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Chapter 123: "Where's John?"

Andrew watched the orderly wheel Kim out of the room.  It would be several hours until the surgery was over, and he tried to suppress the worry he felt.

"Come on, big brother," Jeannie said, wrapping an arm around his waist.

He glanced at her.  She seemed far too calm.  "You okay?"

Jennie nodded.  "I'm fine.  Mom's going to be fine."  She looked up at him.  "You're worried, aren't you?"

He hesitated.  "No . . . It's going to be fine."

"You're worried.  Admit it," Jeannie said.  He cursed the way she could read him so easily.  "My big brother . . . the tough soldier. . . .  For all your swagger, Andy, you're just a little boy who needs his mummy." 

Andrew rolled his eyes.  "You are such a cynic.  That crack about the video, by the way . . .  Majorly uncalled for."

"It made mom laugh," Jeannie pointed out.  "I just wanted to take her mind off things.  As for you, big brother, I think your being worried's sweet."

There was something in Jeannie's voice that gave her away, and Andrew gave her a knowing look.  "You're worried too.  Don't deny it."

Jeannie shrugged, then sighed.  "Okay . . . you got me."  She glanced in the direction of the doors through which Kim had been taken.  "She's going to be all right, isn't she?"

Andrew started to say that, of course, Kim would be okay, but knowing Jeannie, she would call him on it.  He put an arm around her shoulder.  "We just have to hope, Sis."

"And all that stuff about Dad," Jeannie said, with a shake of her head.  "Guess whatever they gave her must've been the good stuff.  Seeing him. . . . Hey?  What's up with you?"

Andrew realized that he must have reacted unconsciously to the mention of Father.  "Nothing.  You're right.  That was weird."  At Jeannie's dubious look, he added, "Seriously."

Jeannie pulled away and looked at him.  "Is there something you're not telling me?"  She seemed to think for a moment.  "Is it about Uncle John?  Mom asked you about him looking for Dad."

It took all of Andrew's effort to keep a straight face.  "I haven't heard anything from John."

That was the truth, actually.  He just omitted mention was the middle-of-the-night phone call from Captain Davies, the Head of European Operations, who demanded that Andrew tell him everything he knew about John Black's visit to Donovan Manor.  Andrew had been shocked to hear that John had figured out Shane's password and hacked into the computer, and even more surprised to find out that John and Hope had escaped from a troop of the SAS.

It probably had been a mistake for Andrew to ask if the communications room defenses had operated as Father had intended.  Evidently, the British Army was rather displeased with the ISA over that part of the incident, and Andrew had received an earful from the head of his department.  Andrew had done a lot of quick thinking and, he had to admit, a fair amount of lying in convincing Captain Davies that he knew absolutely nothing about John's plans at Donovan Manor and had merely offered the house as a base for John to stay while he looked into the lead he had received from someone at Homeland Security.

Jeannie seemed harder to convince than Andrew's superior.  Her eyes narrowed.  "You know something, Andy, don't you?"

"I don't," Andrew said.  "Honestly, Sis.  I wish I knew something helpful, but I don't."  He forced himself to look into her eyes as he spoke, even as he hated that he had to lie to her.  It was true that he knew nothing useful about their father's disappearance, but to even tell her that, he might have to reveal his involvement with the ISA.  And Andrew knew exactly how that revelation would be received.  He stared into Jeannie's eyes.  "Honest."

"Fine."  Jeannie hardly seemed mollified, but she took his hand and led him toward the door.  They exited the pre-op area and followed the signs to the waiting room where they found Caroline, Bo, Marlena and Shivaughn.  As they entered, the group looked at them expectantly.

"They just took her in," Andrew said.

Bo harrumphed.  "So now we just sit and wait."

For the next few minutes, everyone stood around doing little but glancing at each other.  Eventually, they found their way to the seats.  Bo and Caroline watched a morning talk show, while Shivaughn and Jeannie pulled out a couple of thick books and began discussing something law-school related.  Andrew stood in the doorway of the waiting room and watched the medical staff walk by.

"Andy?"  He had not heard Marlena approach him.  "Can we talk for a minute?"  She glanced back into the waiting room.  "Maybe down the hall?"

He had a sneaking suspicion that he knew the subject of the conversation.  I might as well get it over with, Andrew thought, so he motioned toward the corridor and led Marlena to a seemingly deserted spot.

"Where's John?"  Marlena frowned as she asked the question.  "I can't get an answer on his cell phone and I tried calling Donovan Manor, but the man who answered sounded nothing like a butler."

Andrew tried to think of a way to explain the situation without causing a major scene.  As Marlena glared at him, he knew that was highly unlikely.

"I suspect the man who answered was ISA," Andrew said.  "I just found out a few hours ago--"

Marlena stepped so close that Andrew had to step back for fear of them colliding.  "Found out what?" she demanded.

"Uncle John -- at least we're pretty sure it was him -- hacked into the ISA mainframe from Father's communications room."  Andrew figured he probably should not mention the SAS, or the several soldiers now in local hospital.  "He and Hope, um, got away before the ISA arrived at the house."

Marlena studied him carefully, and he suspected she knew there was more to it.  "'Got away'?  And just where did they get away to?"

"I swear, Aunt Marlena, I don't know."  That was true.  "I didn't even know what he was trying to do.  I know he wanted to check Father's computer, but I never thought he'd try to hack into the ISA.  I mean why did he even need to, when he could get into the network using his own codes?"

Marlena seemed to accept that as she paced in a small circle.  "I don't like this. Whatever your father got himself into is dangerous, and John shouldn't be involved."  She scowled.  "We're supposed to be done with the ISA."

"Aunt Marlena. . . ."  Andrew tried to be sympathetic.  After what she had gone through with John, he could understand her anger and fear.  "I'm sure it'll be okay."

"No, Andy," she snapped, even as she kept her voice low.  "This is what the ISA does.  You think it's just a bunch of adventure where you can play James Bond, but the ISA ruins lives.  Right now, you think you can keep these two sides of your lives separate, but you can't.  You won't.  You can't just turn things on and off."

He knew she was thinking back to the fight with Phillip.  Maybe she was right and he had lost control, but he would learn from that.  "I understand you're trying to help--"

"Don't patronize me, Andrew Shawn Donovan," she said.  "I know what I'm talking about."

Andrew glanced over Marlena's shoulder and noticed a couple of nurses were watching them.  "Look . . . this really isn't the best place for this talk.  Why don't you go back to the waiting room and I'll see what I can find out about John?"

"How?  Through the ISA?  They're probably trying to arrest him."

"We don't know that," Andrew said.  "At least, I might be able to get some idea of what's going on."  If anyone trusts me enough to talk, Andrew added silently.

Marlena looked down at the floor for a moment.  Finally, she sighed.  "Okay.  See what you can find out."