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Shane's strength and stamina were improving.  He had managed two sets of 30 pushups and 50 crunches, plus a series of leg exercises.  Now too exhausted to do anything else, he curled up on the mattress and let his thoughts return to his past -- to his regrets.

He could not list his regrets without thinking of his daughters, Eve and Jeannie.  He had failed them both.

In hindsight, he probably never had much of a chance with Eve.  He had just missed too much of her life.  For a time, he thought he had gotten through to her, that Eve really had changed.  However, he had just been deluding himself, much as he did during most of the time she lived in Salem.  Eve was spoiled and manipulative.  He had tried to convince himself otherwise, but it was undeniable.  And he knew he bore much of the responsibility for that.  When Eve probably needed a firm hand, Shane had indulged her, feeling that he had to make up for the 14 years he was unaware of her existence.

When she chose to divorce Jack and leave for Africa with Frankie, Shane had been so proud.  It seemed like she had reached a turning point -- a new mature Eve.  For the next two years, he received letters from her that detailed her adventures in Africa and described all the good that she and Frankie were doing.  Shane didn't think he could be more proud of his daughter.

That bubble burst when he returned to England for the ISA.  He discovered Eve in London, living with her mother, and learned that she had abandoned Frankie after only two months.  The letters were fakes.  Shane had been furious, betrayed yet again by Eve's lies.

Their relationship was rocky for the next few years.  Then Eve got into trouble again, finding herself mixed up with some scam artists who duped her into paying for recording space they did not have.  That convinced Shane that Eve was not ready to be on her own.  She was still just 22, so as a condition of bailing her out of that situation, he made her move to Donovan Manor where he could keep an eye on her.  And for awhile he again began to think she was changing and maturing.

The last straw came in 1995, when he nearly died in Germany.  Eve had flown to the military hospital and was there when he came out of sedation.  According to the doctors, she had not left his side for the three days they had kept him unconscious.  She remained there for the next few weeks and, then, when the doctors were debating about where to send him for further recuperation, Eve had assured them that she would oversee his care at Donovan Manor.

Shane should have known better.  Actually, he never blamed her for being overwhelmed once she learned what caring for him actually required.  It had to be terrifying for her to see him so incapacitated.  He couldn't even sit up in bed without assistance and needed bottled oxygen while his lung healed.  Shane would have understood if she said she couldn't handle it.  He would have just hired a nurse; that would have been an easy fix.  The most important thing was that he wanted Eve there; he needed to have someone that he loved by his side during the difficult recovery.

Even then, he might have understood her choosing to leave.  He would have understood how hard it was for her to watch him.  But what he couldn't understand was how Eve handled it.  Two days after he returned home, she was gone.  Without a word.  One night she was there, the next morning Simmons was saying Eve had left; she was "sorry."  That just killed him.  And for the next few months, she would not answer his calls.  It was like she just cut him out of her life when he was at his weakest.  He did not hear from her for another four months, only when he was almost fully recovered and right before he returned to the field.

Maybe Eve had been too embarrassed to admit she couldn't handle his condition.  She couldn't admit that she couldn't fulfill her promise.  But at the time, Shane couldn't see that.  He just saw his daughter running away -- away from her responsibilities and away from him.

Their relationship never recovered.  The breach of trust was just too great and he could not delude himself any more; Eve would never change.  So he saw her a few times each year, usually when she wanted a handout, and that was about it. 

Giving up on Eve made him more resolute that he would do everything in his power to maintain a strong relationship with Jeannie.  For a time, he thought he was succeeding.  But then work always seemed to interfere; there seemed to be so many emergencies when he was supposed to go to California or when Jeannie and Andrew visited England.  Andrew was able to understand, but Jeannie just couldn't.  That was hardly surprising.  Andrew had lived with him enough to remember the extended periods between missions when daddy was always around.  By the time Jeannie was born, he and Kim had separated permanently.  All she got were brief visits, too often cancelled or interrupted because of ISA emergencies -- emergencies that only grew more frequent as he ascended the ISA hierarchy.

Shane remembered one day in early 2005.  Jeannie's high school soccer team had made the playoffs and the timing fit with an operation Shane was overseeing on the west coast.  Knowing he would be around, Jeannie had begged him to come.  The operation was set to take place a few days later, so he had figured he could spare a few hours to watch Jeannie's match and take her to dinner afterward.

He had pulled up to Jeannie's school in an ISA limousine, not by choice, but because his orders required that he travel only in armor-plated vehicles.  Shane always thought it ridiculous, but apparently, he was a high priority figure who needed protection.  That was one requirement he eliminated immediately after he formed Nightwing the following year.

So he had arrived at the school to find himself the subject of numerous stares from the students and fans in the bleachers along the field.  Shane had thought that odd, because Jeannie's tony private school was filled with the children of the very wealthy, including plenty of Hollywood types.  He figured many of them were familiar with limos, but apparently not on weekday afternoons.

Ignoring the stares and followed by his driver-bodyguard, Shane had made his way to the soccer field just in time for the players to take their positions.  He had spotted Jeannie immediately on the right wing.  She had seen him too and waved excitedly.

"You sure know how to make an entrance."  Shane had turned to see Kim, her arms crossed.

"What?" he had asked, then realized she as talking about the car.  "Trust me, I don't like that thing, but I don't have a choice about it."

"Oh, so it's ISA-mandated for agents to use limousines?"

Unable to explain fully, he had just said, "Sort of."

"Well, you're here at least."  In a mutter loud enough for him to hear, she had added, "Unlike her Sweet Sixteen and Christmas."

He had missed Jeannie's Sweet Sixteen in September when the Russian Federal Security Service had asked for an ISA advisor to help with a hostage situation involving Chechan rebels.  Because Shane had been had been head of European Operations and, before that, had been active in Eastern Europe and Chechnya, he was the logical choice for the job.  The directive to go to Russia came directly from the White House.  That was not an order he could refuse.

At Christmas, promising they would spend time together, he had Jeannie come to Donovan Manor to spend the holidays with Andrew and him.  She arrived the day before Christmas and they had one uninterrupted day together.  Then, in the middle of the night, the tsunami had struck the Indian Ocean.  He had rushed to London at 4 a.m. to oversee ISA efforts to contact agents in the affected countries and to track separatist and terrorist groups that might use the disaster to their advantage.  He had spent an entire week at ISA headquarters, never even leaving the building.  By the time he could go home, Jeannie had already returned to the States.

"Kim, are we going to go through that again?" he had asked, exasperated.  "I thought I explained it already." 

Kim had just glared at him.

"Look," he had said.  "I know you think I've got a lot of control over things, but sometimes there are things I can't control.  It's not like I have all the terrorist groups on speed dial and can call them and say, 'Hey, I've got a family matter next week, so would you hold off your attacks until later?'  And I can't control natural disasters, Kim.  Sometimes, I just don't have any choice."

She had shaken her head.  "You always have a choice, Shane.  You've just made your choice to stay with the ISA.  You could have left at any time."

"It's not that simple," he had said, quietly, but he did not elaborate.  There was no convincing Kim, so he had turned his attention back toward the match.  Jeannie had been racing along the touch line as a midfielder passed the ball to her in full stride.  She had outrun the midfielder, moved into the clear, and kicked a perfect centering pass into the goal area, where one of her teammates headed the ball into the goal.  The crowd had erupted in cheers and he had turned to Kim.  "Did you see that strike?  That was utterly brilliant.  She was--"  He had stopped as soon as he saw Kim frowning.  "What is it now?"

"I've been thinking about what you told me about Christmas," she said.  "Answer this, Shane -- when you had to go to London over Christmas to deal with the tsunami, why did they call you?  I mean, what reason was there for the head of European Operations to be involved?"

Shane had sighed.  He had known this day would come sooner or later.  "There is none," he had said simply.  Even if his current position was secret, she would detect a lie.  He also knew she would never tell anyone.  He just said, "I'm not head of European Operations any more."

Kim had fallen silent for a moment and then had looked at his bodyguard and out to the street where the limousine was parked.  "Oh no."  She had taken a deep breath and then spoke in a very soft voice.  "Are you telling me that you . . ."  Her voice had begun to rise, so she lowered it again.  ". . . that you're the ISA Chief?"

"You know I can't answer that," he had answered, but they both knew that response was as good as a "yes."

"Oh my god."  Kim had looked up at the sky.  "You must be kidding me.  Did you ever for a moment stop to consider what taking that job would mean for your kids?  No wonder you're never there for them when you promise."

"I'm here now," he had snapped.  "And actually, I thought long and hard about Andrew and Jeannie before I took the job.  I also thought about how many children might be saved by the work we do.  You might have noticed, but this world changed a few years ago and intelligence operations had to change too."

"Of course, so they needed the great Shane Donovan to tell them what to do."  Her voice had dripped with sarcasm.

He had shaken his head.  "You'll never understand.  There are some higher goals worth sacrificing for."

"Oh, I do understand that.  And I don't object to you sacrificing yourself.  I always knew the risks you faced, always understood that you might come home injured or you might never come home at all.  That I could understand.  What I don't understand is you sacrificing any chance of being a father to your children."

"I'm not sacrificing the kids," he had growled in a low voice, but it was hard to say that with much conviction.  In his heart, he knew some of what she was saying was true, so he had turned his attention back to the match.  The score had still been 1-0, but it was a back-and-forth match, and he kept his focus on Jeannie, who had been running up and down the pitch without tiring or slowing down.  It had reminded him of his Eton days when he had set records.  He and Drew had been formidable strikers, tireless and relentless in their attacks.  Watching his daughter, he could see the same tenacity.  It had made him grin proudly.  "She's a chip off the old block."

Kim had scowled.  "Don't tell her that.  She might quit the team."

Shane had been about to respond to the jibe when he had heard the coach yell, "Johnson, get your head in the game."  He had followed the coach's gaze and spotted a brown-haired player in the midfield.  He had looked more closely and realized who the girl was.

"That's Stephanie, isn't it?" he had asked.


Shane had taken a moment to watched Stephanie closely.  He had not seen Kayla's daughter in more than a decade.  She had grown into a beautiful young woman and he figured, like Jeannie, would be graduating this year.  He had glanced around the sidelines, looking to see if her mother was there.

Kim obviously had known what he was doing.  "Kayla's working at the hospital today."  Before he could make a crack about how Kim seemed fine with some sacrifices, but not others, she had added, "She asked for the afternoon off, but the hospital is short-staffed."

"Maybe I'll use that as an excuse if Al Qaeda attacks when I'm supposed to be seeing the kids." 

His words had been prescient, because almost as soon as they were out of his mouth, he heard his phone ringing -- a tone used only for emergencies.

"Damn," he had muttered.  When he had answered, an agent told him that one of the field units was reporting that it may have been spotted by their targets and the head of North American operations wanted to start the raids immediately.  Shane had turned away so he could not be overheard.  "You said they 'may have been seen.'  How confident is the unit about that?"  The agent had replied that the targets had begun moving their equipment from the warehouse where it was stashed.  That told Shane the unit had been spotted.  Shane sighed.  "Okay.  I'm on my way.  Tell Whitaker to hold off on anything until I get briefed on the current situation.  Have him keep the unit in place, but if the targets move, they should follow."  He hung up to see Kim shaking her head, a look of disbelief on her face.

"You're going to leave now?"

"I have no choice," he had said.  "It's an--"

"An emergency.  I know."  Kim had frowned.  "Sooner or later, Shane, you're going to be out of chances with her.  And don't tell her you'll make it up to her, because you can't be sure you'll ever be able to follow through on that promise."

Her words had cut deep, because he knew them to be true.  "Would you please tell Jeannie I'm sorry?"  When she nodded, he had turned and headed back toward the car.

An hour later, from the ISA offices in Los Angeles, Shane had overseen five raids on Al Qaeda operatives in the city.  Twenty men were arrested, foiling plans to blow up an oil tanker in the entrance of the Port of Los Angeles just before they exploded suicide bombs at a sold-out basketball game.  News broadcasts around the country over the next few days reported that the operation had saved thousands of lives at the game and had prevented ecological and environmental disasters.  Even more, documents seized from the terrorists provided new insight into their operations and derailed some of their future plans.  The operation was a rousing success, so successful that Shane was called to the Oval Office to receive personal thanks from the President. 

Back in his cell in Costa Blanca, Shane stared into the darkness.  That day had been one of his greatest achievements.  He had been so proud of what he and ISA had accomplished.  He had been so proud to have saved so many lives.

But Jeannie didn't know about any of that.  She couldn't know what he had done.  And even if she had been told, she probably wouldn't have really understood.  She wouldn't have understood the economic implications of a sunken ship preventing imports from arriving at the nation's busiest port or the environmental disaster that was averted from a major oil spill in Southern California.  Maybe she would have understood how his actions had saved a lot of people at the basketball game, but even that may have also been too abstract for her to understand.

In the end, it didn't really matter.  To Jeannie, Shane wasn't a hero.  He was just her father -- her father who didn't care enough to stay through the end of her important game.