Kitty Goes to Washington Page 31

He shut down the computers and surveyed the room. Satisfied, he nodded. “Looks good. Let's get out of here.”

After making sure the door to the hallway was locked, he stripped off his gloves and shoved them in a pocket. I followed his lead, then nervously curled the papers we'd liberated.

We took one detour before leaving the building. Cormac stopped at a closet in a side corridor on the main floor. True to his word, he slipped the key card into the front tray of the janitor's cart parked there. It only took a second.

We didn't speak until we were outside, walking down the sidewalk with a dozen other anonymous pedestrians. Daylight still shone, which seemed incongruous with the darkness of Flemming's offices and our clandestine activities there.

“And that is how you break into a government office,” Cormac announced at last.

“Those Watergate boys could have learned something from you, eh?”

He made a disgusted huff. “What a bunch of posers.”

Supper that evening was room service at Ben's hotel. Cormac sat on the bed, plate balanced on his lap, one eye on the news channel playing on the TV, volume turned way down. He and Ben drank beers, like a couple of college buddies. Maybe that was where they'd met.

We'd debriefed Ben on our field trip. The chart from the lab lay spread across the middle of the table.

Ben nodded at it. “Is this a copy or did you just take it out of his office?”

“It's a copy.”

He pursed his lips and gave a quick nod, like he was happy with that answer. “Was it worth it?”

They both looked at me. I rubbed my forehead. My brain was full. “Yeah, I think so.”

Ben said, “This doesn't prove anything, you know.”

“I know people on that list. At least, I think I do. If I can track them down, they'll give me someone else to talk to.” I hoped.

“Will they talk to you?” Cormac said.

“I don't know.”

Ben leaned back in his chair. “Kitty, I know this Flemming character is suspicious as hell. But maybe he's exactly what he appears to be: an NIH doctor, ex-army researcher, nervous because he doesn't want his funding cut. What is it you think you're going to find?”

Fritz the Nazi. I wondered what kind of questions Flemming asked him, assuming he actually talked to his subjects. I wondered if Fritz told him the stories he wouldn't tell me. What would an ex-army medical researcher want to learn from a Nazi werewolf war veteran—

“Military application,” I whispered. I swallowed, trying to clear my throat, because both men had set aside their forks and beers and were staring hard at me. “He told this story about a patient in a car accident, horrible injuries, but he walked out of the hospital a week later. Flemming seemed totally… entranced by it. By the possibilities. He talked about it in the hearing, remember? Curing diseases, using a lycanthrope's healing abilities. Imagine having an army of soldiers who are that hard to kill.”

“If he has military backing he wouldn't need to be explaining himself to Congress,” Ben said.

Cormac said, “Even if he's developing military applications, is there anything wrong with that?”

“There is if he's using people,” I said. “He has jail cells in his lab.”

“Look, I thought you liked what this guy was doing,” Ben said. “That you wanted all this out in the open. You want him shut down now?”

“Yeah, I think I do.”

“Why?”

I shrugged, because it was true. I'd loved seeing this stuff in the Washington Post. I was enjoying the respect. But I could still smell the garlic paint in the lab. “Because he's unethical.”

I hadn't finished dinner, but I couldn't eat any more. It was dark now; time to see Alette. “Look, I won't be able to track one of these guys down until tomorrow, but I think I can find the other one tonight. I'm going to go do that.”

“Need company?” Cormac said. Read: need help?

“No thanks, I'll be fine. I think.” I collected the pages from Flemming's lab.

“You might want to think about making a copy of those,” Ben said. “Maybe put them in a safety deposit box. Just in case.”

“Or mail 'em to someone,” Cormac said. “With a note to open it if anything happens to you. If you get in trouble you can use it as a threat and not be lying.”

“Or you could not do it, say you did, and use it as a threat anyway.” Ben said this pointedly at Cormac, weighing the statement with significance.

Cormac gave his best shit-eating grin. “Would I do something like that?”

Ben rolled his eyes. “I'm taking the Fifth on that one.” I stared. “Uh, you two go way back, don't you?” They exchanged a look, one of those familiar, it'd take too long to explain the inside joke looks. “You're not going to tell me, are you?”

“You're better off not knowing,” Ben said. Now I wanted to run to the nearest Internet connection and dig up what nefarious plot these two had cooked up in the distant past. At least, I assumed it was the distant past. Maybe I should get a different lawyer. Except it would take too long to explain everything to a new one.

I wanted to show the list to Alette, both to find out if she knew any of the Homo sapiens sanguinis represented, and to rat out Leo. Yeah, I was tattling, and it hadn't felt this good since I was eight and ratted out my twelve-year-old sister's stash of R-rated videos. If she'd only let me watch with her, she could have kept the TV in her room.

I rushed into the foyer, pausing a moment to debate whether to look in the parlor or the dining room, or find Emma or Bradley and ask them where'd she be. Think, if I were the head vampire, where would I be?

A touch brushed my shoulder. I gasped and turned, shock frying my nerves. Leo stood behind me, calmly, as if he'd been there all evening, watching the scenery. I could have sworn he hadn't been in the foyer when I entered the house. But I hadn't sensed him approach, I hadn't seen him, smelled him, or heard him.

“Hello, there,” he said lightly. “Can I help you with something?”

I wanted to punch him. “What the hell is your problem?”

“You're so easy to rile up, can you blame a man for trying?”

“Yes, yes, I can.”

“Ah. Well, then.” He strolled, circling around me, blocking the exits.

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