My Past Is My Present
Part One

She was shaking from the bitter December night air as she pushed through the crowd of people on the sidewalk in front of her destination. To her right, on the usually quiet street, the lights from police cars danced across the snow and black tar. As she reached the yellow crime scene tape she fished her wallet out of her back pocket and flashed it to the police officer. He lifted the tape and she ducked under it easily.

"Second floor," he told her before she could walk pass him. "It's pretty gruesome."

She didn't even grace him with a response as she moved on towards the icy stairs of the brownstone. At the top a police officer, one she recognized from other crime scenes, opened the door and gave her a small nod as she entered. Once inside she could hear her boss giving orders and rolled her eyes in response. She took the stairs to the second floor two at a time and entered the room at the top.

"What do we 'ave?" She asked, her Irish accented voice breaking slightly.

Her partner gave her a harried look before speaking, "Michael Paxton, 45; he's a politician who is," he made quotes with his fingers, "well on his way to becoming mayor of this fine city."

"The name doesn't ring a bell," she commented dryly. "Who's the female?"

"No idea," their boss said as he swept into the room. "Then again it is your job to find out Morgan."

She glared at him as she moved to kneel beside the body, "Thanks Boss. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside."

The female seemed young, almost too young to be with a forty-five year old man, but he was a politician….Her fiery red hair and pale freckled skin gave her the appearance of a Scotsman or Irishman. But appearance didn't mean anything, not yet anyway. As soon as she had on a pair of latex gloves she lifted the woman's left hand and looked at the fingernails. Well, the female victim also didn't care much about her hands. They were calloused and the nails were broken. Broken nails just could indicate a fight, but the broken nails seemed natural, not like they would be in a fight. There was also marks on her wrist as if the poor girl had been tied up or someone had gripped her wrist tightly. Maybe the murderer? It appeared as if the female victim had tried to fight back. Her clothes were ripped which just cemented that idea.

"Any suspects?" she asked as she stood and brushed off her pants.

"Only one," Nick Abrams, one of the other agents, responded as he consulted his notebook, "The woman from across the hall, Claire Sampson, claims she heard Mr. Paxton arguing with a man a few hours before the murder."

"Do we have a name?" She heard someone ask from behind her.

"Sorry Owen, all she could tell us was that he was Irish and had an accent to confirm it," Terrance replied.

Owen chuckled, "Well that narrows it down to a few thousand."

There was laughter among the agents and forensic investigators in the room. Owen crossed the room to the female victim and looked over at Morgan as she surveyed the room. He could tell that she was quickly processing everything. She grabbed the jacket of a passing forensic investigator and motioned to the female victim.

"Print her tonight and run them. I want the results on my desk in the morning. Understood?"

"Of course Agent."

"Mr. O'Grady," his secretary greeted as he walked into the office. "Here are your messages and you have ten minutes before your meeting with Ms. Morgan."

He shot her a look as he racked his brain for information on Ms. Morgan. "New Client?" He asked as he came up with nothing.

"Yes, she made an appointment this morning."

"Thank you Janice."

He walked into his office and closed the glass door behind him. Who was this Ms. Morgan and why was she coming to see him? There were plenty of other lawyers she could see in this building, and usually they got first picking of any new clients. He wasn't high enough on the corporate food chain to choose who he wanted to see. This woman must know of him and had specifically requested him. Once his things were laid out on his desk he turned on his computer and drank the coffee that was waiting for him.

"You look nice," He heard from the door and looked up.

"Why are you here? I 'ave a meeting in-"

She chuckled, "I know. I am your meeting."

"Are you kidding me? Couldn't we 'ave met for lunch or something?"

"Lunch? You make it sound like we're business partners and not related to each other. Don't worry, I won't take up to much of your time."

"So?"

She lowered herself into one of the chairs in front of his desk, "I take it you didn't 'ear about Michael Paxton?"

"Who's Michael Paxton?" He smiled and leaned forward, "Your new boyfriend?"

"A dead politician who was murdered last night."

He blinked, "And what exactly do I 'ave to do with this? He's not a client at this firm."

"I know," She smiled. "I just wanted to annoy my annoying older brother and invite him over for dinner this weekend with me and my," she grinned as she held up her left hand, "fiancé."

"You're engaged?"

"Duh, that's what I just said. So, can you make it…Saturday night at seven? I'm cooking," that caught his attention, "and I promise to make ham and baked macaroni and cheese if you agree."

He smirked, "Consider it a deal. Should I also invite Kieran and Father along?"

"Nope. I'm 'eading over to see Kieran during my lunch break and I'll give Father a call, but you're the only one who's going to know I'm engaged."

"To that pesky FBI agent you used to work with," he commented dryly.

She shrugged, "Say what you want. Well," she checked her watch, "I 'ave to go. I'll talk to you later. Don't work to 'ard."

"I'll try not to." He stood up and moved around the desk. "You realize your glowing right?"

"Pregnant women glow, engaged women are only halfway there."

"Oh, when you go to talk to Kieran try the new club, I can get you the address."

She held up her hand, "No thanks. I already 'ave it."

He walked her to the door of his office and hugged her quickly, "It was good to see you for something other than a holiday."

"Sorry, but there's nothing I can do about that. Being an FBI agent doesn't give me time to spend with the other 'alf of who I am."

She shuffled the photos around on her desk as she tried to figure out what was amiss. In the left hand was a picture of the crime scene before the bodies had been taken out while the picture in the right hand was from after the bodies had been removed. So the only change in the pictures should have been the absence of the bodies. But there was something else that was different.

"Terrance," she said to her partner. "There's a book missing."

"What?"

She rolled her eyes, "Someone removed a book from the crime scene. The one on the bedside table. It's not there in the second picture."

"Let me see."

She handed him the two photos and he surveyed them. After a minute he set the pictures down on his desk and picked up a file that was an inventory of the contents removed from the apartment.

"There's no books listed on the inventory."

She looked across the desks to her partner and tried not to show how angry she was. Someone had taken a book, not necessarily evidence, but it was something that was still a part of the crime scene. They needed to find that book and the person who took it. Why would an agent or crime scene investigator take the book…unless they were an imposter or had something to do with the crime? She lowered her head to her desk and sighed. The impostor couldn't have been FBI, if it had been one. She knew all the agents that had been at the scene, which means it had to have been either one of the police officers who had secured the scene when the crime scene investigators showed up or one of the crime scene investigators.

The only thing related to the case she knew so far, was the name of the female victim. Aislinn O'Shea. A twenty-six year old personal assistant to Michael Paxton. Maybe it had been Aislinn they were after and not Michael Paxton? But that didn't make sense. If she were the target why kill her at Paxton's? They could have waited until she got to her own apartment and was alone.

"Kieran O'Grady."

Her head snapped up, "What?"

"Heir to the O'Grady Crime Family," she could feel her boss' eyes on her. "We have him on the video exiting the building shortly after the murder," Owen explained.

"And? We can't just say it's him based on his colored background," Terrance advised.

"We know that an unknown Irish male and Paxton were arguing two hours before the murder. You have to admit that the timeline and the fact O'Grady was there fits," Nick told her as he perched on the edge of her desk.

"How so?" Parker, their boss, asked as he knocked Nick off of the desk and took his place.

Owen glanced away from her to look at their boss, "We have him entering the building before the argument and exiting right after the murder."

"That leaves those two hours unaccounted for," Jessica, their resident techie, replied. "Where was he during those two hours? You need to figure that out before you can put the blame on him; it may be his alibi."

Morgan was frustrated. This whole thing made her want to scream. She laid her head down on her desk and took a few deep breaths. When she looked back up Owen wouldn't even look at her. She reached under her desk and retrieved her messenger bag. As she stood up everyone, except Owen, looked at her.

"I'm off the case," she announced. "At least until Kieran is cleared."

Terrance was on his feet in a flash, "What? Why?"

She had a hard time believing that they couldn't put it together. Was it that hard to figure out that Kieran and her were related? They did share a last name after all. One that wasn't all that common to people outside the O'Grady clan. Jessica looked over from where she stood by the white board and then glanced down at her feet; she had obviously figured it out whereas everyone else weren't that bright.

"Kieran," she said, "is my older brother. I won't 'elp put 'im behind bars for something he didn't do. Just because I'm an FBI Agent doesn't mean I'll arrest my own flesh and blood."

Owen snorted, "How do you know that he's innocent?"

"I'd believe my own brother long before I'd believe circumstantial evidence," she returned just as quickly. "I'm off this case," she repeated as she tugged on her coat. "Call me when you clear him and then I'll be back on it."

As she unlocked the door to her beloved BMW M3 she noticed that her hand was shaking and it wasn't from the cold. What had she just done? She had sworn to herself that she wouldn't let her past dictate her present nor would she let her family interfere with her work and look at what she had just allowed to happen….She had taken herself off of the case because her brother was involved. There was nothing wrong with that, right?

"Morgan!"

She yanked open the car door and flung her things across the driver's seat and onto the passenger side. Her green eyes glared at the reflection of her co-worker in the window of the door and didn't turn to acknowledge him. Barely a second later his hand was closed around her left upper arm and she was spun around to face him. Her right hand automatically went out to slap him but he caught her wrist easily.

"You'd believe your own brother over me?" He asked, his eyes betraying his anger.

"You said so yourself, Kieran is my brother. I'd believe him over anyone, even my own fiancé."

"Do you trust me?"

She tilted her head to the left slightly. "With my life, but my brother isn't the kind of person to do this and I believe him over you and circumstantial evidence." She smirked, "Now if you'll excuse me I have a lunch date with Kieran and he hates it when people are late."

She yanked her arm out of his grasp and slipped into her car. As she drove away she knew that Owen was still standing where she had left him, but at that point she didn't care. All she wanted was to save her brother and prove that he had nothing to do with the murder of Michael Paxton. There was only one way, however, to prove his innocence and she had no idea how she was going to pull it off.

He stared out at the flowing water of the Hudson as he pulled his leather jacket closed with one hand. In the other hand he held a .9 mm Smith & Weston. A cruel smile was on his face as he pushed the safety off and screwed on a silencer. He fired the rest of the bullets into the water and then unscrewed the silencer. Once it was safe inside his pocket he flung the gun out as far as he could. Only when he heard the splash and saw it slip below the surface did he turn away and walk back to his car. They could never pin this on him without a gun and evidence. All of this would be over soon and he could go back to what he did best.

"You're going down and when you do I will celebrate."

He brushed his blond hair away from his forehead and walked to his car. As he slid into the car he glanced at the book on the passenger seat. His only mistake while he waited in that apartment for the target to arrive had been to read that book, that he had meant to leave as a calling card before he realized that his nemesis lived in the same building. It had been ridiculously easy to frame him. But it had also been too easy for him to get past the police into the crime scene to grab the book.