tagNovels and NovellasThe Program Ch. 10

The Program Ch. 10


Danny started awake, blinking into the inky darkness of the bedroom. Bill froze and winced, his hand hovering next to the doorknob. "Sorry," he whispered with a frown. "I keep forgetting how heavy this door is." He watched her sweep messy black hair from her face and sigh heavily. "I didn't mean to wake you."

She shook her head, "I wasn't sleeping well anyway."

He shrugged out of his suit coat and draped it over the back of the overstuffed armchair before sitting on the edge of the bed. "Still not sleeping?" he kissed her forehead and twisted to slip off his shoes.

Danny wrapped her arms around him from behind, pressing her cheek against his back. "Not when you're gone." He captured one of her hands and kissed the back of her fingers, smiling when she cuddled closer to him. She nuzzled the back of his neck, brushing the sensitive skin with her lips. "How was work?"

He groaned; work was boring, but what she was doing felt fantastic. He tugged his tie free of the knot and stood to quickly shed his shirt and pants as well. "Training... It's a lot of rules and regulations and learning protocol. It's all boring details." He turned back toward the bed and gave a wry smile. "Scoot."

She grinned. "I was keeping your side warm."

"Do you like this side of the bed better?" he asked, slipping under the blanket. "I seem to remember that you're the one who picked sides."

"No no. That's your side. I just wanted it to be all ready for you." She waited for him to get comfortable before she curled up next to him, her head pillowed on his shoulder.

His arms closed around her automatically. "You sure? Because I don't think you ever sleep on that side. Whether I'm here or not."

She giggled and snuggled closer to him. "I want whatever side you're on."

He sighed in exasperation, his hand stroking rhythmically up and down her back. "At least you don't hog the sheets."

"At least you don't snore."

He combed his fingers through her hair, letting the silky strands slip gently free of his grasp and kissed the top of her head. "You make a good blanket."

"You make a good pillow," she mumbled into his shoulder.

He chuckled. "Anything to be useful."

"Before I forget, dinner out tomorrow night."

"I might have to join you for dessert, depending on how fast I get through some stuff tomorrow. Anywhere in particular?"

She shrugged. "There's a fairly new place that's roughly midway for all parties."

"All parties?"

"Taylor and Josh are coming too."

Bill stiffened slightly. "Your brother isn't going to beat me up, is he?"

Danny smothered a laugh and propped herself up on an elbow. "And here I thought you were a tough guy."

"I'm tough enough," Bill smiled, running his hands up the curves of her body. "You just decided to have dinner with the two people that scare me most in the world."

"Aw," Danny chuckled. "Poor baby. Terrified of my big brother and a woman that barely reaches your chin."

He slid a hand along the back of her neck and pulled her down for a kiss, taking his time to enjoy every contour of her lips. "You barely reach my chin."

"That's not a problem, is it?" she purred, her lips brushing enticingly against his.

"Not at all," he answered, leaning forward to capture her mouth again. He groaned as the curves of her body moulded to his frame. She was soft and warm and beautiful and he groaned again as her hand slid under his tee-shirt.

She moved to reposition her weight, planting a hand on his shoulder and shifting her hips. His shoulder gave a loud pop under her fingers and she recoiled in horror. "God, Bill, I'm so sorry!"

He smiled, taking her shoulders and pulling her back down. "Danny, relax. It still does that from time to time." The worry lines didn't leave her forehead and he frowned, cupping her face in his palms, "Danny, I'm fine." He drew her face to his and kissed her softly. "It takes a lot more weight than what you've got to mess up my shoulder." He pressed a kiss to each cheek. "No worrying." His lips brushed her forehead.

She sighed and settled her head on his chest, her fingers absently tracing the rough, fresh scar through the thin fabric of his shirt. His hand engulfed hers and he pressed a light kiss to her fingertips. "It doesn't hurt," he rested their entwined hands over his heart. "Promise."

"Shhh," she whispered. "Pillows don't talk."

"Sorry," he murmured, a smile touching the corner of his mouth.


Taylor's hands closed around nothing but air and she screamed as she felt her body pitch over the side of the building. Her arms flailed, searching for anything solid. An exposed rebar scraped along her forearm, and she grabbed at it, closing her fingers around the piece of metal in a death grip. Her body jerked to a stop and she choked back another scream as her left shoulder wrenched painfully from the violent change of direction. Wincing, she caught the bar with her other hand and brought her feet up to keep from crashing into the side of the building. This was certainly not part of the plan.

She sucked in a breath, tightened her grip on the rebar and steeled herself to look down. People always say don't look down. That's stupid. If you don't look down, how are you supposed to find a place for your feet without wasting energy needlessly? And right then, Taylor desperately needed to take the weight off of her shoulder. She looked down, squinting into the glare of the floodlight that the ATF had been so considerate to leave on. The nearest ledge was the windowsill, and it was a good ten feet blow the soles of her boots. "Shit," she muttered.

A hand closed tightly around her wrist and she spared a glance up. Wilson gritted his teeth and forced a smile, the expression doing nothing to mask the sweat streaking down his face or the fear in his eyes. "Where the hell are you going?" he ground out. He offered his other hand and she grabbed it happily.

Taylor released a nervous laugh. "Up, please?"

He shifted back, pulling her up until he could reach the back of her fatigues and haul her onto the roof. "Come on, Shorty," he grunted, heaving her the last few inches onto solid ground. Taylor released a groan as she sprawled on the roof. Flying was definitely for the birds. Wilson landed on his backside just next to her with a sigh of relief. She tried to smile, but he swatted the back of her head. "Don't fucking do shit like that."

"Captain, the prisoner is secure," Castle interrupted over the radio. "And it looks like we got the right one."

"Good," Wilson muttered.

"We have the dumbest fucking luck," Taylor snorted.

"Watch your mouth," he swatted her again and rose, dusting off his hands.

This time she really laughed and allowed Wilson to haul her up onto unsteady legs. He set a hand on the small of her back for a moment until she was stable. Feeling solid, the shakes disappearing quickly, Taylor gave a small nod and strode resolutely across the roof, closing the last few yards to the chopper. With a grunt, she flung herself into the one of the open seats, buckling the harness quickly. "Remind me to kill that guy later?" she shouted to Wilson as he settled next to her, turning an incensed glare on the one mark Castle had managed to cuff and haul on board.

"Not if I get him first!" he barked back, watching the rapidly shrinking building. He ran a hand through his hair. That was just about the closest thing to a total disaster I've ever seen, he thought, shaking his head. Next to him, Taylor sighed and dropped her head back against the seat, absently rubbing her shoulder. Ok, he assented, it could have been much, much worse.


"Goddamned mother-fucking sons of bitches!" Taylor shouted as she stormed into the briefing room. "A monkey with a hand-grenade and gasoline tank would have been safer and more subtle than those fuck-heads!" She punctuated her cussing as she unloaded her weapon and slammed the magazine on the counter. It had been a subdued flight back home, but everyone knew this was coming. With the prisoner in holding and all team members safe and accounted for, Taylor James was about to throw a temper tantrum.

Castle and Monty took a few extra steps clear of her, neither one sure she wouldn't turn her anger on them. At least those two were clean. Her clothes were liberally decorated with patches of dust and streaks of soot garnished her cheeks and forehead. Even Remy winced at her language as he began to disarm. "James!" Patrick barked from the opposite door. "Mind your tongue."

She whipped her Kevlar vest off and tossed it on the table next to her clip, wincing as the movement aggravated her shoulder. Planting her hands on her hips, she met Patrick's stare. "Oh can it, Patrick. Those cowboys just fucked the past four weeks of our hard work and months more from the company. I'm going to be in paperwork to my eyeballs over the one on the roof that discharged his weapon, and he came a hell of a lot closer to shooting me than the real bad guys!" She roughly tugged her hair free of messy ponytail it had been in and shook out some of the ash. "Who the fuck trained these assholes? Oh wait, it's the ATF, they don't train in the ATF, they just give them all guns and send them out in fancy jackets. Mother fuckers, all of 'em."

Wilson dropped his kit on the table and caught the tail end of Taylor's rant. She was right-they had spent weeks prepping this operation and it all went in the shitter because of some inter-departmental miscommunication, not to mention the issue of his team's personal safety. He ran a hand through his hair with a sigh, shaking out dust with the motion.

Patrick glared sternly at Taylor, "Like it or not, we're all on the same side."

"Not that you could tell by the way they behaved!" As her tirade built steam, Patrick rolled his eyes and signalled Wilson with a quick jerk of his head. "I hate the ATF! They take all the good things in life and make it illegal to have them. They're worse than a group of retar-" Taylor's rant cut off with a squeak as Wilson's large hand clamped over her mouth.

He hauled her clear off her feet and toward the door as she tried to kick him in the shins. "On it, Boss," he shot Patrick a grin. "Back in a tick." He dragged her into the nearest empty room and kicked the door shut behind him. "Language, James. Language," he whispered in her ear.

She pulled free of his hands and spun furiously to face him. "What the fuck!"

Wilson raised a brow, a lop-sided grin spreading across his face, as he leaned casually against the door. "I can't believe I let you kiss me with that mouth."

Taylor didn't try to stifle her anger as she lashed out at him, but he was faster than she was. She squeaked again as he caught her arm, spun her around, and pinned her to the door. She glared at him from beneath a curtain of mussed mahogany waves, her face flushed beneath the soot, and her green eyes flashed dangerously. Wilson couldn't help but stare; she was gorgeous when she was angry. "Seriously, Wilson," she glared. "If you place any value on your miserable, shitty, sad-ass existence, you'll let me go right-fucking-now."

He smirked, easily holding her in place with his body. "You have some fucking mouth on you, don't you?"

Whatever snippy response she had died in her throat as his mouth descended upon hers, his lips firm, hot, and demanding. She struggled, tried briefly to push him away, but she was no match for his size in this position. And after a few seconds of his particular brand of torture, she was far less inclined to be rid of him.

His mouth was savage and searing, his pent up frustration over the intensity of the job translated into the fervour of his kiss. His hands captured the sides of her face, holding her still as he punished her in the best possible way. She moaned, her fingers closing around the folds of his jacket, pulling him closer.

Wilson growled low in his throat as he felt her body arch against his. The image of her body pitching over the side of the building flashed through his mind again and he wrapped his arms around her in a fierce embrace, crushing her to his chest. Possessiveness out of panic left him struggling to keep from ravaging her there on the spot. With a conscious effort, he relaxed his hold on her, slowly easing out of the battle between their tongues. And taking a much needed breath, he pulled back from the kiss.

"Did that make you feel better?" Taylor smiled and leaned back against the door.

"A little," he whispered, feathering a few last kisses across her forehead. "You?"

"Mmn," she sighed, gazing up into his worried stare.

"New rule," he muttered, his hands stroking down her hips. "No jumping off buildings."

She actually giggled. "You keep making all these rules. I can't run away, I can't jump off buildings, I can't hit walls... Where's the fun?"

His lips covered hers again; a slight desperation leaking through his normally rigid self-control as his arms wrapped tightly around her. He swallowed her moan and pulled back with a small smile. "There are plenty of better ways to have fun."

"I suppose you're going to demonstrate?" she teased, tracing a finger across his lower lip.

"Later." He made a move to bite her finger, missing as she tugged her hand away with a chuckle. "How's the shoulder?" he asked softly.

She tried to roll it, but winced, "Something worse than a bruise."

He brushed a kiss against her lips. "Go see the medics, then take a shower. We have to debrief in about an hour."

"I hate debriefing," she whined.

He leaned back and grinned. "Funny, you always seem so excited when I de-brief you."

She tried not to laugh and failed. "Fine, this debriefing, then we get to really de-brief. I want a week off after this disaster."

He rolled his eyes. "I don't know about a week, but I think we've earned a few days rest." Reluctantly, he took a step back and pulled her off of the door. "Now get going. No rest until we wrap this up."

Taylor sighed dramatically, "Yes, Captain."

"And watch your mouth in the mean time."

"Fuck off." She tugged the door open and glanced back over her shoulder. "Too bad I have to go see the medics, though." A wicked smile pulled at her lips. "I could have helped you wash your back."

Wilson growled. "Get!"

She winked and sauntered from the room.

Two hours later, she was feeling far from playful. Instead, Taylor crossed her arms and violently repressed the urge to pout. "Why do you have to go there? They're the ones that fucked up. Shouldn't they bring their stupid asses here?"

Wilson snorted. "Should and will are two different things. Patrick doesn't want them near our new guest. So I have to go to them."

"Are you at least going to shoot one of them?"

"Would it make you happy?" he grinned.

"No, because it's still no fun for me." She lost her internal battle and pouted.

"James, get in here!" the phone's intercom squawked with Patrick's voice. "I've got a job for you that needs to be done an hour ago!"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming!" She sighed, "When will you be back?"

"Tomorrow, absolute latest. Then we get five days off." He kissed her forehead. "That sound ok?" She grumbled and he chucked her under the chin. "Come on, Shorty. Give me a smile before I go."

"You're going to be that guy?" she frowned at him.

"You're right," he grinned. "This is how you normally look."

She felt her face turn red, but forced a small smile. "You want me to look happy you're leaving me? I can do that."

"James! I meant now!" Patrick's voice intruded again.

"Yes, Boss!" she shouted back, her voice dropping back to a whisper when she turned to Wilson. "Fine. Come back whole. Destroy a few of the ATF handlers for me?"

He pressed a kiss to her lips. "No problem."

She sighed and left the room, heading for Patrick's office. For some reason it made her feel better to walk away from Wilson than to let him walk away from her. Patrick's door was open and she hesitated, taking a moment to collect herself. She tugged down on her shirt and ran a hand through her hair. Her fingers froze for a moment as she recognised the mannerism as one of Wilson's. God, she thought, I'm spending way too much time with him. Clenching her jaw, she strode into Patrick's office. "Sorry, Boss. What do you need?"


Taylor found Danny from across the room and grinned as she made her way to the table. "Hey, sexy!"

Danny smiled back and waived her into the empty seat. "In your paranoia, you're not going to make me move to a booth, are you?"

Taylor laughed. "God no. This is perfect. I can see the entrance and windows from here, plus we're near the kitchen. And a booth is actually quite restrictive. I don't like to sit in them. No mobility."

"What, no didactic lecture on mirrors and the use of reflective surfaces?" Danny chided, breaking into another smile.

"Mmn," Taylor flicked open the menu, the corner of her mouth twitching with humour. "The less I say the better." She raised a brow. "I've never been here before, but it looks good."

"What can I say, I have good taste." The moderately bored tone in Danny's voice drew a broad smile across Taylor's face. Danny smothered a chuckle. "I'm glad you called. I've been meaning to call you, but Josh has been travelling so often that I figured you were gone too."

"Yeah, we've been a little busy with the clean up. But I've owed you a few months of phone calls. It's about time I hold up my end of this friendship."

"So what's cooking back on the farm?"

"Oh you know, little of this, little of that. How's life back in the real world?" Taylor asked carefully.

"Good." Danny waved the waitress over and ordered drinks for them both. "Though I'm having trouble shaking the need to look over my shoulder."

Taylor's brow furrowed. "I'm sorry."

"I know." She swirled the ice around the water glass. "You and Josh both. He checks up on me just about every day," a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. "He's worse than mom."

"Tell me about it," Taylor huffed.

Danny's eyebrows shot up and Taylor felt her cheeks colour. "Do tell."

"Ah, well. You know." Taylor shrugged, but couldn't keep her blush from deepening.

"No," Danny lied. "I don't know. Why don't you fill me in?"

"He's your brother."

"Mmn, true. And you're my best friend. So let's have it. You can leave out the gory details."

"They're all gory details?" Taylor offered hopefully.

"Ew." Danny reached for her drink as it was set on the table. "But you're not getting off the hook that easily. So, you and Josh?"

"Me and Josh," Taylor sighed and toyed with her drink. "Fine, what do you want to know?"

"Do you love him?"

Taylor raised a brow sharply.

Danny grinned. "Don't even try to lie to me Taylor James. I know you better than you know yourself."

She wanted to deny it, but Taylor found herself blushing again.

"That's what I thought." Danny's smile was genuine. "You should have heard the way he was worrying last month. I thought he was going to swaddle you in bubble wrap or something until you were healed."

Taylor snorted. "He damn near tried."

"Be gentle with him, he's not as tough as he looks."

"I know." Taylor stared thoughtfully at her drink for a moment. "I'm trying, Danny."

"I know you are. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that he's one of the few men that could kick your ass."

Taylor sputtered into her drink and forced herself to reign in the laughter.

"Where is my idiot brother tonight anyway?"

Taylor made a face. "Last minute trip to New York. Long story; no punch line. Look, that's enough of that. And by that I mean me. How're you?"

"I'm good," she answered a little too quickly.

It wasn't lost on Taylor. "Just good?"

This time it was Danny's turn to blush. "Great?"

"And Bill Martin, he's making sure you stay great?" Taylor asked wryly. Danny's small nod leant Taylor a sense of satisfaction. It was about time Danny found someone that made her happy. "Where is he tonight?"

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