The Spy Who Love Me
By Spirit
Part 9

"I need your key."

Katrina was leaning on him with all her weight, his arm around her waist, her head resting on his shoulder, the scent of her hair wafting up, making things muddled…

"Your key."

It was obvious that she wasn't going to respond, so Declan patted her pockets until he found what felt like a key an pulled it out.

"I hope this is the right one." He said more to himself than anyone else. He inserted the key into the lock. It turned easily. He scooped Kat up into his arms, her arms entwining around his neck as she buried her face in his shoulder. Declan carried her into the entryway, shutting the door behind him with his foot.

Her flat was cold and austere, the decorations modern and impersonal. It surprised Declan as he looked around, but then again it didn't. Her flat was like her, cold, untouchable. Declan swallowed as pain shot through him. He'd always hoped to break that coldness, and when it finally broke, it wasn't for him.

He carried Katrina into the living room and started to set her down on the green and gray art deco couch.

"No, no no." she started to mutter, arms wrapping tighter around him. Declan felt her body start to shake again. He held her tighter and sat down on the couch, cradling her gingerly in his arms as she rode through the waves of emotion that wracked her body.

My poor girl, Declan thought as he stroked her hair. She'd been almost catatonic since they'd left the ISA headquarters, gripped by occasional violent shaking and sobs. Driving her home had been torture. He'd almost the car several times and taken her in his arms. But he didn't.

Slowly the sobbing stopped. Declan still stroked Kat's hair, leaning his cheek on her head, smelling her hair, flowers and musk. She had this way of making him dizzy. She shifted her weight, tucking her head under his chin, her hair brushing against the sensitive skin at the base of his neck. His breath sucked in sharply. As usual, he wanted her. There wasn't a time when he didn't want her, and he usually could control his feelings, but with the trauma of finding her, half crazy, ready to kill Shane, then her collapse...his guard was down.

You've got to stop doing this to yourself, O'Conner. You've got to stop wanting something that you can't have.

The wool of Declan's sweater was rough against Carrie's cheek and wet from her tears. She inhaled deeply. It smelled a little of wet wool, but mostly of Declan. Carrie didn't think she could ever get enough of how he smelled.

Ever since the inspector at Declan's flat had told her that he'd been found on the street, beaten to death, Carrie had been walking around in a fog. She was numb. There were two people that she cared about more than anything in the world. One she'd left behind that dark night in Salem, and she'd when she'd left him behind, she'd left her heart. Carrie was sure that she'd never find anyone to love again.

Then Declan came along. It wasn't until she was told he was dead that Carrie realized how deeply she cared for him. She loved him. At that moment, everything and everybody, even Mike and Gillian, washed away except for Declan. She'd been such a fool. She was so filled with anger and hurt, self- hatred, that she'd never seen that salvation had been hers all along. All she had to do was reach out and take his hand. Declan had been there all along with his kind eyes; he was the friend who had stuck by her and loved her from afar.

Her heart clenched with unbearable pain as Carrie thought about a life without Declan. The worst thing was that it looked like the work of the L-Group, and only one person could order a hit like that…Shane. That was the moment that Carrie decided that Shane would have to pay for Declan's life.

The drive to headquarters, pulling her gun on Shane, Carrie couldn't remember doing any of that. It was all blackness. The only thing she remembered was leaving Declan's apartment, blind with rage and sorrow.

Then, he was there, standing in the doorway. Declan. He was alive. Everything started to swim as she stared at him. It had been horrible. Now, as she curled on Declan's lap, she didn't want to remember the fear that had gripped her when she'd thought…when she'd thought…

"I didn't know if I could go on." She said, lifting her hand to his face. Carrie smoothed her fingers over his eyes, tracing the inner corners, trying to memorize it with her fingertips. "Thinking you were dead, it was like losing a part of me."

Declan was silent, staring into he eyes. She moved her fingers to his forehead, tracing the worry-lines. Down his cheeks, across his nose, under his eyes, along his jaw line. She moved against him, The hand that had been stroking his face moved to his neck. Declan swallowed and Carrie felt the muscles in his neck move. She started to melt inside. She wanted him.

"Kat, no…" he, muttered, his Irish accent growing thicker as her fingers returned to his face, brushing across his lips. Their eyes met again and Carrie saw raw desire burning in his, along with a plea to stop before it was too late. It was already too late. With a swift motion, she dipped her head and kissed the hollow of his throat, sticky with her own tears. Her lips were warm against the sensitive skin as she tasted the saltiness of her own sorrow. Declan's head fell forward as he moaned a little.

Carrie slipped her hand behind his head and tugged at the rubber band that usually held his long, wavy hair back from his face. She tugged at it until it came loose, then buried her hands in it as it fell around them like a curtain. Her lips went to his forehead, kissing him firmly. Declan closed his eyes. His hands came up around her back and pulled her around on his lap until she was straddling him. She kissed his cheek then kissed his other cheek. Everything ached. Carrie's lips parted in anticipation of what came next...of what she wanted.

"I just want to be close to you." Carrie murmured as pulled back a little, her hand coming up to his face again, her tracing his lips again. She did want to be close to him, as close as possible, and there was one way she knew….

It was too much. Just as the ache built to an unbearable level Declan pulled her towards him, and their lips met, mouths opening, tongues entangling. It was violent and desperate, and neither could get enough.

Katrina leaned into him, her lips never leaving his. He couldn't think, he couldn't stop…he didn't want to stop. Declan deepened the kiss, pulling her tight against his chest, feeling her hips push into him. Kat's hands slipped under his black sweater, running along his stomach, fingers slipping inside his waistband and then…

Declan jerked sharply as he felt her fingers fumble with the button on his jeans. No. This wasn't right. Slowly sanity crept into the haze that desire and longing had created. No. Her hand was still fumbling with the button when Declan tried to push Katrina away. She didn't respond, or didn't notice, but the next moment she was pulling the zipper down, and if they didn't stop now, Declan knew he wouldn't be able to. He pushed again, and her lips returned to his. He kissed her back, wanting her, tasting her, then her hand went back to his stomach, and then down...

"No!" Declan cried out, his voice ragged. "No, this had got to stop."

Everything about her felt swollen as Carrie stared at Declan, surprised at the harshness of his voice. Her lips, her body, it all ached as he pushed her away again. Carrie sat straddling his lap as she stared into his face, his eyes filled with pain.

"Please, Declan." Carrie murmured. Please kiss me and make love to me and take away the fear that started when I thought you were dead, she finished silently. I need you. "Please."

"Don't say that." Declan's voice was hoarse.

"Please." Carrie said again, ignoring him, listening to the call of her body more than her mind.

"Oh, Kat, you don't know how badly I want you, how much I want to make love to you. It's this thing that sits in my heart and eats away at me. Every time you touch me, it's…"

Declan's voice trailed off as he stared into Carrie's eyes. Carrie was filled with an overwhelming feeling of love towards her friend.

"It's just a reminder of what I can't have." Declan spit out bitterly. "Kat, you don't know how much I wish things were different…that we could meet at a different time, under different circumstances, without…"

Mike. His name hung in the air between them. Carrie felt tears welling up in her eyes. Carrie put her hand up to Declan's face and he leaned into her palm. It was an incredibly intimate gesture. The tears started to spill.

"I love you Dec."

Declan's head jerked up.

"Don't say that Kat. For God's sake, don't say that."

"It's the truth." Carrie said, tears running down her cheeks, a sob catching in her throat. "I've been so stupid, and blind all this time. I created this prison where I trapped myself, and I never saw that you could free me from all the pain that I've been living with. If only I'd seen it sooner, then, maybe…"

Declan's face twisted with pain as he listened to her every word. Finally, as if it was too much to hear, he pushed her off his lap and stood up, standing in the middle of the room, fists clenched.

"You don't know how I've longed to hear you say those words Kat, but not now. Not under these circumstances."

He was angry. Carrie could hear it in his voice.

"It's the truth." she said softly.

"It doesn't matter." Declan bit out. "It's what I've wanted to hear for so long, and now you say it when it doesn't matter anymore. Dammit Kat, if this had happened six month ago, or a year ago, I would have leapt for joy. I want more than anything to hold you and never let you go. You don't know how many nights I've dreamed of taking you in my arms and kissing you, making love to you. You haunt my every moment, and now you tell me that what I've dreamed is reality, that you love me, except I know that however much you love me, I can't have you."

His every word was a stab into Carrie's heart as she sat listening to him.

"Tell me," he said as he returned to the couch, falling to is knees in front of her. "Do you love Mike?"

Carrie nodded. She loved Mike with all her heart and soul. She loved Declan too. It wasn't that Declan had pushed Mike out of her heart, but he'd found his own place.

"Then you and I, it's impossible. What I feel, Kat, is so consuming that I can't just take part of you. I have to have all of you.. Do you understand? I want to make love to you, Kat. I've dreamed of the moment we make love, but not like this. Not knowing that you might be reacting from the thought of losing me. Not knowing that you might regret us later. I don't want that. If we were to make love, I could never regret it. Never."

Declan's eyes bore into hers. She saw so much pain, and knew he was telling the truth, and it hurt.

"Mike loves you." Declan continued, taking her hand in his. "And there is Gillian to think about. I would fight to the death for you Kat, but only one of us would win, and I honestly don't think it would be me. This way I can let you go cleanly."

Carrie slipped off the couch and onto the floor next to Declan. Slowly, she put her arms around him and pulled him close to her chest. He was right. No matter what happened, her heart would always belong to Mike. Carrie knew that with a certainty that couldn't be ignored.

"You." Carrie pulled out of Declan's arms and took his face in both her hands. "You are in my heart too, Declan. I will never let that go. Do you understand? Never."

Declan's eyes were glossy with tears as he stared back at her. Suddenly, his eyes grew distant and he pulled away from her. He reached inside the collar of his sweater, and pulled out a chain. A ring hung on the chain. Declan slipped it over his head and handed it to Carrie.

"There's something I haven't told you, Kat. I've accepted a deep cover assignment."

Deep cover. Carrie froze. Deep cover meant an assignment where the agent would lose almost all contact with the ISA. His or her death would be faked, then the operative would be sent on assignment. If something happened to the agent, absolutely no backup would be sent in. Deep cover was only for the toughest agents, and often meant death.

"NO!" Carrie's voice was desperate. "Declan, no. Don't do this."

"I have to Kat. I have to get away from here…from this. Shane came to me with the assignment, and I took it. That's part of the reason my death was faked, it's just that Shane moved up the date a little and didn't bother to tell you."

Carrie wanted to ask where he was going, but her years in the ISA told her that it would be useless. A deep cover agent never told because it might compromise the agent's chances of survival.

"I want you to have this." He said, his voice cracking a little, his hand still holding out the ring. "It's a Claddagh ring that my father gave to my mother. She gave it to me and told me to give it to the woman who is the one who completes my soul. That's you Kat, and I don't know if I'll ever see you gain to give it to you."

Carrie took the ring from Declan. The two hands held a heart with a crown on op. It looked old and worn.

"It's beautiful Dec. I can't take it."

"Please. I would marry you in a second and spend the rest of my life loving you, if I could. There is no one else who I would give this to. Please take it."

Carrie took the chain and slipped it over her head. It rested easily right next to her heart. With a sob, she threw herself into Declan's arms and buried her face in his shoulder. She'd just found him again, and now he was leaving.

"It's better this way, Kat. No strings, no complications." Declan's voice was muffled in her hair. "I don't want to be the one to cause trouble."

Carrie just held on. This was the last time she would see him or hold him, and she didn't want to let go. They clung to each other for dear life, holding each other as tightly as possible, not noticing that the sun was starting the peek up from the horizon, or that outside the birds started to twitter as the velvet black sky to started to turn to dark gray. The heads blended together, blond into chestnut brown, and time stopped as they held each other for what may be the last time.


to be continued...

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