Blood and Thunder

Jane Harper

RATING: R (language, some violence) 

SYNOPSIS: The fifteenth man has talked, someone is being stalked, someone is pursued by someone they know, and someone is doing what he should have long ago. Burma Shave. 

ARCHIVE: Sure. Just let me know where. HTML available. 

DISCLAIMER: We didn't start the fire. Please don't sue us, your attorneys would laugh when they see the balance sheet.


Toby dashed back to his office and called Rabbi Glassman.

"It's OK, I know this happens," the Rabbi said.

"I'm still sorry. And I'll just ask you now."


"Rabbi, I'd... I was never Bar Mitzvahed. My parents were divorcing that year and it was chaos and it just never happened. I think I'd like to do that."

"Toby, that's wonderful. Do you want me to set you up some time with our educator?"

"No, I have a friend who's going to tutor me, but she's Conservative and we'll have to meet with you to go over what your requirements are."

"No problem. Bring him in with you anytime."

"It's a her."

"Really?" Toby could hear a smile in the Rabbi's voice.

"No, not like that," he responded with an edge.

"OK. Call me when you've got some time to come in."

"Thanks for understanding, Rabbi."

"No problem. Shalom, Toby."

Now, he thought, to figure out how to invite my brother.

* * * * *

Margaret saw that the alarm was off again, and swore under her breath. Using her key to open the door, she saw that the lights were off and the curtains drawn, and walked over to the bay window to open them.

"Stop," a voice came from behind her.

She jumped.

"Don't move," the voice said.

Then a voice she recognized. "It's OK, Margaret."

"Sarah?" she turned slowly toward the voices to see a slightly-built, sandy-haired young man holding a large knife to Sarah's throat.

"Sit down," the man said.

"It's OK," Sarah repeated. "Joel won't hurt me."

"You think not?" he asked, drawing the knife closer to her, pricking her softly with the point.

"Just calm down," Margaret replied calmly. "And give me that knife."

"Right," he responded. "Sit down here." He pointed to a spot on the floor next to where Sarah was sitting.

Glancing briefly around the room, Margaret saw Sarah's wheelchair in the corner, folded into a thin compact form. Slowly, she moved over to the spot he indicated and sat down.

"Good." He began to pace up and down the room, chattering disjointedly about Jewish women whom he called "traitors to the tribe."

Slowly and quietly, Margaret reached over and took Sarah's hand.

* * * * *

Leo looked at his watch: three-thirty. Where the hell was Margaret? He dialed her pager and waited. Ten minutes later he tried again. He called the condo: no answer.

Muttering to himself, he got up and put on his coat. Dammit, Margaret, he thought, where the hell are you? Did you go shopping? I need that stuff now. No drivers were available, so he caught a cab for the short ride in the freezing rain.

He had a real head of steam by the time he arrived home. Noting that the alarm was off, he burst through the door calling "Margaret?? Are you-"

"NO!" Sarah screamed. "GET OUT!"

He froze momentarily as he saw the tableau in front of him: Sarah and Margaret both sitting on the floor, wide-eyed, holding on to one another's hands. A young man with a very large knife lunging toward them.

"Whoa, fella," he said softly, extending his gloved hands toward the intruder. Looking at Sarah, he added, "It's gonna be OK, Toots. This is somebody you know?"

Sarah was shaking visibly. "This is my cousin Joel."

"Glad to meet you, son," Leo said, extending a hand toward the knife-wielding man.

Joel started to extend his hand in response, then pulled back with a giggle. "No, no," he laughed, "I'm not falling for that. Take off your coat, Pop. You're gonna be here awhile."

McGarry did was he was told. The old warrior's instincts began to awaken, and he cast a quick glance around the room. Fireplace poker, lots of glass, not much else capable of being used as a weapon. Unwilling to surrender the high ground, he sat on the arm of the sofa. "You know," he began again, "if I'm not back at the White House in a few minutes, somebody is going to notice, and they'll come looking for me."

"That's OK, it won't take much longer than that to make you fit to fuck my cousin." He started walking over toward Leo, wiggling the knife point. "It won't be a pretty job, 'cuz I'm not much of a mohel, but I can do what needs to be done."

"Joel, please," Sarah begged, "don't hurt him. He hasn't done anything to you."

"And he won't be doing anything to you again, either," the young man answered. "Did I mention that sometimes my hands shake?"

Leo waited until the assailant got within a step of him, then quickly stood up and stepped to one side. He grabbed the other man's knife hand with both of his and tried to bend his wrist back to force him to drop the knife, but the younger was stronger, and they grappled fiercely.

Over his adversary's shoulder, he could see Margaret look quickly around the room, then reach up over her head into the china cabinet and pull out a serving platter. Standing up quickly, she threw the platter like a Frisbee at the intruder. It struck him hard in the back of the knees and toppled them both to the floor as Sarah screamed. A puddle of bright red blood formed under the two fallen men.

Slowly, Leo climbed out from under the dead aggressor, blood all over his shirt, jacket torn, breathless and shaking. Together he and Margaret got Sarah up off the floor and back into her chair, and he called the police. As they waited for a response, he took a deep breath and turned to her. "Excuse me," he said to Sarah, and turned to grab Margaret, dip her, and plant a huge kiss on her mouth.

She gaped at him as he righted her and turned back to Sarah. "You didn't mind that, did you Toots?"

"You kidding? I'd do it myself, but I don't think I'm Margaret's type."

He picked up the telephone to call Josh and let him know what had happened.

* * * * *

The next morning, there was another bouquet of flowers on Josh's desk. This one had a note: Thanks. Mandy

He called her new office.

"Thanks for what?"

"Oh hi. Thanks for the ride. It was fun while it lasted."

"Listen," he responded, "I never did get to say goodbye-"

"Forget it. I'll see you sometime."


She hung up.

He scratched his head for a moment, picked up a yellow pad, and headed for the morning meeting.

* * * * *

When Margaret got into work that day, she found her office festooned with banners and gifts. The biggest banner said GRRLS KICK ASS!! Several bunches of flowers brightened the room, and her desk was covered with Xena action figures. A huge rubber sword was hanging from the wall. And when she arrived the President strolled out of the Oval Office and into hers.

"Margaret," he began before the assembled staff, "I want to say thank you. You saved my best friend's life."

She blushed bright red as she shook Bartlet's hand. "I appreciate it, Mr. President, but I was only looking out for myself. Do you have any idea how long it took for me to break him in?"



Blood And Thunder - epilogue




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