Shadows From The Past
By
Maggie M. & Arla
 

Kristin stared out of the window of her office in the research lab, watching the rain hammering down onto the pavement below and wondering what Nathan was up to on seaQuest. It had to be more exciting than what she'd been doing of late…

The research she was overseeing at the moment was boring, routine stuff and didn’t require much of her time and as such she had been ‘ordered’ to attend and participate in a series of boring lectures to others in her field and students at the local university. And while she’d enjoyed the eager and earnest participation of the students, the reaction of her so called colleagues left much to be desired.

She knew that some of them were jealous of the position she'd held on board the seaQuest, some had even applied for the job at the time. Professional jealousy wasn't pretty, but she hadn't expected them to treat her this badly. She sighed as she realised that it was time for lunch, knowing that she'd probably end up eating alone as usual - although there was one man that had shown an interest in her, but somehow she didn't think it was her knowledge and experience that attracted him. Not only that, there was just something that left her feeling ill at ease.  She couldn’t put her finger on it but there was this warning voice inside her head that told her never to be alone with him.

She shook the feeling off and headed for the door just as the vid-screen chimed for attention.  Sighing, she returned to answer it. “Janet!” she smiled, genuinely pleased to see a friendly face.

“Hi Kristin.  I can’t stay long but I just wanted to ask… Bill’s off on another of his inspection tours and I was wondering, if you’re not busy tonight, would you like to go for drinks and dinner?”

“I’d love to.”

“No hot date with Nathan?” The older woman pressed with a smile.

“No such luck.  He’s still at sea and won’t be back until the weekend, so I’m free.”

“Great.  How about I meet you at your place after work?”

“Sounds great.   I should be home around six.”

“Okay, see you then. Bye.”

Well that was definitely a plus to her otherwise lousy day, she thought as she headed for the door once more.

********

Kristin glanced up nervously as the door to the restaurant opened.

"Is everything, alright?"

"Yes, of course. Why wouldn't it be?"

"That's the sixth time you've jumped when someone's come in."

"Is it?" She tried to sound surprised but didn't quite bring it off.

"You're not fooling anyone. Come on, spill."

"Okay. There's this guy at the place I'm working…"

"Oh yes…" Janet smirked. "Someone I should warn Nathan about?"

"No it's not like that… Well, maybe it is, but…"

"But?"

"I don't know. He seems to spend an awful lot of time watching me." 

"You're a beautiful woman."

Kristin stared at the other woman dubiously.

"Well, you are. What man in his right mind wouldn't give you a second glance?"

"Oh pleease. Anyway, it's not that. There's just something about the *way* he looks."

"Lecherous… Hungry…?"

"No, well yes… but kinda weird. And I swear he was parked outside my house when I left."

"You can't be sure?"

"No. He ducked down before I could check." 

Janet frowned.  “Maybe this is something you should tell Nathan.  If you’re worried…”

“I am… but no, I’m not going to tell Nathan, at least not yet. And don’t you tell him either.”

“Kristin.”

“Look if I tell Nathan he’ll want to protect me.”

“Of course he will. He loves you.”

“I know… But, it’s probably just my imagination and I don’t want to worry him for nothing.”

“Perhaps… but what if it’s not nothing.  What if this guy really isn’t a harmless voyeur?  What if he’s stalking you?  Kristin there are some very scary people in the world and it would break my heart to have to tell Nathan that one of those sickos got to you… not to mention what something like that would do to him.”

“I hear what you’re saying, and I’ll be careful. I just want to be sure.”

"Alright, but if something else happens you call me, you hear?"

"Okay."

"And you tell Nathan."

"Maybe, when he comes home. It wouldn't be fair to do it while he's at sea. You know what he's like."

Janet agreed doubtfully.

"Now, can we get on with our dinner? What have you been up to?"

********

Kristin pulled the car into the driveway and almost without wanting to, surveyed the street. There was no one in sight. She chastised herself for being a complete idiot and let herself indoors, noticing the vid-link flashing its warning of a waiting message. Quickly she ran to it, hoping that it would be Nathan. It was, but not with a message she wanted to hear. 

Sulkily she moved to the bedroom and got undressed, angrily brushing away the tears from her cheeks. Well, if she had to wait another week to see him, then she'd just have to make the best of it. She fidgeted around and tried to get comfortable but she could only think about tomorrow and yet another dreaded lecture. God, life wasn't fair sometimes… 

Carefully concealed within his hiding place he smiled with wicked glee.  She hadn’t noticed his presence and his niche afforded him of an unobstructed view of her bedroom.  He watched as she prepared for bed, and it was only when the light went out, that he moved.

Soon… Very soon, he vowed.

********

Kristin was just stepping out of the shower when she heard the chime of the vid-screen.  She swore under her breath as she drew a towel around her and went to answer it.

“Janet.”

“Kristin…  Bill just told me that Nathan’s going to be out for another week.  How are you doing?”

“I’m fine.  I’m used to this by now.’

“You don’t sound fine.”

“I am, really.”

“Okay.  Did you at least tell him what about that man?”

“No I didn’t… and what’s the point…? The UEO wouldn’t let him leave anyway.”

“Kristin…”

“Look Janet, I’m late for work. Can we discuss this later?”

“Sure.  You be careful!”

“I will.” Kristin replied and cut the link

********

The day went exactly as she'd expected. The students were eager to hear of her time aboard the world's most famous submarine while her colleagues looked on in disapproval. ~ Damn it, they're just jealous! ~ She thought moodily as she stared into her cup of coffee. She was drawn from her thoughts by the sound of the chair on the opposite side of the table being scraped across the wooden floor and looked up startled.

"Mind if I join you?"

It was him… her stalker as she referred to him now, thanks to Janet.

"Erm… well actually, I was just leaving."

"It'll only take a moment. I wanted to ask you about a couple of things you mentioned earlier."

She shook herself mentally, almost laughing at her own paranoia. "Of course, please do." 

They chatted pleasantly for a quarter-of-an-hour and he'd introduced himself as Max Smith, although for some reason he'd hesitated over his surname. Although his interests lay mainly in whales, he also seemed to be very interested in seaQuest and her crew, especially her captain.

Finally he excused himself after picking up the bill for her meal as well as his. Kristin stared at the door after he'd left. What an idiot she'd been, he was just a nice, friendly guy.

********

Max Smith, aka, Max Scully smiled as he slipped from the room.  He’d got the information he was looking for, information he could use against his nemesis.  As he moved away he felt a twinge of guilt for having to deceive Kristin.  She seemed like a very nice woman and he liked her very much.  He knew that his eventual actions against the man she loved would hurt her but he couldn’t let that stop him.  Revenge would be his.

The watcher glared at the man who dared to sit down with her.  He would pay for this insolence.  She was his.  No one would stop her from becoming his.  No one!    He followed the man, moving quickly until he was close enough behind him to hear the conversation he was having on his cell phone. Well perhaps this man could be of use to him… as they saying went… The enemy of my enemy is my friend.   Nathan Bridger was the only obstacle standing between he and the object of his obsession and because of that he was an enemy.  And if the man he was following was out to hurt Bridger then he was all for it.

********

"No, honestly Janet. I'm sure everything's okay."

"Maybe I should get Bill to run a check on this Max Smith."

"No, no and no. I don't want to look more of an idiot than I already feel."

"If you're sure. I'll talk to you later."

"Bye."

As Kristin disconnected a text message came up on the screen….

<< I enjoyed our chat yesterday, any chance we could meet for lunch? Same place, same time… I have a few more questions. >>

It was unsigned but she knew immediately whom it was from. Why the hell not, it was better than eating alone… And she could do with one friend of her own age. With a spring in her step, she headed for the front door. 

********

He was waiting for her when she arrived and waved to her from the table. Returning his greeting she crossed the room and Max stood as she approached, pulling out a chair for her. “Thank you.” She smiled as she sat.

They shared a bit of small talk before the waiter came to take their order.  Once the young man was gone Max turned to her again.

“Kristin, I know we’ve only just got to know each other and this may seem a trifle forward, but I was wondering if you might see your way to introducing me to Captain Bridger.  I would really like to meet him and discuss the seaQuest with him in person.”

“I don’t see why not, “ she smiled.  “He’s due home next Friday.  You could come by the beach house.” 

Max smiled to hide his displeasure, that was far too soon for what he had in mind and despite everything he liked this woman, liked her very much… too damn much. Again he cursed Bridger, the guy had all the luck. "I look forward to it." He lied.

Kristin smiled back at him. She liked this man. If it wasn't for Nathan she… She blushed as she realised that he'd asked her a question. "I'm sorry?"

"I just wondered if you'd do me the honour of having dinner with me tonight?"

"Well, I…"

"Just dinner Kristin, nothing more. There's a great place I know just along the beach."

"You mean Robertos? I've always wanted to try them."

”It’s a date then. I'll book the table for eight."

She hesitated for a moment before accepting… it was just dinner after all.

Pleased with himself, Max finished his coffee before heading for the door. As he stepped outside someone grabbed him from behind; a hand clamped over his mouth, and it didn't take a genius to know that it was a gun poking him in the back. 

“Don’t turn around, just move.” A voice hissed in his ear, prodding him with the muzzle of the gun.

“Okay mister, I’m moving.” Scully stated.  “Where?”

“Around the corner so we can have a private talk.”

Max did as he was told and once they were hidden from view the man stepped around him, keeping the gun level with his chest. “Who are you?  What do you want?”

“I’m your new best friend.” The man grinned.  “And you’re mine.  I know what you want.  I can help you hurt Bridger, help you hurt him bad.”

“And what’s in it for you?

”Something I’ve wanted for a very long time.  Something that was mine before Bridger came along and stole her from me and she’ll be mine again once he’s gone. “

“Her?  You mean Kristin.”

“That’s right. And just so we understand each other…” the man’s voice lowered and his eyes were shards of ice.  “…You touch her and I’ll gut you like a fish.”

Max took a step back,  “I don’t know.” He hesitated.

“How bad do you want Bridger?”

Scully considered the question for a moment. ~ How badly did he want Bridger? ~ 

When he'd started out it had been the only thing on his mind, but then he'd met Kristin and she'd muddied the waters somewhat. Yes, he wanted to hurt the sanctimonious Captain, but at what cost? He knew he was getting soft in his old age and that worried him, but a vision of the gorgeous redhead entered his thoughts and confused him. He decided to play for time.

"I want him, at any cost."

"Good." The man lowered the gun slightly but still kept a wary eye on him.

"What did you mean by ‘she was yours before Bridger came along’?”

“That’s none of your damn business! We work together. You get Bridger and I get the woman, understood?” 

“Understood.” Max agreed, his mind trying to workout a plan that involved fixing Bridger and keeping Kristin. After all, it was obvious she liked him, maybe he could… 

********

Four days later, Kristin sat at her desk, a frown on her face.    Dinner with Max had been pleasant and she’d enjoyed his company.  They’d had lunch together several times since and even dinner nearly every evening and now she found herself in a dilemma.  She’d sensed that something had changed between them, that Max wanted more than friendship from her.

Janet had told her just this morning that people were beginning to talk.  The rumor mill spinning a story that she and Max were having an affair and she knew that she had to stop before it was too late.   She cared for Max, but as she searched her heart of hearts she knew they could never be anything more than friends.  She loved Nathan, loved him far too much to have him hurt by something like this.  She had to end things. Make Max see that there could never be anything more than friendship between them.  And she had to talk to Nathan before he heard the rumors.

The watcher continued to do just that. This wasn't going as he'd planned. The guy Max was seeing far too much of 'his' woman and she seemed to enjoy it. A new plan began to formulate in his head, one that would fix both Bridger and Max.

********

On seaQuest Nathan sat alone in his cabin and pondered the rumors he'd been hearing. It was amazing how gossip travelled, even out here. He knew that Bill had only been teasing him, but then again he’d tried to contact her every night this week and she was never at home. No, she couldn't be having an affair. There was a tap on the hatch and Tim O'Neill stood outside.

"Yes, Lieutenant." 

The young man hesitated. "I just received an anonymous message for you, Sir. And these…" He handed the captain a sheet of paper and a disk.

"Thank you, but you didn't have to bring them yourself."

"Yes Sir, I did." O'Neill replied and disappeared down the corridor.

As Nathan read the note his frown turned to a scowl. She wouldn't do that… She couldn't… He moved to the computer and slipped the disk into the slot. Images of Kristin in the arms of another man, appeared on the screen. The one of them kissing enraged him and then he saw the man's face… 

Max Scully!   No it couldn’t be... it just couldn’t be.  This was the ultimate betrayal and one he could not tolerate.

His finger shot out to angrily stab the comm button.  “O’Neill!”  He barked.

“Yes, sir.”

“Get me a secure line!”

“Yes sir. “

While he waited, Nathan’s eyes turned to the photo that sat on the edge of his desk.   He picked it up and slipped the picture from the frame.  As he looked down at Kristin’s smiling face he felt tears prick his eyes… those tears were quickly stemmed by another surge of anger.  He shredded the photo, the pieces fluttering down onto the deck.

“You have a secure line, sir.”

His anger continued to rise as he failed to reach Kristin at both the house and her work.  As a last resort he placed another call.

“Nathan.” Janet smiled and then her smile faded when she saw the look on his face.  “What’s wrong?”

“Haven’t you heard?” He sneered and held up the photo of Kristin and Max kissing.

“Oh My God.”

“Is it true?  And my God, with Max Scully of all people!” he ground out.

“Max Scully!” Janet blurted and then quickly recovered her shock   “You trust Kristin that little?  Of course it’s not true!  Sure they’ve met a few times, as friends but that’s all it was.”

“Is that what she told you?”

“Yes… and I believe her. “

Nathan shook his head.  “I thought you were my friend.”

“I am your friend Nathan and as your friend I’m going to say this...  What did you expect?  Kristin is a woman… a woman with needs and feelings and you’re never home.”  

"Don't you think I know that Janet? But Kristin knew what I did for a living before we started this thing."

"And you never compromise for a second, do you?"

Nathan growled angrily. "I thought you'd be on my side."

"Nathan, if this were true I would be, you know that, but it isn't."

"How can you be so sure. Are you with her night and day?"

"No, but…" 

"And you know she's been seeing this b… person."

"I… I know she's been seeing someone but…"

"Max Scully!" He almost yelled.

"She said… wait a minute, she said his name was Smith, not Scully."

"Janet, if you're covering for her…"

"I'm not. Did she ever actually meet Scully during that incident?"

“No.” He reluctantly offered.

“Okay, then how could she possibly have known that this man was your enemy?”

“She should have known.”

“Oh come on Nathan!”

“Is she sleeping with him!?” He ground out, enunciating each word.

“No, she’s not.  And don’t tell me I couldn’t possibly know that because I do.  She’s had to have someone to confide in while you’re gone… and she’s never, not told me the whole truth.  In fact she told me just the other day that she was going to break it off because…”

“Because what?”

“Because she couldn’t hurt you like that. Because she sensed that Max was developing feelings for her and she wouldn’t let it go any further because of *her* feelings for you.”

“If she was worried about my feelings she never would have gone out him in the first place.”

Janet sighed.  “Nathan I’m trying to help you here… you’re so blinded by your feelings of betrayal you can’t see her side.  I’m warning you Nathan.  Talk to her, talk to her and work this out before it’s too late to repair the damage.”

“It may already be too late.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way. Because I don’t think it is.”

********

Kristin was curled up in a fetal position in the center of the bed… sobbing. Oh God she'd lost him. Her eyes fell to the note crumpled in her hand and her sobs grew more heart rending and then suddenly they were stifled. Did he really think that little of her? Could he honestly believe that she would…? Hastily she got up and went to take a shower her mind made up. She'd go into work today and apologise to Max, maybe ask him out to dinner and then, well she'd just have to see. Taking more care than usual over her appearance she put on a new outfit and headed to the car. She'd show him!

********

As she approached the lecture hall she began to feel nervous and stopped for a moment. After what had happened between them the last time, she wasn't sure how he'd respond. A voice from behind her startled her. 

"Are you alright, Kristin?" The papers she was carrying scattered across the floor.

"God, you scared me!"

"I'm sorry." He bent down to help her retrieve them and when they were both upright again he smiled at her. "You didn't answer my question." 

"Which one?"

"There was only one."

She blushed slightly. "Look, we're going to be late. Can we meet at lunchtime, I need to talk to you?"

"Only if it's nothing bad."

"It isn't."

"Lunch it is then." He smiled at her again and walked into the lecture hall. ~ Maybe, all wasn't lost, after all. ~

********

She had just enough time to drop her lecture notes off at her desk before meeting Max for lunch.   Walking into her office, Kristin saw that the vid-screen was blinking, signaling there were two messages waiting for her.  She dropped her notes and crossed to check it.  Seeing that the first one was from Nathan she deleted it, the second was from Janet and knowing she was late, she filed it away to read later then rushed from her office.

As she drew near the commissary, she felt nervous butterflies in the pit of her stomach.  Was she doing the right thing?  Was she acting too hastily?  Maybe she should have at least read Nathan’s message.  And Janet’s too.   Her thoughts were pushed aside as Max waved to her from their regular table

After they'd eaten he eyed her thoughtfully. "So…?"

She jumped. "So… what?"

"I think that was my question. You invited me remember?"

"Yes… I'm sorry, I'm a little distracted."

"I've noticed."

"Sorry…" She apologised again.

"Look, Kristin, if it's about yesterday I do understand. I'm not going to say that I'm happy about it, but I understand."

"I like you Max, really I do, but…"

"You're still in love with Nathan." 

"Yes." She stated firmly.

"Then he's a very lucky guy."

"Maybe you should tell him that."

"Trouble in Paradise?"

"He found out that I've been seeing someone and…"

"We're just friends, Kristin. It's not as though anything's happened between us."

"He knows we kissed." 

"That was harmless. Goodbye, I thought."

"I know, but he thinks differently."

"How the hell would he know about it anyway?"

"I don't know." She glanced at her watch. "Hell, I'm going to be late! Can we continue this later?"

"Dinner?"

"Fine." She fairly flew from the room.

As Max made a more leisurely exit, he felt the familiar pressure in his side and a voice whispered. "I don't think you'll be keeping that dinner date." 

“What? Why?” Max questioned as he tried to turn around. 

“Just keep walking… there’s a car outside.”

“Where are we going?”

“Just walk.”

Max complied.  When they reached the car the man ordered.  “In the driver’s seat.”

“I demand to know what the hell is going on!” Scully fumed as he slid behind the wheel.

The other man slid into the passenger seat.  “What’s going on, is this has gone too far.  I told you to stay away from her. You didn’t listen… now you have to pay.”

“But what about Bridger.”

“Don’t you worry about him.  I’ll take care of Bridger.  And then Kristin will finally be mine, as she was meant to be.”

At that moment Max Scully felt real fear.  This man was truly crazy. “But…”

“No buts, just drive.”  He ordered sticking the muzzle of the gun roughly into his ribs.

Max's mind was racing, he was in a car with a complete madman and, for once in his life, he had no plan of escape. Oh he could do the noble thing and drive them both over a cliff, but what if that didn't kill the lunatic? What if it did kill him? What about Kristin… Where would that leave her?

They'd been driving for half-an-hour in complete silence.

"How much further?" Max asked.

"Does it matter?"

"If this fuel gauge is anything to go by I'd say yeah."

His companion swore under his breath. "Pull over at the next service station and no tricks."

Max just gave him a 'who me' look.

********

He needed to get away from this guy, if only for a few minutes. He wouldn't be able to contact Kristin, she always had her cell-phone turned off during lectures, but maybe he could get to Bridger. The irony of the situation hit him and he laughed out loud.

"What?" The other man growled.

"Nothing. I need to use the restroom."

"You're joking, right?"

"If you make me drive any longer without a break, you'll find out for yourself." It was an old trick but it was worth a try. 

The man swore under his breath and nodded.  

They pulled into the service station and up to the pumps.  As the attendant began to fill up the car both men got out and entered the station.  

“Make it quick.” The man growled as they stopped outside the restrooms.  Max nodded and slipped inside locking the door.  He crossed to the sink to turn on the water hoping it would mask his actions, before pulling the waste bin over to the wall under the window.   It would be a tight squeeze but he was determined.

Several minutes later he dropped to the ground outside the bathroom and took off across the back lot away from the station.   He ran and ran until he couldn’t anymore.  Stopping he looked back, breathing a relieved sigh when he saw he hadn’t been followed.  At least not yet…   Knowing he still wasn’t safe, Max ducked into a restaurant.

********

  
“Sir, I have an outside call for you.”  O’Neill’s voice came over the intercom.

“Who is it?”

“It’s a Max Smith, Sir.”

Nathan’s jaw clenched at the mention of the name.  “Tell him I’m not in.”

“He said you’d say that Sir. And he said to tell you it’s urgent.”

“Very well put him on.”

When Max’s image came on the screen Nathan sneered.  “Called to gloat.”

“Look, you have every right to be pissed at me, and we can come to blows later, but right now I need to see you, alone and in person.”

“If you think I’m going to do that you’re more delusional than I thought.”

“Probably, but if you want to save Kristin’s life then you’ll meet me.”

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Just meet me."

Nathan hesitated for just a second. "Where and when?"

"Malcolm's place as soon as you can. And Nathan, come alone or you won't see her again."

The screen went dark and he swore under his breath. Punching a button he contacted O'Neill. "Get me Noyce."

"Aye Sir."

As he waited he retrieved the pieces of Kristin's photograph and tried to piece them back together.

Minutes later, Noyce’s image filled the screen but before the man could speak, Nathan said.  “Bill I need to take some personal time… Immediately.”

Noyce sighed.  “I was just about to call you.”

Panic filled Nathan at the look on his friend’s face.   “What? What’s happened?”

“Nathan, Kristin is missing.”

“What!  What do you mean missing?”

“I mean she came back from lunch and then left her office about an hour or so later.  She didn’t come back.  Janet’s looked every where for her.  We don’t know where she is.  Her car was still in the lot.”

“Oh dear God.  I have to go.” Nathan said anxiously and stabbed the disconnect button.

Twenty minutes later he was on a sea-launch bound for Caicos Key.

********

"Nathan, my God… What are you doing here? Last I heard you were in the middle of the ocean somewhere." Malcolm smiled.

"Where is he?"

"Where's who?"

"Max."

"Max? You mean Max Scully?"

"Yes."

"Haven't seen him."

"Damn!"

"Nathan, what's wrong?" 

"Kristin's missing and somehow Max is mixed up in it."

"Well, I heard they were seeing each other, but… Did you two break up?"

"Malcolm I don't have time for this - I need to find him, NOW!"

"Okay, okay…" He was interrupted by the sound of a speedboat pulling in alongside the jetty. "I think he found you." 

The moment Scully was out of the boat Nathan was on him. “God dammit Scully what the hell did you do to her!”

“Whoa, hold it!” He held up restraining hands.  “What the hell are you talking about?”

Through gritted teeth Nathan told him of his conversation with Noyce.

“And you think I had something to do with her disappearance?”

“I wouldn’t put it past you.”

“Okay I admit I considered it at first but...”

“But what?”

“I didn’t go through with it…” Scully’s voice trailed off.  “Oh shit.”

“That doesn’t sound good Max.”  Malcolm put in.

“It’s not, because if I’m right and that psycho has her, then we have a bigger problem than I thought.”

“Okay Scully you’d better explain and fast!” Nathan growled.

********

Max lifted himself off the deck, rubbing his jaw. "What the hell was that for?"

"For trying to move in on Kristin."

"I explained…" He hit the ground a second time and this time didn't even try to get up. "And that?"

"For kissing her."

"Well actually she…"

Malcolm could see where that statement was heading and used his bulk to separate them. "Don't you think we should all be working together here, not trying to bash each other's brains out? It's not helping Kristin." 
Nathan agreed grudgingly and allowed Max to get to his feet.

Lansdowne continued. "Just who is this psycho guy that's got her?"

"I dunno. He just kept saying that she used to be his and she would be again."

"Ex-boyfriend? Ex-husband maybe?"

"It's a place to start."

They walked slowly towards the house. "Just how many husbands has she had, anyway?" Malcolm asked innocently.

Max tried to stifle a laugh and Nathan scowled at him.

"Now, now… let's play nice…" 

“Three.” Nathan told Malcolm and tossed him a glare when the man whistled.

Malcolm just chuckled and crossed to the computer.  “Names?”

“I don’t know.” 

“Not to worry.” Malcolm muttered.  “A search of public records… marriage licenses should do the trick.” He said and began tapping at his keyboard.

“Got them.” He said a few minutes later and jotted the names down on a piece of paper.   “Now to see if the ex’s are all present and accounted for.  You’d recognize this man if you saw him again?” he questioned Scully.

“Definitely, I’ll not forget that face anytime soon.”

The first one was discounted immediately… He was English and had died a long time ago. Malcolm quickly moved to the second and let out another whistle.

"What?" Nathan asked irritated.

"You never told me she was married to a senator."

"She was what?"

"Married to a senator - see for yourself."

"I think we can rule him out."

"Max?"

"Nope, not him. I'd have recognised him right off."

"Okay, next… I think we can rule him out too."

"Why?" Nathan asked. 

"Seems he's in jail."

"For what?"

"Rape, assault and attempted murder."

Nathan looked straight at Max. "She sure knows how to pick 'em." His meaning was clear but Max ignored him.

"That's the guy."

"You're sure?" Lansdowne questioned. "Says here he's tucked away for the next 100 years."

"That's him."

Nathan stared incredulously. "Damn it Max, if you're playing games… This guy died in prison. It says so right here."

Max stared him in the eye. "I died twice remember, and I'm still here."

Bridger moved to the vid-link and punched in Noyce's number. 

“Nathan?”

“I don’t have time to explain Bill… but I need all the information you can dig up on a Daniel Alan Lewis.  And fast.”

“Okay” Bill said as he did a quick check.  “This says he died in prison six months ago.”

“If my source is correct, and he swears he is, then the record is wrong.  I want that body exhumed and the DNA checked.”

“Nathan! I can’t authorize something like that.”

“Then find someone who can Bill.  If Lewis really is alive then he has Kristin, and her life is in grave danger.  Please Bill.” 

“All right, I’ll see what I can do. Where are you?”

“Malcolm’s.”

“Okay I’ll get back to you when I have something.”

********

Kristin awoke with the unmistakable feeling that something was very wrong. Her head felt muzzy and strange and she had no idea where she was. Taking a deep breath she tried to clear her head.

She'd had lunch with Max and arranged dinner then gone back to her office but since she couldn't concentrate she'd decided to take an early mark. She'd spoken to the security guard on the way to her car and then… nothing. What the hell was going on? From what little she could see it was dark outside and only a candle lit the room.

Getting to her feet, she staggered slightly before picking it up and investigating her surroundings. Apart from the bed there was a small table and a chair, nothing more. The door was locked. Feeling woozy again she moved back to the bed, spotting a piece of rag on the floor as she put her head between her knees. She picked it up and sniffed. Suddenly everything was clear - she'd been drugged. But by whom, and why?

The key turned in the lock and the door opened, the illumination showing a face that she had hoped she would never see again. Shock turned to fear. He was dead… He'd died in prison…

The man smiled a grotesque smile. "Hi honey, I'm home."

"What the hell? How dare you! You died… you…" 

"Reports of my death seem to have been greatly exaggerated." He smirked and made a move towards her.

"Stay away from me! I'm warning you."

He laughed a blood-curdling laugh. "Now is that anyway to treat your long-lost husband?"

"You're not my husband, you…"

"I'm sorry to disappoint you but we were never divorced, remember? You're supposed to be the grieving widow."

"You've got to be joking!"

He snarled, "Seems you need to be shown just how serious I am." 

********

Nathan paced back and forth along the length of Malcolm’s living room.

“Dammit Nathan would you sit down before you wear a hole in my floor.”

“I can’t Downy… the longer this takes the more chance of… You saw from his record just what this man is capable of. To think she’s in his hands.  God I swear if he’s touched her, I’ll kill him… I’ll….”

The sound of the vid-phone chiming ended Nathan’s tirade.  He fairly leapt at the device.

“What took you so long?”

“Sorry. This took longer than expected.  Well it seems your source was right.  The man buried as Daniel Lewis… isn’t. The DNA confirmed it.  Apparently he switched identities with the dead man…  one Joseph Carlson.”

“He couldn’t have done that without inside help.” Malcolm put in.

“No and I’ve alerted the proper authorities.”

“This doesn’t help Kristin.  We have to find out where he’s taken her… and fast.”

********

Kristin curled up in a tight ball in a corner of the cot.   Daniel had shown her just how serious he was, although he’d stopped just short of raping her. She knew he was only biding his time…waiting until he knew she was so afraid that she wouldn’t fight him.  Well how wrong he was…  She’d changed a lot since she’d left him… she’d become stronger and she knew that a great deal of the credit had to go to Nathan.   She softly breathed his name knowing that if nothing else, she had to fight, for him... She couldn’t let things end the way they had. She had to get away and make things right.  A new determination fueled her as she thought up a plan to get away from Daniel…

"I brought you a drink. Don't want you dying on me before I get what's mine."

"I don't want it."

"Geez, you're the same stubborn bitch you've always been, aren't you?" He was trying to curb his anger and resist the urge to beat her into submission. His hand tightened around the glass and it shattered. He yelped as blood started to pour from the cut on his palm. "Now look what you've done, for Christ's sake."

Kristin got slowly up off the bed. "Let me see." He backed away. "I'm still a doctor."

Grudgingly, he held out his hand. 

"I need more light." 

He led her into another room and she scanned it as she checked the cut. 

"Do you have a first-aid kit?"

"In the bathroom." Taking hold of her wrist he dragged her with him to retrieve it, she cleaned the cut then asked him if they could go back into the other room to bandage it.

When she'd finished she stroked the palm gently. "I've missed you, you know."

"Really?" He hissed.

"Really. We had some good times." Her touches were straying up his arm and, despite himself, his body reacted to her. 

He stood suddenly. "I knew it. I knew you liked the rough stuff." He tugged her hard against his body, his grip bruising her arm.

"Only when it comes from you." 

Somewhere deep inside he knew that something was very wrong but his thoughts were governed by desire. She was still a very beautiful woman. As their lips were about to touch he cried out in agony, Kristin's knee making sharp and hard contact between his legs. He fell to his knees gasping.

"You bitch, you damned bitch… You're gonna die for this…"

Kristin ran, his voice echoing in her ears. When she managed to get out of the door she looked around for an escape route, finally heading into the trees behind the house. She could hear the cracking of twigs behind her but she wasn't going to stop for anything. There had to be a road around here somewhere and she was going to find it. 

She kept moving, knowing that if she were to stop he would catch her.  Suddenly she noticed that the foliage was thinning and moments later she came out onto a highway.  She paused, catching her breath and as she did she scanned the area.  She didn’t hear David behind her, but knew that he would be.  Her scans revealed no cars or buildings nearby and, unsure of exactly where she was, she picked a direction and started to run again.

********

She’d managed to get a ride with an elderly woman driving to visit her grandchildren and had her drop her at a motel in Miami.  Using some of the money in her pocket to rent a room she entered swiftly and locked the door behind her, immediately crossing to the vid-phone.

"seaQuest, how may I direct your call?" Tim began and then smiled when he saw his caller. "Doctor."

"Hello Tim. I need to speak with Nathan please… It's urgent." She said nervously.

"He's not here right now Doctor. As a matter of fact, he went looking for you."

Kristin 's nervousness increased and she frowned. "Do you happen to know where he is? I have to talk to him Tim."

"I believe he said something about going to Mr. Lansdowne's island."

"Could you patch me through please."

"Of course."

********

The vid-phone in Malcolm's house chirped for attention and he ran to answer it. "Kristin, thank God. Are you okay?"

"I think so, for now… Is Nathan there?"

"No, he just left with Max. They're out looking for you."

"Hell…" She paused for a moment and then almost smiled. "Both of them?"

"Uh-huh."

"Together?"

"Uh-huh."

"Oh Lord…"

"Uh-huh… Max Scully and Daniel Lewis… You sure know how to pick 'em."

"Tell me about… Did you say Scully?" 

"I did."

Before she could pursue that line of inquiry she heard footsteps outside the door and hastily shushed Malcolm. When the handle started to move she whispered. "He's found me."

"Kristin, whatever you do, don't open the door."

"Thanks for the advice."

The handle moved again and then there was a knock….

"Ma'am I've brought clean towels." Came a female voice from outside and Kristin almost laughed with relief.

"Don't open the door." Malcolm repeated. "Nathan said he'd check back later. Give me your location and I'll pass it on to him." 

“I’m at the Everglade Motel in Miami…”

“Ma’am.”   The maid’s voice came through the door again.

“Just leave them outside please.” Kristin called out then turned back to Malcolm.  “I won’t open the door, I promise.  Just tell Nathan to hurry. I know Daniel’s not far behind, I just have this feeling.”

“I will… You just stay put. And stay safe.”

Kristin nodded.   “And Malcolm, tell Nathan I’m sorry… I didn’t know.”

“You can tell him yourself.”

"But if I can't…"

"You will."

"I just want him to know."

"I'll tell him. Take care, Kristin. And don't forget…" He paused for a moment. "Nathan's not the only one who loves you."

"I know." She whispered softly and smiled.

********

Malcolm swore aloud. It had been almost two hours and he hadn't managed to contact either Nathan or Kristin. He was just about to pester seaQuest for the hundredth time when the vid-unit sprang to life. 

“Nathan, thank God.  Where the hell have you been!”

“Tracking down leads…” He began and then sensing the anxiety in the other man’s voice he asked.  “What is it?”

“I heard from Kristin….”   Malcolm didn’t have a chance to get the rest of the words out.

“Kristin… is she all right? Where is she?”

“Hang on, hang on…  She called about two hours ago. Said she’d gotten away from Daniel and was holed up in the Everglade Motel, Miami.  She seemed fine… a bit bruised and anxious, but otherwise fine.  She said Daniel was on her trail so I told her to stay put and wait.  She was supposed to contact me every hour…she didn’t. And when I tried to get through to her she wasn’t answering.”

Nathan looked worried.  “We’re on the way there now, Malcolm. I’ll check in every half hour.”

“Okay.  Oh and Nathan there’s one more thing.”

“What?”

“Kristin wanted me to tell you she was sorry.”

"Sorry for what? It's not her…"

"Sorry about Max."

Nathan's face darkened. "Oh."

"She didn't know who he was. He told her his name was Smith."

"And she didn't see through…"

Malcolm was annoyed. "Why the hell should she? She'd never even met him before!"

Some of his resentment still remained. "Didn't stop her going off with the first man who looked at her twice."

"Jesus Nathan, you can be a real bastard sometimes. Just find her okay, and if you so much as hint at what you've just said to me, I'll deck you myself."

"Seems like I've got one hell of a lot of competition around here."

"Damn straight." He stated firmly, breaking the link before trying to contact Kristin again. There was no reply.

********

Kristin awoke, slowly uncurling her body and opening her eyes.  As she became aware of her surroundings once more, she heard the insistent chirping from the vid-phone and throwing back the covers, she climbed from the bed.  Seeing the call was from Malcolm, she’d just reached out to return it when she was startled, by banging on the door.

“Kristin! “ Daniel’s angry voice called.  “God dammit you bitch, I know you’re in there.  OPEN THIS DOOR” He screamed alternating between trying the doorknob and pounding.

She quickly pushed the connect button but didn't speak, allowing Malcolm to hear what was going on and then mouthed. "I have to go…"

"Kristin… Nathan is on his way, maybe you should…"

"I have to go."

As Malcolm watched she opened the window and climbed out. There was an almighty crash followed by a man cursing and then he flinched instinctively as a fist came towards the screen and everything went dark. 

********

Kristin took off across the back parking lot.  After several blocks she stopped a moment to catch her breath and then stepped to the curb to flag down a passing taxi. She practically threw herself into the backseat and ordered the operator to start driving.

“Where to, Ma’am?” The young man asked as he pulled into traffic, glancing at her through the rearview mirror. “Are you alright?” He asked, noticing her agitation.

“I’m fine… uhm… Miami airport please.”

********

“There it is.”

Scully nodded and turned into the motel lot, stopping just outside the office.   As they got out of the car Nathan noticed something. With a frown he broke into a sprint, heading for the last room Just as he walked through the doorway he heard a car pulling away at speed and made his way to the window, catching a glimpse of Kristin in the back seat. He was about to go after her when he was grabbed from behind.

"So Bridger we meet at last."

"Lewis."

"You know who am I?"

"Of course."

"Then you know why I have to do what I'm going to do." 

Nathan felt the pressure of the gun at his side. "Because you're crazy?"

Daniel tightened his grip. "Shut your mouth."

"You don't think I came here alone, do you?"

"Come on Bridger, that's the oldest trick in the book." Just as he finished speaking Max came rushing through the door. Daniel laughed. "You mean him? He wants you dead as much as I do." 

“That’s true.” Scully said as he crossed his arms and smiled. “I always knew that Kristin would be your downfall… that she would get me close to you.. Which is why I used her.”

“You double-crossing bastard.”

“Well you already knew that, didn’t you?  If you play with a snake…” He trailed off.

“Just tell me one thing…”

“All right… although I’d rather you died thinking she’d betrayed you but maybe I’m getting soft in my old age.  Nothing happened between us more than a few lunches and dinners together.  It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part but she happens to love you…God knows why.   And now I think I’ll kill you and let you die with the knowledge that after you’re gone I’ll be there to comfort Kristin in her time of grief.”

“I think our friend here would have something to say about that.”  Nathan stated when he heard a low growl of anger from the man behind him.

Everything seemed to happen at once. Nathan used his captor's momentary loss of concentration to break free and Max produced a gun, levelling it and firing almost immediately. The sound of police sirens broke through the surreal moment.

Nathan stared at Max in astonishment. "Jesus, for a moment I thought you were going to shoot me."

"I was."

"Then why didn't you?"

"Because we were friends once and you did let me go after that whaling incident. I owed you. I *didn’t* owe him.” Max indicated the man on the floor.  “But next time we meet it'll be on even terms… No holds barred…"

"Understood."

The sirens grew closer. "Get the hell out of here Bridger. Go and find her."

"What about you?"

"I'll be okay. I always am. You know me, nine lives." 

"Four."

"Yeah well."

Nathan headed out the way that Kristin had gone without looking back; his only choice was to go back to Malcolm's and wait.

********

Malcolm greeted him when he arrived. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah."

"Get the bad guy?"

"Max did, but I have no idea where Kristin is."

Malcolm edged him outside and pointed to a lone figure on the beach. "She arrived a half-hour ago." 

Nathan didn’t even wait until he’d had finished his sentence.  He ran down the steps to the beach, calling out her name as he drew close.  She turned to face him and stopped, waiting until he reached her.

“Oh God, Baby.” He cried as he pulled her into his arms.  “I’m so glad you’re safe.”

She returned his hug for a moment and then pulled away.  

“What is it?”

“We can’t just pretend that everything is all right.  I got your letter.  You accused me of terrible things.”

"Kris, I was angry… I thought that you'd… with Max Scully of all people. I…"

"You trusted me that little?" She put her arms around herself protectively.

"No, I…"

"What?"

"I missed you Kristin, I missed you so badly… I was looking forward to being with you and then shore leave was delayed and then…"

She didn't reply just waited for him to continue… Knowing that his next words would determine the direction their lives would take… 

"I was jealous." He admitted quietly. "I know that I'm not the kind of man I should be for you. I spend more time with the seaQuest than I do with you. God knows, everyone keeps telling me that I don't deserve you. I never believed that you would go off with Max or anyone, not really… At least, I hoped you wouldn't. It was just easier to blame you than to admit that they were right. I was angry with myself Kristin and I took it out on you. Forgive me, please. I love you so much." He broke off and waited anxiously for her response. 

“I do forgive you… and I’m as much to blame for all this as you are. I never should have gone out with him. But that doesn’t change the fact that you hurt me.”

“I know and I wish I could take it all back but I can’t, and I think I understand why you went out with him and I admit I was more upset when I found out it was Max Scully.”

“I didn’t know Nathan, honestly I didn’t.”

“I know that now, and I can’t say I’m sorry enough. But I promise you that from now on, I’ll make more of an effort to be home for you.  Please Baby, give me a second chance and I’ll make sure you’ll never regret it.”

"What happened to Daniel?" She asked suddenly, taking him by surprise.

"Max shot him."

"Oh… And what happened to Max?"

"He just disappeared again as far as I know."

"Will he be back?"

"Maybe…"

"Nathan?"

"He said that the next time we meet we'll be even."

"Christ, I'm not sure that I can deal with this kind of life anymore." 

Nathan flinched.

"I think what I need is some time away. Away from everything…."

His heart plummeted and he tried to brace himself for what was to come.

"Away from the UEO, from psycho ex-husbands, from seaQuest and its crew, from…"

"Its captain?" He tried to keep the tremor from his voice.

"Yes. I want…"

"What do you want Kris? If you'd rather we broke up, then so be it."

She stopped in her tracks. "Really?" 

"Kristin, you've been through hell, most of it of my making, I'd understand if…"

"Would you mind?"

"Very, very much. It would hurt more than I can ever tell you, but if that's what you want then…"

"You know what I'd really like…? No past, no future, no worrying, no thinking... No danger or intrigue… Just sun and sea and sand and no one else to care about… Do you know anywhere like that?"

"One place."

"Me too."

"The island?"

"The island."

"I could have Malcolm take you out there if you'd like, unless…" 

“Unless what?” she questioned him, her face unreadable

“Unless you’d let me take you.”

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“Oh... on whether or not you’ll stay there with me.”

“Kris.. all you have to do is ask.”

“Nathan, would you take me to the island? Will you stay with me?”

“Yes.” He said quietly.  “ I have three weeks leave time coming, I’m going to call Bill and tell him I’m taking it now.  That is if you want me that long.”

"Mmm… well, I guess I could put up with you. Anyhow, I'll need someone to keep the generator running. I never did master that damned thing."

"A sort of Man Friday to your Robinson Crusoe?"

"Something like that."

"Anything else you might need me for?"

"Well, it does get cold there at night sometimes. Perhaps you could lay at my feet and keep them warm."

"A Man Friday come pet dog then." 

“If that's okay with you?"

"Hey, I'll take what I can get. Any bone or scrap. I'll even play fetch if you…." Kristin's lips covering his smothered anything else he was about to say.

When they broke apart she whispered. "What else will my slave do to please his lady?"

"So now I'm a slave?"

"Mmm hmm…"

"You know, I think I've been your slave since the first day we met." 

“Really?  Hmm my very own slave .At my beck and call. To fetch and serve, wait and...”

“And?”  Nathan gave her a hopeful grin.

“And please me… in every way.” She drawled sensually

“I can do that.” He smiled as he drew her lips to his for a passionate kiss

“Ahem… I can find you both a room if you’d like.”  The couple broke apart at the sound of Malcolm’s voice and both turned to face him.  “You’ve made up I take it.”

“We’re working on it.  Was there something you wanted, Downey?”

“Noyce is on the horn for you.”

Nathan looked at Kristin and smiled. Without taking his eyes from her he said.  “Tell him I’m in conference until further notice.  I’ll call him… later… much, much later.”

 "You think he's gonna buy that?"

"Don't care." Nathan mumbled as his mouth made it's way down the side of Kristin's neck and along her shoulder.

"Perhaps I'll just tell him that you've got your hands full at the moment." He quipped as he watched his friend pull the woman closer.

"Whatever you think is appropriate." Bridger concurred.

"Hell, I'll just tell him you're making out on my patio." He made his way back inside to the sound of kissing and a deep groan from Nathan. "You need to breathe, remember." He called over his shoulder.  “It’d be a pity if she survived the psycho ex-husband only to die from lack of oxygen!”
 
 






**** The End ****

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