
"You didn't give her up," Connery intones softly. "You pushed her away." Ignoring Jerry's surprise, he continues. "Yes. I know everything, Jerry. Dara told me. Don't act surprised. You know I've always had a soft spot for her Venus and Anna, too--God rest her soul. Those three were like daughters to me--you and Robert? Like my sons." As Connery places a hand on Jerry's shoulder, giving it a squeeze, inwardly, Jerry feels something stir. It's the very same act he'd seen his own father perform towards his baby brother Jax, but hardly ever to him. Quickly burying his emotions, Jerry, returns his attention to Connery. "I've taken many Agents under my wing, Jerry. But to this day, the entire time I've been with the Bureau - 25 years - you five are the ONLY Agents I've ever taken to my heart."
On the verge of choking up, Jerry is thankful he didn't have a mouthful of whiskey during Connery's confession. Looking away to quickly compose himself, he then turns to face Connery. "All right, 'Da,' " Jerry grumbles. "Is this the part where we embrace or does that come later?" he cracks. Although he offers up his trademark smirk, secretly, he's touched. He feels the same way about his boss, often feeling closer to him than his own father, John. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Connery never made him feel like he was second best, that there was no Good Son for him to play Bad Seed to in his eyes. Jerry stops the train of thought and focuses on the situation at hand. "Okay, so I can't blame you for what happened between me and Dara," he replies sullenly. "But I bloody hell CAN hold you responsible for not putting me out of my misery sooner!" Before Connery can respond, Jerry connects with a devastating right hook, squarely across his jaw.
"Feel better now?" Connery mumbles, stroking his jaw as he looks up at his assailant.
"Yep!" Jerry smiles, extending his hand to help him up. "Okay. Now that we've gotten THAT out of the way, spill. I get the feeling that not only was your little confession for a reason, but that it gets worse."
Connery can't help but smile. He may have been out of the field for over five years, but Jerry's instincts are still as sharp as ever, he reasons. "What do you want first--the good news, bad news, or the really bad news?"
"I'll be a sucker. Gimme the good."
"Okay. I really did tell you this to ease your conscience. I'd have told you sooner, but " as he shakes his head. "Emotionally, you'd just shut down after the explosion. Add to that, it seemed like every day a new crisis was springing up somewhere around the globe ."
"And you needed an Agent who was willing to go in and risk his neck, not caring if he came back," Jerry finished, his tone rueful.
"The DVX was on the rampage, Jerry. With Robert and Anna dead, you were the ideal choice. And don't forget, no one MADE you go. You volunteered. You said you wanted to keep busy. I couldn't send Dara. Besides, by that time, she'd tired of waiting for you to snap out of your self-loathing, and had gone into a self-destructive mode herself."
"What do you mean, "self-destructive"?" he inquires, his voice tinged with worry. "Did something happen to her when we split, when the partnership dissolved?"
"Let's just say it was a bad scene for everyone involved, all around, and leave it at that, Jerry," Connery replies, effectively dodging the issue. "Anyway, Jerry. Back to the reason for my "confession." That's the bad news."
"Let's hear it," Jerry groans.
"We have a problem."
"And what type of "problem" is it that you have, exactly?"
"Not what, but WHO. Ever hear of a man by the name of Jason Morgan?"
"Don't know him personally," Jerry replies in a bored voice. "I just know he took over that slime Corinthos' empire when he tucked tail and left town. Something about him leaving that midget model at the altar." Jerry gave a hearty laugh. "Hell, that act alone is almost enough to make me wanna shake his hand. Almost."
"Yeah," as Connery suppresses a laugh. "Well, it seems this Morgan character has taken over Moreno's Territory. It seems Mr. Moreno has been "neutralized"; he's no longer a problem for the WSB. In a way, we actually are indebted to this Morgan character. It seems HE took him out. Now what little I've been able to gather on him, and it's not much, tells me this Morgan guy runs the Empire way different than his predecessor. Not just in terms of having acquired more legitimate strongholds, but that folks in his line of business know him to be swift and exacting in his methods, if you follow my lead. He's a very powerful man in the city of Port Charles. And power and greed go hand in hand. So I don't think I need to draw you a map to show you where this all could be headed ."
"Meaning that now that Morgan's offed Moreno and has his Territory, it's only a matter of time before he starts trying to play hardball with the WSB."
"Exactly. Normally, I wouldn't be concerned. But as you can attest by the recent rash of leaks to the news agencies, he may have already tapped into Moreno's history with the Bureau. The stuff that's being made public is stuff that ONLY someone in the Bureau would know about."
"Yeah, you're right. You DO have a problem!" Again, Jerry narrows his eyes. "And WHY are you looking at me like that?"
Connery takes a deep breath, then slowly rises from the barstool, making sure he's far out of Jerry's reach. "That's the REALLY bad news and the reason I've kept the knowledge about the DVX's involvement in my daughter's death under wraps for so long. Remember the vow you made to me at her graveside?" Jerry nods. "You said that if I ever needed anything of you, EVER, there was no favor too great of me to ask of you. All I'd need do is call it in."
"No! Uh-uh. NO WAY!" as Jerry rose from his seat, shaking his head vehemently.
"You gave your word, Jerry," Connery replies, backing up slowly. "We even shook on it. And besides," he reasons, "you can't tell me that even in light of all I've told you about the DVX being involved, that somewhere, deep down inside in a tiny corner of your soul, you STILL don't harbor even the slightest bit of guilt. Here's your chance to assuage that guilt. Over my daughter, and Dara," he said softly. "I need you to contact this Morgan, make him an offer to work WITH us instead of against us. If we don't do something soon, there's gonna be "skeletons" falling out of the closets left, right, and center! C'mon, Jerry. You KNOW I wouldn't ask if it weren't important. You're the only one I trust on this."
His hand curled into a fist, Jerry is silent as he ponders whether or not to once again punch the infuriatingly devious man before him. Realizing it's a scene he's been guilty of orchestrating far too many times himself, his anger at being played subsides. Thrusting his hand forth for a shake, he marvels, "You played me like a violin, Connery! I can't BELIEVE I didn't see this coming."
"That's why I'M the Director, Jerry, and you're not," Connery gloats, laughing as he returns the hearty handshake. The two men embrace, patting each other soundly on the back. "Good to have you back, Jerry," Connery smiles. "Damn good!"
"Yeah, you say that now. You know what a loose cannon I can be," Jerry reminds his boss/friend.
"Why do I suddenly get the feeling that the city of Port Charles isn't QUITE big enough for both you and this Jason Morgan?" Connery inquires warily.
"Maybe 'cause it ain't, mate!" Jerry winks.
As they step out into the late afternoon sun, Connery sends up a silent prayer. God help the city of Port Charles. Hurricane Jerry is headed your way!