THIRTY HOURS LATER
 
Author nickname: Ukeleleboy
Beta reader nickname: Analorien
 
Summary: A handful of pending conversations and some unexpected news are part
of this fic, set after the fifth season finale.
Notes: this is a short fic... I should say it’s a sort of long one shot, but it’s not like
that, either. It’s just the result of several scenes dancing in my mind.
 
Warnings/Disclaimer/comment:
The action is set one week after “The Beginning” (5x24 ep).
The time frame changes, going and coming and not necessarily using flashbacks... I
hope you don’t miss anything in it.
That’s all. The usual disclaimer, the characters from WaT don’t belong to me,
unfortunately. The story and the rest of characters are completely mine.
I hope you like and enjoy this story as I did writing it. Sharing with you all is for me
the best satisfaction.
Let’s go!
 
 
Chapter 1
At 09.00 am of any day, the Missing Persons squad from Violent Crimes section in
the FBI, was working on the search of Stephanie Bowles.
The search had started too late making the agents work difficult. It was almost 24
hours since her disappearance but barely two hours before, they received the
missing persons report. To Jack Malone, the team’s supervisor, the first 48 hours
were crucial and they were losing precious time.
The young woman, a med school student, was seen for the last time at 10.00 am
the day before, when she left quickly the forensic practise class.
What, in the first instance was attributed to shock, being the beginning of the
course and one of their first practise classes, that always caused some kind of
reaction from the students, turned to concern when none of her classmates were
able to find her for the rest of the day, most of all when she didn’t come back home.
Early the next morning, her parents made the decision to make a missing persons
report.
Samantha Spade and Danny Taylor were at the Medical School interviewing the
professor and Stephanie’s classmates present at the classroom when she left.
“It’s normal, this kind of reaction at the first practices. Some people can’t deal with
the sight of a corpse, much less when we have to work with them,” the professor
explained effusively. “But, that’s part of their work in the future. I guess you’re
familiar with it, as well.”
Sam smiled. “Is there anything that got your attention or it was just the logical
reaction from any student?”
“To me it was the logical reaction... what it isn’t logical is she skipped the rest of the
classes. But I found that out when you come to ask me about her.”

“It’s revolting, I have to admit,” Annie said, “but I guess we’ll get used to it,” she
smirked.
Danny raised an eyebrow, as he took notes. Annie was Stephanie’s classmate; they
were friends from high school and used to spend a lot of time together.
“Do you think that, apart of the unpleasant experience, could something have
happened to cause her to run away?” Danny asked.
“I don’t know, the truth is that I didn’t pay attention to her. We were focusing on
that body, thinking Professor Andrews was going to cut his flesh... I was just
thinking about not vomiting or making a scene... I suppose all of us were like that.
Professor Andrews is a bit dramatic, as well. That fact didn’t help us.”
“Nope. How long have you known Stephanie?”
“We studied at the same class in high school, but actually we got close here.”
“Where do you guess she could go in case of feeling in danger or needing a place to
stay for a while? Can you think of anything?”
“Well,” Annie remained thoughtful for a moment. “I don’t... I don’t know. But, why
do you think she’s in danger? She just got scared of a body.”
“Right, but you all are here, but not her. Something else had to have happened,
don’t you think?” Danny forced her.
“Eh, well,” Annie started frowning. Obviously the young girl had remembered
something.
Danny stared at her, waiting impatiently. He couldn’t help but feel nervous. Usually
as they were working, they tried to stop the idea about what the missing person
could be going through at that moment, but he got nervous when it was so difficult
to get the information from the ones with a certain worthy lead.
“Well, what?” he asked impatiently.
“Three years ago... it was summer. Stephanie and her boyfriend, Mathew, had an
accident. She never wanted to tell me what happened. I just know that another car
crushed against them, Mathew lost control of the car and they rolled down an
embankment... Matt... he didn’t survive the impact. It took hours until the firemen
got them out of the car. Maybe... Maybe the sight of the body at the class made her
remember Mathew’s body... that experience... I don’t know really. She never talked
about it.”
“Where did the accident happen?”
“I don’t know. They were on vacation going to their motel when the accident
happened, but I don’t know exactly. As I told you, Steph doesn’t talk about it.”
“Okay, thanks so much.”
“You’re welcome. I hope it helps.”
“Me too.” Danny agreed, pulling out his cell and dialing a number.
“Malone.”
“Jack, it’s Danny. We’ve got something.”
Jack was in Stephanie’s home, talking to her parents as his coworker, Vivian
Johnson checked the young woman’s room looking for some lead. As Jack talked to
Danny, she entered the living room with a picture on her hands she showed to
Stephanie’s parents.
“Who’s this guy?” she asked.
Mr. and Mrs. Bowles exchange a sad look. “It’s Mathew. He was my daughter’s
boyfriend,” he said.
“He died three years ago,” Mrs. Bowles said. “Steph hasn’t gotten over the situation,
yet.”
Jack, once Danny explained what he had found out, took part in the conversation.
“My coworker has told me that your daughter had an accident three years ago.”
“Yes, it was that accident Mat died in. They were driving to a motel to spend some
time and another car crushed against them. Steph got hit on her head and had
several broken ribs. They spent hours in that car until the firemen got them out.
Why are you interested in it?”
“We’re just checking all the possibilities, Mrs. Bowles. Stephanie’s classmate told us
that maybe the sight of the body during the practice class, brought back memories
of Matthew,” Jack explained.
“Where did the accident happen?” Vivian asked.
“It was 4 miles from the motel,” Mrs. Bowles replied. “Do you think my daughter
has gone to the place where the accident happened?” she asked with a slight
hopeful tone.
“I don’t know but we are checking all the possibilities,” Jack said. “Uhm... was
Mathew living at his parent’s home when the accident happened?”
“Yes...”
“Could you give me their phone number? Maybe Steph went there...”
Jack immediately regretted his words, noticing the hope on Mrs. Bowles’s face. He
didn’t like to give hope without enough information. It could be the disappearance
had nothing to do with it.
Mr. Bowles rose to look for the phone number. Then he handed a small book to
Jack, who took note of the number and address.
“Right, thanks so much. Now, if you want, one of my agents will take you to the FBI
offices. We’ll keep you informed.”
Jack and Vivian left Bowles’s home as they were taken to the FBI building.
“Do you think that accident could be linked to her disappearance?” Vivian asked.
“Probably, it’s our best lead,” Jack pulled out his cell and dialed Mathew’s parents
phone.
After he confirmed Steph didn’t pass by there, he dialed another number.
“Spade.”
“Sam, call the office and get the coordinates of a motel called ‘The Seven Hills’, it
looks like the accident happened 4 or 5 miles from there.”
“Okay, I know that place,” Sam said. She ended the call and showed the address to
her coworker, who was driving.
Jack and Vivian got into their car back to the office.
After a brief moment of silence, Jack spoke, “What are you thinking about, Viv?”
“It has to be a terrible experience,” she said.
Jack stared at her in surprise. It wasn’t her usual attitude; she didn’t use to let the
emotions catch her so easily. However, it wasn’t possible to keep objectivity always
intact. It happened to all of them some times. For some reason it was happening to
Viv now.
“Don’t think about it. The lead is clear, surely Sam and Danny will find her there,
but it would be better if you don’t think about it, Vivian. You know how it works.”
In fact, it was the only lead they’d got and both of them knew that if Stephanie
wasn’t there, they should start again and they were already behind.
“Yes,” Vivian sighed staring at the window.
“What’s going on, Viv?” Jack asked.
“I’m tired of this, Jack. It has been... how long, 20 years working and it looks like it’s
always the same.”
“What happened?”
“I don’t know what to do. Marcus has been offered a job in Connecticut. If he finally
accepts...”
“Well, I guess that if you need a change and there is that possibility, maybe you
could work in the FBI office in Connecticut and you’ll feel better,” Jack said. “But,
you know how I’d feel. All of us.”
Vivian smiled. “I know, mummy leaving the nest.”
“No, it’s not like that but... yes. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before but... I really
appreciate your point of view... and I bear your advice in mind, because I know
you’re sincere and think the best for us... All of us feel that way.”
“Oh, well, I don’t know what to say,” Vivian sighed and continued. “I’ve already
asked for a job in Connecticut. There isn’t any available job for my category until
next year, when probably, just probably, it will be a vacant as supervisor in missing
persons... but right now there isn’t anything I liked… I’ll see,” she said. She paused
and changed the conversation. “What’s going on with Danny?”
“What do you mean?”
“Is he still thinking about that application for working security in a mall?” Vivian
chuckled just picturing her coworker like that.
“We haven’t talked about that, but since Elena left, it looks like Danny is calmer.”
“But Elena will come back, she just took some weeks off.”
Jack shrugged. He wasn’t the best person to make a judgment about relationships
but he was afraid that Elena wasn’t sure about Danny, especially since she knew
about the reason for the discussion between them.
Flashback
It had been a hard day for her. Carlos, her daughter’s father, had been set free at his
trial, it hadn’t gone like she had hoped, he was free with just with the promise of don’t
disturb them. ‘Promises’, she smiled sarcastically as she partially closed the door of
the room where Sophie was peacefully asleep.
She glanced at the time, it was late, 21.30. She had asked Danny to stop by. Sophie
would be calmer with him around, and she would be as well, she had to admit. But it
was late, surely he had stayed at the office finishing his report.
At that moment, she heard the soft knocks on the door. After she checked to make
sure it was him, she opened the door. As soon as she saw him, she knew something
was wrong.
“What happened to you? You’re late,” she said.
He kissed her on the forehead as he looked around. “Sophie?” he asked.
“She fell asleep. She waited for you but as you didn’t come...” Elena shrugged.
“I’m sorry, it’s that... I argued with Jack and...” Danny stopped at Elena’s disappointed
gesture. “Let it go, it’s nothing.”
“If it was nothing, you wouldn’t have that face. What happened? Is it because of me...
because of what happened with Carlos?” she asked.
“I told him that I could have solved this, the day he took Sophie. I had a good shot, it
would have been legal Elena, and now you wouldn’t have to deal with this. But Jack
didn’t let me then, and now he says that he was protecting me from an OPR
investigation, when actually he does what he wants, bending the rules for his
convenience...” Danny said in a bad-tempered tone.
Elena stared at him in surprise. She couldn’t believe what she was listening to. That
wasn’t the Danny she knew. She hadn’t even thought about it. God, Carlos was
Sophie’s father.
“Da... Danny... there wasn’t any reason to shoot Carlos then or now. Seriously, I don’t
think he’s going to hurt Sophie...”
“He already did, Elena. How do you think a seven years old girl can process the fact of
watching her parents yelling as he was pointing at her mum with a gun!”
“Okay, it’s okay, Danny but look, this is about Carlos and me. It’s not your business; we
have to deal with it as adults. He... he... I think that in spite of being free, in spite of the
possibility we won’t completely safe, I think he won’t do it again... he wouldn’t hurt
Sophie... I know... I know the reason he did before and he never thought about...”
“This morning you didn’t think the same way.”
“This morning I was tired and angry about the whole trial...now... I don’t think the
same now. Look, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry to get you here for nothing... but we’ll be okay.
Nothing will happen. Please, let it go and forget Carlos. I can’t believe you were
thinking about killing him. He’s Sophie’s father and he was your best friend not such a
long time ago. I’ve told you a lot of times that you shouldn’t take part in this. Don’t let
this affect you...”
“You asked me to come tonight. You are the one using me every time you need to,”
Danny reminded her. “How do you want me to stay away from this? I don’t
understand you, you tell me don’t take part but when you’re all right with it, ask for
my help... no.... I can’t stay away. What happens with me? What is the relation
between us, then, Elena?”
Elena remained thoughtful, trying to understand her own feelings. Everything had
happened so fast that now she wasn’t sure. If she was sincere with herself, she
couldn’t say she loved Danny. He was a great friend, a wonderful company and
eventually they could be a couple but...
“I don’t know. I need more time. My feelings towards you... towards everything are...
confused, Danny,” she said.
Danny grimaced.
“I asked Jack for some weeks off. Sophie needs that time too. My mum wants to visit
her sister Antonia, so I’ll take the opportunity to go with her.” Elena reached Danny’s
hands and took in hers. “I’m sorry Danny. Maybe you need some time to think about
this and calm down a bit.”
Danny pulled away his hand and looked at her in disgust. “I’m fine, Elena. I just
thought about you both being safe. I know what I want but I see you don’t and I don’t
know if I’ll be able to keep waiting until you decide what to do with your life. I love
you and I think I’ve proved it to you but it looks like it isn’t working out,” he said
finally as rose. “I think I’m doing nothing here and I’m tired. I’m going home.”
Elena stood up as well but she didn’t do anything to stop him. She knew it was the
best way. Danny closed the door and headed for his car, still hurt because of the
conversation, because of Jack’s arguments, because of Elena leaving him to go away
and not trying to stop him. The AA meeting he had been in, the real reason he gotten
late to Elena’s home, didn’t work. He pulled out his cell and dialed a number, his
sponsor’s phone.
Next morning, Elena arrived early at the office. Danny wasn’t around. ‘Fine’ she
thought. Jack was already in his office so she headed for there, knocked on the door
and entered.
“Jack.”
“Elena, come in. I’ve seen your request. It’s okay, you deserve some weeks off after
what happened and it’ll be good for Sophie, as well.”
Elena nodded but it wasn’t the reason for her visit. “What happened with Danny
yesterday?” she asked.
Jack sighed. It was pretty obvious that they had had an argument because of it. He
told her what had happened softening the situation. “He’s very nervous, Elena but
he’ll be fine,” he said.
“I don’t know, Jack. It isn’t what I expected from him. Carlos was his best friend,
Sophie’s father... I didn’t expect such a cold attitude.”
‘I don’t think it’s a cold attitude’, Jack thought, but didn’t tell. “Well, I’ll keep one eye
on him, right?”
“Thanks”, she said. “Well, I’m leaving now. I’ll come back in three weeks.”
“Good, have fun.”
What Jack didn’t tell her, was the meeting he had with Carlos that night and his
threat that he would be around. He wondered if Danny could have been a part of the
reason.
End of flashback
But the truth was that Jack had checked Danny’s work for the last few months and
he had been surprised about how many times Danny had shot and killed someone...
not having any problem doing it. Sometimes it happened, and Jack knew it pretty
well, you get used to shooting, to killing, to not thinking about the person in front
of you in spite of the fact that he or she could have been the most miserable person
in the world. He had seen some coworkers ruining their careers because of it,
ending sat down in a bar, drowning their frustration in alcohol, ruining their lives,
as well. He didn’t want that for Danny.

Sam and Danny drove through the road on their destination to ‘The Seven Hills’
motel. Four miles from there, they started to look for some trace of the woman.
“I don’t understand why she should come back to the place where the accident
happened,” Danny said, feeling uncomfortable as they approached the place.
“You were the one pointing to that possibility...” Sam started. Danny nodded.
“Maybe she feels close to Mat there. Maybe she wants to be close to him. It was that
place, where she saw him alive for the last time,” she continued.
“Yes, it was the place where he died, too. I don’t know, Sam. I wouldn’t want to
come back... ever,” Danny said in so convinced tone that Sam frowned.
“Are you talking about you?” she asked not sure about what she was asking for. She
knew his parents had died in a car accident, but nothing else.
But Danny didn’t reply. He just drove, looking for a clue to find Stephanie, trying to
focus on the case.
“Stop!” Sam exclaimed. “It’s here, it was right here. Let’s get out and take a look.”
Danny stopped the car and both agents got out of the car. Approaching the side of
the road, they looked down but they didn’t see anything so they started to walk
down. Suddenly, Sam put a hand on Danny’s shoulder pointing to her left. Leaning
against a tree, it was a woman. They had found Stephanie. Sam approached her as
Danny called Jack. Then, he approached his coworker as she was talking to the
woman.
Once they checked that Stephanie was okay, other FBI agents took her to the office,
where her parents waited for her, impatiently.
Danny and Sam drove back to the office, as well.
“How’s Elena?” Sam asked trying to cut the uncomfortable silence.
“I don’t know,” Danny said, his eyes focused on the road.
“I mean, well... after what happened with Carlos at the trial and so on... she was
worried...” she commented not sure. Danny’s reply had surprised her.
“Well, she took some weeks off because of that. I guess she’s okay,” Danny replied
smiling a bit. He realized that his coworker was trying to soften the tension
between them. Sam didn’t deserve it. They had been coworkers for a long time and
she didn’t have any idea about what had happened with Jack, with Elena, or what
he was remembering right now and trying desperately to keep back.
Some weeks ago, Sam had a bad moment, after her sister was missing. Since then,
Jack and Sam looked closer, at least it was what he thought. Danny thought about
it, Jack took care of them, he had stopped him a lot of times and he was right. He
had acted rashly some times and he had failed. In spite of it, Jack had protected
him. He remembered as they missed decisive evidences in Spaulding’s case, he
remembered that because of him a doctor could die when he shot against a closed
door trying to kill Dornval, the man who almost kill Martin. He remembered how
he was close to making a school explode, thinking he could convince Ryan Wallace
that it wasn’t a good idea to explode a bomb. He remembered the fury on Jack’s
face that night, he remembered all the people he had shot and killed lately... doing
his work... ending the life of the people who made innocents suffer... Carlos. His
memory made him jump.
“What happened?” Sam asked.
“Nothing... eh... how is your sister doing?” he asked.
“Fine... eh, we have to talk about... things,” she said, feeling uncomfortable with it.
Sam was pretty private referring to her family, her private life, as much as Danny
was, probably because neither of them had a reason to be proud of it.
For a long time, Sam and Emily shared a secret. Now, Jack knew that secret too,
making Sam closer to him. That feeling growing inside her was familiar, but at the
same time dangerous.
On the other hand, Jack wasn’t married anymore and there wasn’t any excuse to
stay together but… past memories were around. And there was Martin, as well.
Sam had accused her sister of abandoning her when she needed her the most. She
disappeared for a whole year and came back without an explanation. Then Sam
was 15 and had deal with that terrible secret alone with a mother more occupied
with her social life than her daughters. She wanted to run away… too, she did, but
she came back. When she finally left Kenosha, it was forever. Sam lost contact with
her mum and sister.
“Has she found a way to care for her son’s illness?” Danny asked.
“Yes, eh… well, my mum compatible to do the medullar transplant and he was in
surgery ten days ago… it looks like it’s working well.”
“Well, I’m glad for the boy,” Danny said.
“Yes, me too,” she replied. She felt strange thinking about that boy being her
nephew. Sure he would never know his biological mother. He knew about his
adoption but nothing else. “Maybe I’ll pay a visit to her… one day,” she commented.
Sam was surprised with her own words, but really, she would like to talk to Emily,
breaking the long time of silence because of an extreme situation that both of them
had dealing with in different ways.
Danny smiled. He understood Sam pretty well; something similar had happened
with his brother Rafie, keeping a certain distance, but with a fluid relationship. Too
many problems, too many hard experiences in the past to keep a normal
relationship but at least they had reached a point where both of them felt
comfortable.

Martin Fitzgerald had stayed at the office looking for information about the case
and now was cleaning the whiteboard and packing away Stephanie Bowles’s
picture. It was one of those days he felt proud of his work. It had been a strange
case because they were called late but, fortunately, the first lead was right and they
found the woman easily. He wondered for a second what would had happened if
they hadn’t found her… her boyfriend’s memories through the sight of the body at
the University… dealing with it, it had to be hard. He hadn’t seen loved ones dying
like that, not so tragic way. The most recent was his aunt Bonnie, who died of
cancer. For a while he felt guilty for not helping her during that time but he really
didn’t know about her condition. His aunt had been like his mum, taking care of
him as his parents were traveling with a busy social life.
He looked at Danny and Sam entering the office on their ways to their desks and he
remembered as Sam was with him at those sad moments. He was still hurt about
their failed relationship; he didn’t understand why Sam was so ashamed of it. What
if she had had a relationship with Jack and the others could think that… What?...
what would they think? It would have worked out, he was sure… but it was too
late.
“Hey, what’s going on?” he greeted them.
“Fine, easy case,” Danny said.
“We’re lucky,” Sam said. “The first lead was the right lead.”
“Good for us, right?” Danny smirked.
“Yes, well, it will be a quiet day, if we don’t have any cases. I’m going to take my
time writing my report before we have a new case,” Sam said.
“Yes, good idea,” Danny said.
Vivian entered at that moment. She had been with Stephanie’s parents and now
they were back at home, she came back at her desk.
“Well, well guys… I think today we’ll finish early, we’ll be able to go back home as
normal people, with a normal job, a normal period of time…” she started.
“Don’t say that yet, it’s too soon for thinking like that, Viv,” Martin said.
“I swear to you that if I see Jack coming with worried face and a paper or picture in
his hands, I’ll hide under the desk,” she said.
Her coworkers stared at her in surprise. Vivian didn’t use to make that kind of
comment; she was always ready to work, being the one encouraging them.
“I don’t live here, guys. I have my own life, my home, my hobbies, and from time to
time, I like to enjoy it,” she said as a simple explanation.
At that moment, Jack approached them… holding a file… and a thoughtful face.
“Eh, Danny, have you finished your report?” he asked.
“No… actually I was going to start, we’ve just arrived,” he replied.
“Okay, eh, come to my office. I want to talk to you,” he said.
“You can talk to me, here,” Danny said in a sharp tone Jack didn’t like and made
him remember it was just a week since their… argument.
“I can but I don’t want to,” He replied in the same tone. Jack turned away and
headed for his office.
“Are you sure there isn’t anything filtering in by the air conditioning?” Martin
asked.
He got a smirk from Sam and a grimace in disgust from Danny. Vivian was focused
on her report of the case.
Danny took his time getting to Jack’s office. He guessed his boss wanted to talk
about the argument of last week but Danny didn’t want to talk about it. But maybe
it was time to apologies and his tone a moment ago had been more than sarcastic
and he didn’t help by speaking like that. After a couple of minutes thinking about
an apology, he rose and headed for Jack’s office.
He knocked on the door and entered not waiting for reply. Jack was reading some
papers and didn’t even lift up his eyes.
“Jack… eh… I… I want to apologize for my attitude before and… well… for my
attitude last week… I was… I was so frustrated about the situation and…” he
started hurriedly.
“I’ve been checking your profile for the last year,” Jack interrupted him, as he didn’t
really listen to him.
“My profile?” Danny felt his mouth getting dried. He didn’t expect any of this.
“What you told me about Carlos last week made me think and now that I’ve
checked all of this… do you know how many people have you killed in the last year,
Danny?”
“But… Jack… I don’t remember any irregular situation…”
“I’m not talking about it, Danny. I’m talking about you.”
“What happened with me? I… I’m fine, Jack, I haven’t any problem with it, if I have
to do it, I do it, just that. A coworker or innocent life is more important…”
“That’s what I’m worried about, Danny,” Jack interrupted him. “The fact you don’t
feel affected by that. It isn’t normal, they aren’t videogame figures or points to
win.”
Danny smirked. “I don’t play videogames, Jack. What is this about?”
“It’s about the fact that I’ve seen this attitude before, in other people, other agents,
good agents, coworkers. I don’t want you to end like them, Danny. I’m your boss,
and like it or not, you’re my responsibility, as your coworkers are, too. This is a
hard job asking for great sacrifice and will, not to mention a clear mind focused on
the objective we pursue. If I bend the rules, Danny, it’s because I have ways to
resolve it, because it’s fair and I have years of experience telling me to act like that.
But I don’t want any of you doing something that will ruin your careers because of
a stupid thing or a hot-head reaction.”
Danny didn’t want to discuss this now. After his argument with Elena and her
departure, he wasn’t sure his attitude was right. Things had changed for him for
the last couple of years, he had changed, he had a stable relationship with Rafie and
his family. He had a relationship with Elena, that had been difficult at first because
of his old friendship with Carlos, but now the hope for having his own family was
secretly growing in him… Martin, had occupied a good portion of his time as he
silently worried about him, watching as he recovered from the injuries after the
ambush. Danny wasn’t sure if it was as consequence of the exchange of gunfire…
Martin had been in the middle of them. He used the car to protect himself as they
shot each other and Martin was in the car… Martin covered in blood… dying in his
arms, just like… just like…
Danny took a breath, stopping the image of Martin usually very present in his
nightmares. “I know I’ve been a bit out of place some times, Jack and I made
hurried decisions other times. It’s not that I don’t feel affected by that… it’s that I
don’t have any room to have any more problems… I don’t want it to affect me… it’s
just… I don’t stop to think about it. That’s it.”
“What about Carlos, then?” Jack asked.
“Carlos… well I… I guess I didn’t want that problem. I was just thinking about
Sophie, about what she had to see and I didn’t want it to happen again and… well,
you’re right, actually, if I think coldly, I wouldn’t have say it… ever.”
Jack looked at him for a moment. “Well, I see you’ve been thinking about it. I hope
you won’t be so cold with me from now on…”
“I haven’t been…”
“Danny.”
“Okay, right. Eh… the report, right?”
“Exactly.”
Danny stood up and left Jack’s office. He glanced at the time, 14.30. He headed for
his desk when another agent approached him.
“Agent Taylor, an agent called Gaynor, from DEA, wants to talk to you,” he said
pointing the outside corridor, where he could see a guy about 50 years old, with a
file in his hands and a serious expression.”
His first thought was for Rafie. Being from DEA, surely it was something about
traffic drug and if they wanted to talk to him… But Rafie was close to get his parole
and it looked that this time he would get it… even though he couldn’t have any faith
in his brother.

Chapter 2
30 hours later, somewhere in New York city.
SWAT agents stealthily dispersed around the building, as some of them went into
it, looking for the exact location where the men they had to capture had their place.
The investigation told them there were five or six. The assault had to be prompt
and combined, they couldn’t let anybody escape. Fortunately the room was set in
an empty building, it was a little home that made it easy to identify the people
inside. The tension cut the air like a knife, there was a short time to find them and
recognize the two of them who should be released.
Outside the building, Jack Malone’s team awaited the signal to enter. At the same
time, Robert Cullmann, from DEA, waited impatiently for the same signal. Both of
them had different reasons to stay there. For Jack Malone it was clear. For Robert
Cullmann it was a failure on his investigation; he wanted to catch the gang once
they got the drug, but it wouldn’t be possible.
The information Robert Cullmann got during the last days had revealed unknown
circumstances about his undercover agent. It was clear the gang had been given a
tip-off, making them mistrust him. The test he would have to do was the usual. If he
failed he was a dead man. If he did okay, he would have to live with the truth that
he had killed another agent to save his own life and the operation. Anyway, if he
survived this, it was clear he wouldn’t be useful as undercover agent anymore,
which was a great loss after such a long time working like that. He was one of
them. He was an ideal in the undercover cops’ world.
“Everybody at your positions,” he heard in his earphone. A quick glanced at Malone
was enough to know he had heard too. Their bodies were tensed, as were the rest
of the members of the team.
Jack closed his eyes for a moment trying to calm down. He just had an objective
and it was difficult. He didn’t know what he would find, he didn’t know what the
situation was in that home, there were too many guns, too much danger, it could be
a massacre. But if the results of his investigation were right, he knew they had to
act now, or it would be too late, if it wasn’t yet.

Inside the home, five men talked about what they should do with the one in the
other room. Four of them were dangerous drug dealers. The fith was, actually, an
undercover DEA agent. A week ago, he contacted his boss and told his worries
about the gang revealing his true identity. Now he was absolutely sure his fears
were right and he was going to do something he never considered. He knew what
those men would do, he knew what they would ask him to do and he knew that if
he didn’t do, they would do it, and then, he would die, too. Some minutes ago, he
had got into that room with the excuse to make his hostage nervous, nothing to do
with his real intention. He talked to that young man and gave him a pill. “At least
you won’t be aware of your surroundings and you won’t suffer”. Then he put the
pill in his mouth and holding his face between his hands, he said: “This is the only
thing I can do for you”. Then, he kissed his forehead and turned away.
“Well, I don’t want to have that guy here anymore. Tomorrow will be the delivery
and I don’t want problems,” one of them said.
“Eh, Quirós, do you want to deal with it?”
It was time. Alberto Quirós, the alias he used in the drug world, knew they would
keep a very close eye on him. The other four men stared at him with a questioning
look, watching any hesitant gesture. He couldn’t fail or the op would be ruined and
he would be killed.
“Sure,” he said coldly, pulling out his gun and checking it was ready to shoot. “Let’s
finish this right now.”
Quirós opened the door and stepped into the room going towards the man on the
wet floor, his hands and feet tied behind his back and gagged. He held him by his
shoulders and stood him up on his knees, noticing the pill hadn’t done effect, so the
young man looked at him terrified, imploring him for help, making his job even
more difficult.
“What’s going on, Quirós? It’s getting late!” one of the men said, looking at him.
Quirós tried to keep calm knowing that this could be the last act of his life. He held
the other man tightly and pointed his gun to his head.
What happened then, was a big turmoil, yelling, shooting and the pain and burning
sensation on his chest. He knew he was going to die, he dropped the body of the
man he had to kill and fell down over him... at least he would die protecting him...
maybe he could forgive him one day.

That early morning...
“What we’ve got?” Martin asked, approaching Sam.
“Hey, it’s about Steve Gibson, 32 years old, expert in criminal law. He called his
wife last night to tell her he would get home late. As he told her, he was working a
case and he wanted to finish some things. However, this morning he wasn’t at
home...”
“Eh...” Martin started, not noticing anything special.
“Actually, they haven’t had any news from him since yesterday evening. His
coworkers told us he left the office early that evening, excusing himself as being
sick. His wife called them this morning and coworker and wife realized that he
never told them the truth.”
“Well, if he’s cheating on his wife, he isn’t very smart.”
“No, Jack is checking his office at home as Viv and Danny went to the job to
interview the coworkers.”
“An expert in criminal law... the list of enemies will be endless,” Martin said.
At that moment Sam’s cell started to ring. “Spade,” she answered.
Sam looked at his coworker frowning and looking at her watch.
“No, he isn’t with us. Eh... have you called him, cell... home... oh, well, I’ll call him,
right? Have you got any information yet? ... Okay, right.”
Sam closed the cell. Martin looked at her with a questioning look.
“Wait a moment,” she said, dialing a number. After waiting for a while, she cut the
call and dialed another number. She immediately heard her coworker’s voice at the
end of the line. She was going to speak when she realized it was the voice mail. “Eh
Taylor wake up, what did you do last night? We have a case, call Vivian, she’s
waiting for you.”
Sam cut the call. “Viv can’t contact Danny. Well, Gibson’s coworkers have
confirmed the version we already know. Vivian will pick up the files he was
working on for the last months.”
At that moment Jack left Mr. Gibson’s house. “Eh... Sam, Martin...”
“Have you found out something?” Sam asked.
“No at this moment, but there are some DVD’s at his office. Apparently they are
courses, but I want them to be analyzed, maybe it’s just a cover of something else.
Sam, stay with Mrs. Gibson, try to find out anything else, infidelities... become her
confidant.”
“Right. Eh Jack, Vivian called us. She didn’t have anything new from Gibson’s
coworkers but she’ll pick up the files he was working. Eh, she tried to contact
Danny but he doesn’t answer his cell or home phone so...”
“I’ll meet Vivian,” Martin said.
“Eh... well... eh... have you kept trying to call?” he asked.
“Yes, sure. Viv called his cell, at home and I did the same... I left a message.”
“Eh, excuse me, this could be nothing but,” Martin started, noticing the worried
expression on his boss. At first, he didn’t consider the importance of it but it wasn’t
usual in Danny doing this and he remembered what he had seen last afternoon.
Flashback
Martin saw Danny leaving Jack’s office as another agent approached him and pointed
a person at the corridor. Danny frowned and headed to meet that person he didn’t
seem to know. They shook hands as the other man talked to him, with a file in his
hands. Suddenly, Danny flagged him against the wall as other agents tried to
separate them. That man pointed his finger at him, pretty angrily as he yelled at him,
waving the file.
Danny took the file and headed for his desk, keeping it as the other headed for the
elevator, visibly angry.
“What... Who was that guy?” he asked Danny, which with a bad-tempered face had
focused on his work.
“Nobody,” Danny said.
“Come on, I’ve seen you arguing and how you used one of your favorites gestures
against him,” Martin insisted.
Danny grimaced. “You’ve never seen an argument? It isn’t a pleasant meeting.”
“I’m only showing concern for you,” Martin said.
“Thanks for your concern. I’m fine and I have a report to do or you’ll see another
argument, this time with Jack,” Danny said sharply but immediately softened his
attitude. It was a personal matter and he wanted to keep it like that. “Eh... I’m sorry,
Martin, no... it’s nothing, right?”
“Okay, right... do you want a coffee?” his coworker said knowing Danny wouldn’t say
anything else.
“Sure.”
End of flashback
“Didn’t he tell you who that person was?”
“No. But he was worried for the rest of the day. At various times, I saw him take
that file and read it for a while.”
It was then that Jack called Danny but he got the same result as Viv and Sam
before, just that this time his cell was off. He left a message and remained
thoughtful.
“Sam, call Vivian, Mrs. Gibson will be taken to the office. Leave other agents here.
Come back to the office and take the DVD’s to check them. Martin, come with me,
let’s go to find out what happened to Danny.”

Twenty minutes later Jack and Martin were outside Danny’s apartment. They
knocked on the door several times but nobody opened. Both men exchanged a look
of worry. Finally, Jack forced the door, as they pulled out their guns.
“Danny?” Jack called.
The house was in darkness and absolutely silent. Jack and Martin cleared the
house. Nobody there, everything in order.
They met again in the living room. “I guess he wasn’t here last night,” Jack said.
Martin checked the voice mail. Apart from Sam’s, Vivian’s and Jack’s messages he
didn’t find anything else. He didn’t know why but he expected one from his
coworker... Elena.
Jack entered the bedroom and opened the closet. Everything was normal.
“Jack,... I don’t like this. Danny never loses contact. Not even being with someone
else.”
“Okay, let’s go to the office, we have to find out who that man was and what that
file was about.”

Vivian and Sam were checking one of the DVD’s when they caught Jack and Martin
stepping into the office. The four of them exchanged a look with the same non-said
question, where’s Danny?
“Well, the security agent told us the person who asked for Danny yesterday, is a
DEA agent named Peter Gaynor. I’ll find out who this agent is and what they were
talking about,” Jack explained.
“I’ll see if the file is still in his desk,” Martin said, opening the drawers. When he
didn’t find the file, remembered Danny keeping it in his bag. “Oh, I remember now,
he took it with him.”
“Wait a moment, if this is a DEA’s issue, maybe it could be something to do with his
brother, Rafie,” Sam said.
“It could be but... Rafie is in jail. What DEA could want from him... or from Danny?”
Vivian said.
At that moment Jack left his office and walked towards them. “Well, DEA doesn’t
know any agent called Gaynor, but when I mentioned Danny’s name they put me in
contact with special agent Robert Cullmann, who’s coming right now. I don’t know
what Danny is involved in but this agent is very interested in identifying the man
called Gaynor.”
“Jack, maybe Rafie knows something. Maybe he has problems with a gang or
something... you know how Danny...” Sam started.
“Martin, go to Rickers and talk to Rafie,” Jack said. “Sam, Viv... I don’t want to see
Olczyk assigning Danny’s search... jus in case he’s... he’s missing... to another team. I
want to take this personally. So, please go on with Gibson’s case as if nothing is
happening.”
“Sure, but we’ll need help,” Vivian said. It was the first time, as Jack pronounced the
words that they were plenty aware that Danny could be in danger.
“Look for it.”
Martin left to go to Rickers as Jack headed for the security department to take the
video where that false agent entered the building.

The previous night.
Danny had left his car at his usual spot and walked to his home. His heart was
running a marathon as a lot of questions rounded his head, trying to remember a
situation that had happened a long time ago and he never could forget. It couldn’t
be him... he was there. He saw him... but, well, he could be wrong.
After reading over and over that file, still with the words of that agent in his mind,
he couldn’t understand it. Maybe Rafie knew something else... but Rafie always
confirmed what he already knew. No, they had argued about it, Rafie would have
told him sooner or later, but Rafie always confirmed it. Surely, DEA was wrong. He
had gone to Rickers and showed that picture from the file to Rafie. Rafie couldn’t
identify that man, but it had been a long time ago.
He crossed the street walking to the entrance of his building, when he felt
something hard hit his neck. Instinctively, he reached his hand where it hurt as he
turned around. Another hard hit to his stomach made him double up from the pain,
as he gasped for air. He saw a car approaching him and he was pushed into the car,
which left quickly. It looked that agent’s warning that afternoon was right... and if it
was like that... if the information he was given was right...

Rickers’ prison
“Yes, my brother came yesterday, late. It wasn’t time for a visit but I guess he used
his FBI card for access,” Rafie said.
“Did he tell you about the contents of a file?”
“Yes, he took it with him. It was the first thing he did. He was very nervous. He
opened it, took a picture and asked me if I recognized that guy... I don’t know who
he was... Then... then he asked me if I had seen our parents’ dead corpses,” Rafie
remained thoughtful.
“Why?” Martin asked in surprise.
“I don’t know, it’s stupid, right? Danny was with them when they died. I never saw
the corpses; the truth is, they told me it was an ugly sight and they didn’t want to
make me to have a bad moment. After all, Danny had been there, in that damn car
for... for almost five hours, before the firemen got him out. He saw them, he saw
how they died... both of them. I didn’t understand his question... I don’t know if he
was reproaching me for something or what. I know he has nightmares from time to
time about it.”
“Did he tell you anything else about the picture and the contents of the file?”
“No, he insisted on me trying to recognize that guy but I couldn’t help him. Then, he
left.”
“Could you give me a description of the picture?”
“Sure, it was the typical picture with the ugly mug of that guy on it... like a file...
well, it looked an official file. The guy looked about 50 years old, dark hair, slightly
grey-haired, brown eyes... I don’t know, a normal guy.”
“Any scar, tatoo...?”
“No... I don’t remember anything of it.”
Martin grimaced in disgust. He didn’t get anything. Why Danny would have asked
for his parents? Maybe Stephanie Bowles’s case had affected him and he just
wanted to talk to Rafie about that. But the questions... it didn’t make any sense.
“Well, thanks for talking to me, Rafael.”
“You’re welcome, I hope Danny is okay and he wasn’t in trouble... he’s a good guy...
he’s not like me... he has fought hard and he deserves things going on well.”
Martin smiled. “I’ll tell him to call you. Surely it’s nothing but we want to find out
what’s happening to him.”
“Sure.”

Danny woke up in a dark room. He was on the floor, his feet and hands tied
together behind his back, so he couldn’t move, just balance on the floor. His
stomach and neck still hurt, but he looked to be fine. He blinked several times to
get his eyes used to the darkness. It was a small room. He listened to the voices
outside the room. He tried to understand but he only could catch some words. He
tried to move, trying to reach the wall looking for a support to stand up on his
knees but he couldn’t.
How long had he been there? Who were those guys and what did they want from
him?
It didn’t take long to find out. When the door was opened, he had to close his eyes,
which were used to the darkness. Someone held him by his arms and stood up,
something he couldn’t do by himself.
“Well, agent Taylor... I see you didn’t take my advice in the afternoon seriously...”
Chapter 3
The person who had spoken and now grinned was the same agent that in the
afternoon had given him that file and warned him to be careful. Danny was
disconcerted and didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know those four guys in front
of him, except the one he had known at the office.
“Well, this isn’t about you, right? But we have to make a good impression,” the guy
said. Then he signaled to the other guys. Two of them held him tightly as the other
one hit him hard, using him as if he were a punch ball. Danny couldn’t do anything
to defend himself, but clench his teeth. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of
seeing him cry or yell. But the hits debilitated his will and when he was going to
yell, they stopped hitting him. They knew where to hit to cause just enough pain
without breaking a bone. He closed his eyes and waited for more, it was clear they
hadn’t finished with him. But all he received was a pail of cold water over him.
They dropped him on the floor and left the room without a word.

“Agent Cullmann, I’m Jack Malone, we’ve talked by phone. I thank you for being so
quick,” Jack said, even though he didn’t know who was more anxious to know the
identity of the man from the videotape.
Jack pushed the security tape into the VCR and stopped it just when they could see
clearly agent Gaynor’s face. Cullmann shook his head in disgust as he noticed
something. “I don’t know who this guy is... he isn’t anyone I was thinking about, but
that file... if that file isn’t ours it’s very similar.”
“What does agent Taylor have to do with this, agent Cullmann?” Jack asked.
Cullman realized at that moment that he had rushed into things, showing his
interest in Taylor. He expected to see some known face in that security video, but it
wasn’t... However, that guy had a file exactly the same design they used and he had
identified himself as DEA agent... it couldn’t be coincidence.
“I can’t tell you, it’s part of an investigation I can’t put in danger...”
Jack had listened to that kind of excuse thousands of times. “I don’t give a damn
about your investigation, my agent is missing and he could be in a dangerous
situation and I’m going to do my best to find him alive and you’re going to help
me.”
“I’m not sure what happened to your agent or what he has do to with this, agent
Malone. I thought that the guy from the security tape was connected to my
investigation but not like that... I don’t know who he is... are you looking for
fingerprints or something to identify him?” Cullmann asked.
“I’m going to ask you one more time, agent Cullmann and I would be very grateful
if you keep my patience intact... why are you interested in agent Taylor?”
Cullmann held Malone’s look for a while. He was a hard guy, he was used to dealing
with difficult situations and Jack Malone was nothing to him. The op they were
working was close to ending and judging by the information they had got from
their undercover agent, they had the chance, after months and months of hard
work, to catch an important drug shipment and important members of the gang.
“All right. One of our undercover agents is working with a drug dealers gang, we’ve
been investigating for months. We know it’s close to an important op and we’ve
put all of our agents ready to stop it and arrest a handful of drug dealers. However,
there are suspicions our undercover agent is going to be subjected to a test. I don’t
know if you’re familiar with the term, agent Malone.”
“Explain yourself!”
“Agent Taylor is part of our investigation, even though he doesn’t know about it.
His disappearance could have nothing to do with our work...”
“Listen to me, I’m not going to waste my time with you, so tell me exactly what’s
happening.”
“Okay, look, when a gang suspects one of their members, they used to take a sibling
as hostage, to make the test... hit or even kill the sibling. They expect to see the
hesitation to confirm their suspects so they’ll kill both. It’s the usual practice. So
our undercover agents are people without family, it’s a way to protect them as we
rule out the risk for that supposed family.”
“I understand. But agent Taylor has a family. He has a brother, a sister in law, and
two nephews... he doesn’t match with your profile.”
“No, you don’t understand, agent Malone. We didn’t know, but when our
undercover agent told us about his fears, he confessed us that he has two sons,
asking us for protecting them, Rafael and Daniel Alvarez. The older is in prison
what makes our work easy. Daniel Alvarez was found recently, due to he had
legally changed his name... fortunately we found the information in the social
security data base. However, it looks like they found him before us. That guy, that
Gaynor or whatever is his name, would have to be one of our agents. But I don’t
know him as a member of a gang, either, so I’m not sure.”
Jack stared at agent Cullmann trying to understand that new information, trying to
figure out the situation Danny could be right now, if he hadn’t understood wrong.
“Agent Taylor’s parents died when he was a child. He told me that,” he explained. “I
don’t understand what you’re telling me, you... you’re wrong.”
“Sadly, our information isn’t wrong, agent Malone. Since our agent asked for help,
we’ve done an investigation. Mario Alvarez was working in gangs for years. He
wasn’t an important member but he knew the in and out of the gangs in Miami
pretty well. When he was caught, he agreed to work for us. His profile was an ideal
to undercover ops, his family situation was extreme... the accident precipitated
everything. His wife died and the confusion of the little boy was enough to officially
kill Mario Alvarez. The government guaranteed the safety of the youngest son and
Mario Alvarez became special agent Marcos Santos, and was dissociated from his
sons and he’s working for us since that moment. What I don’t understand is how
the gang got that information.”
“Oh my god,” it was the only thing Jack could say.

“Where’s Jack?” Martin asked, stepping into the bullpen.
“He’s still with DEA agent. Have you got some information from Rafie?” Vivian
asked.
Martin shook his head. “I don’t know. Danny showed him a picture from that file
but his brother didn’t recognize the guy. Then Danny asked him about the accident
where his parents died...”
“Oh gosh, I knew Danny was affected by Stephanie Bowles’s case,” Sam said,
remembering the conversation they had had in the car.
“Is he headed the same way?” Vivian suggested.
“No, Danny told me that he would never came back to the place where the accident
happened,” Sam said.
“Have you called him again?” Martin asked impatiently.
“Yes, home, cell... nothing,” Sam said.
“Okay... how’s the Gibson case going?” Martin asked, then.
“Peters and Davenport are helping us, but the truth is we aren’t focused on it... at
least not me,” Vivian said. “I’ve talked to Rick... I told him what’s happening...
actually, he’s working Gibson’s case.”
“Does Olczyk know about this?”
“Not yet,” Vivian muttered.
Martin and Sam saw Vivian looking away them and focusing her papers, but not
enough fast to hide the tears in her eyes.
Sam approached her and put her hands over her shoulders. “Viv, we’ll find him.
Maybe happened nothing to him, just he’s with someone and is late or...”
Viv forced a smile. “Danny wouldn’t do that to Elena... what’s more, he wouldn’t do
it to nobody. It’s too late to think he’s just running late. He has had time enough to
call, to come here. Something bad happened to him, I’m sure about it.”
“Well,” Martin said, “Let’s check what we’ve done with him for the last 24 four
hours, maybe... maybe we’ll find out something we didn’t notice before.”
“I was with him all the morning, at the school interviewing Stephanie’s professor
and classmates, then we drove to the place where we found her... Then, we came
back here. I didn’t notice anything strange, just his comment about not wanting to
come back to the place where the accident happened.”
“Yes, then Jack called him to his office and...”
“And when he left Jack’s office, that false agent was waiting for him. That’s the
beginning, I’m sure,” Martin said. “I had to force him to tell me.”
“What did Jack want with him, by the way?” Sam asked. “Jack was pretty cold and
Danny was pretty pissed off, as well.”
“Danny and Jack had an argument last week,” Vivian said.
“Really?” Martin asked.
Flashback
It had been a hard day at work but finally, everything went well, they had solved the
case finding two missing people but Vivian had noticed the worried look on Jacks
face. So she went to his office and offered a drink after work and a chat. As usual, Jack
refused but she insisted and finally they met at a nearby café.
They sat down at a table with their bourbon and beer. Jack felt uncomfortable but he
knew that talking would be good, especially talking to Vivian. Elena was fighting for
her daughter’s custody and part of the arguments had to do with him bringing up
memories about his daughters, the ruined relationship with Maria, Anne... Sam. His
feelings for her never disappeared but recently they had steadily come back. But he
had to be careful if he wanted to her come back to him, he would have to act slowly...
and it was Martin. He didn’t know how Martin would feel with a hypothetical
reconciliation and he needed trust from his team... a trust Danny Taylor had broken
that afternoon... for love, as well.
For the first time in a long time, Jack found a way to express what he felt to the only
person he could talk about it... not Sam, he couldn’t talk to Sam about his feelings for
her. He told Vivian what had been running around his head as he listened to the
discussions on Carlos Aguilar’s trial, apart from the evident damage the irregularities
they had committed in Sophie’s kidnapping had done to Elena’s chances to get
custody. Carlos was released, now Elena was scared and Danny... Danny told him the
most absurd idea he had listened to in years. It wasn’t that Danny just talked, it was
his tone, his conviction, his reproach that hurt the most. The argument stayed in the
air and now he had to confront it, begging for Danny to say he was wrong. He knew
well Carlos, he knew Elena and despite of the stupid comment, maybe Danny was
right. But Jack knew that if Danny had killed Carlos the OPR would have opened an
investigation ruining Danny’s career. Danny was an excellent agent, he was a good
person. Jack felt responsible for him and he would have to do his best to see that
Danny didn’t act on his irrational desire for justice.
He talked to Vivian just stopping to drink a sip of bourbon. She listened to him
patiently. Vivian was good at doing that, her advice was good too. She was a person
you could give your life to, she said what she considered was best even though it hurt
and usually she was right.
End of flashback.
“Yes,” she said, not telling anything else. “It was an unsolved argument and Jack
wanted to talk to him about it.”

A long time ago, that man known as agent Gaynor and the other men had left the
room leaving him alone, wet and pretty sore. Again lying on the floor he tried to get
a more comfortable position. The wet clothes and cold he was starting to feel made
him stir and he couldn’t think properly to find a way to confront his situation.
He remembered the contents of that file. It was an official file or, at least, that was
what it looked like. The information in it, what agent Gaynor had told him, had
made him lose his temper, it was a very bad joke but now he hesitated, in spite of
what Rafie had told him. This could be a mistake... or not. In any case, he had to
look for a way to escape... but the only way to escape was behind that door. But
they were there, he could hear their voices, he couldn’t escape even though he
managed to untie his hands and feet.

“Well, we’ll do this,” the man Danny knew as Gaynor said. “At 3 in the morning the
boat will arrive. I’ll go as customs officer to check the delivery is right. I’ll take my
guys with me so we won’t have a problem with anyone at the port. We’ll check if
everything is correct and I want the van to be ready to get the drugs into it, I don’t
want it to get light being there. Is it understood?”
The other men nodded.
“Well, the definitive delivery will take place as usual. Micky and I will check if our
clients have the money. They take the van, we take the money. Quick and easy.”
“What’ll we do with the federal?” one of them said pointing at the closed door.
“Let’s wait for Quirós. Let’s see what happens.”
“Are you sure that’s who he is?”
“Look, I risked my ass to be sure. His reaction was pretty evident.”
“What will we do if Quirós is a damn informer? Will we cancel the op?”
“No,” Gaynor said. “Here you have the instructions in case Quirós isn’t the person
he says he is. I’m not going to lose this op because of a last minute problem.
Fortunately, we’ll be able to solve this before the op starts.”
At that moment, three knocks on the door, a softer knock and then other two
knocks, told them that one of theirs was coming. Even so, the four men pulled out
their guns.
Alberto Quirós calmed his nerves once more time as he heard the steps towards
the door. When the door was opened, he had firmly pasted his best smile on his
face.
“What’s going on, Quirós? What’s that happy face about?” one of them asked him.
“What’s up, Tony? It’s the great day, isn’t it?”
“Don’t be so happy yet. We haven’t started the op,” he said in a bad-tempered tone.
“Oh, come on, relax, it’s easy. We’ve done it other times. It’ll go okay and tomorrow
you’ll be under the sun of México.”
“Sure, well, Alberto, we have a little problem.” Gaynor started.
“Really? What happened? Is there any problem with the boat? Is it the money?” he
asked frowning, even though he suspected what this was about. A chill ran down
his spine. He hoped he was wrong.
“We’ve got a federal agent sticking his nose over here... he’s in the other room,”
Gaynor said staring at him.
The four men stared at him, waiting for a reaction. Alberto knew then what would
happen later.
“What the hell!...? Do you see a federal and bring him with you here? Are you
crazy?”
“Well, we wanted you to tell us what can we do with him.”
“What is this about? I don’t want to know about this stupid thing.”
Gaynor stood up and opened the door of the other room. Alberto looked into it but
he didn’t see anything. Then, after his eyes got used to the darkness, he saw a
shape on the floor. With his hands and feet tied and put together against his back
and completely wet, there was a man... probably one of his sons. He had enough
information to think like that. He tried to stay calm.
“And?” he asked angrily.
“I want you to kill him,” Gaynor said.
“Oh, right, fine... why me?” Quirós asked.
“Because you’re the best doing this and because I told you to, is it alright with
you?” Gaynor replied.
Quirós looked at him. He was too old for this, he was 60 and if he survived this, his
last action as undercover agent would be to kill... kill his own son.
“Right. But I’m starved so let’s go to dinner,” he said in the best casual tone he got.
He wanted to take time to process the situation, to make it real. He had to do it
without hesitation. If he failed, the op failed, if he failed, he would be killed... the
guy would be killed as well, in any case. He kicked the door closing it and headed
for the fridge to take a sandwich and a beer. “You don’t anything better here?”
The others took their beers and spent the time talking about other things, as they
didn’t care what was going to happen next. Quirós tried to act normal, knowing he
was being watch, but he couldn’t stop thinking about that young man that probably
didn’t know what was happening to him, except the certainty that he was going to
die.
Danny was sure he would die there after he listened to the other men. He would
die and his killer would be that Quirós, that could be the one the file said it was, or
whoever the other man was, but he knew he wouldn’t leave that room alive, at
least he could try something to escape. He tried desperately untying the ropes but
he only managed to hurt his wrists even more.
Chapter 4
“Agent Malone, agent Cullman, this urgent fax is for you.”
Robert Cullman quickly took the paper and nodded. “Well, we’ve identified the
false agent Gaynor. It’s Peter Palmer, he used to act as intermediary between gangs
and clients... he hasn’t got a record. We knew him but never could put a face on
him. Agent Malone, I’m afraid this definitely confirms our suspicions.
“Well,” Jack said. “Now we have to find out where my agent is held and release
him.” His tone was firm. He knew what kind of discussion was next.
Half an hour later, the discussion was taken to the highest level in the FBI and DEA,
one of them ready to release their agent, the others trying to emphasize the
importance of the op and one of them’s life as undercover agent doing an
important work in the fight against drug dealers. ‘Sadly, we lose worthy lives on
the way, agent Malone. Loved lives, undoubtedly, but needed sacrifices’. Jack had
listened to that before, but he refused to consent to it, not with his agent, not with
Danny. Fortunately, the situation was so bad that Olczyk hadn’t even mentioned
the fact that Jack hadn’t told him anything and had opened a report to find his
agent, which was against the rules. His team was emotionally involved, he would
never have allowed it.
So, thirty hours later Danny talked to that false DEA agent, they were outside of
that building where the investigations told them the drug dealers, a DEA agent and
a FBI agent was talking about... lives.

The door opened again. Danny knew his time had come. However, the man
approached him, held him carefully, fearful someone could notice his movements.
Danny didn’t want to listen to him, he didn’t want to know. That man told him
what was going to happen, what Danny already knew. He would be killed there.
There wasn’t time for escape, his time was ended and he hadn’t been able to find a
way to escape. It was time to apologize for his bad decisions, the damage he had
done the ones he loved... he never could tell Vivian how important she was for him,
he never could be grateful to Jack for trusting him. However, he would keep the
feeling he had disappointed him. He never could tell Sam how he understood her
feelings and he loved her. He never could talk to Martin about their experiences
together, that pending conversation about that day signaling a before and after on
their relationship. He couldn’t know what Elena thought about him... he would die
as she enjoyed some weeks off, so ironic, they had argued because of her safety and
he was the one to be killed.
That guy continued talking to him but Danny didn’t listen. He put something in his
mouth, a pill Danny was careful to not swallow. He didn’t know what it was, he
thought they would shoot him. But the imploring look of that man made him to
hesitate. The care he used to lean him on the floor, not just dropping him... made
him hesitate... What if that file was right... what if the man of the picture that Rafie
didn’t identify was him... But, it didn’t matter, he was going to die... and it would be
soon.
That man left the room and he remained alone again, waiting. But he didn’t wait for
a long time. When the door was opened again, that man stepped into the room with
a gun in his hand. He held him and stood him up on his knees. Danny took time
enough to look at the other men at the door, looking at them, eager, watching,
before the man pushed him on his back. He had looked at him and showed
surprise. Danny remembered then some words that man had told him before and
he barely had heard. “At least you won’t be aware of your surroundings and you
won’t suffer. This is the only thing I can do for you.”
Danny knew the moment had come. The man held him tightly and Danny looked
from the corner of his eye as the man pointed to his head. He closed his eyes as he
couldn’t help but let the tears roll down his face. He waited.
Then he heard the yelling, the shooting, something fell down over him, covering
him. Unable to breathe because of the weight of the man, he tried to move him.
Something had happened, but he didn’t know what. He supposed the man over him
was the man who was going to kill him but he wasn’t sure. Was it that the others
had killed that man? If it was like that, this couldn’t be finished. Now he would be
killed. He waited with his eyes firmly closed, not wanting to see what would
happen then.
What happened then was the loss of that weight over him, the feeling as his hands
and feet were untied, as someone held and hugged him tightly, as he was forced to
stand up and get out of there. Briefly, he looked around to see all the men he had
shared with the last hours with were killed. And there, beside the body of the man
who was going to kill him, someone with a vest with the initials DEA on the back,
put his fingers on his neck looking for a pulse he didn’t find. And Danny stared at
him, questioning, to meet his eyes and confirm what he already knew. That man
had been killed, a DEA agent had been killed to save him. That man was probably,
his father. He froze, unable to move, unable to look away from the body, trying to
change the course of the history, of what he always thought had happened that day
on a road in Miami, but he couldn’t. That man was his father, but he didn’t get to
feel like that. He almost died because he was his son, because the drug dealers had
used him to give him away, but he didn’t feel the connection between them. Would
his father feel it? He didn’t think so, he was ready to kill him... however, those
words, that kiss on his forehead... what he pretended?
Firm hands grabbed him and took him out of there, he was taken to the entrance of
the building. Outside there was a crowd, police, DEA and FBI agents, ambulances,
lights... but he was confused, he didn’t hear or see anything, it was so unreal. He
just felt cold, so much cold. He remembered his wet clothes when someone started
to unbutton his shirt. Then they put a blanket around his shoulders and he let the
doctors take care of him. He wasn’t able to react, he was completely in a state of
shock. He just... he wanted to go back home, to sleep and wake up from this new
nightmare.

SWAT agents burst into the room shooting everyone. Noticing the extreme
situation they didn’t hesitate in shooting. Robert Cullman and Jack Malone, came in
behind them when they were allowed. Cullman rushed at his agent, pulling him
aside and looking for a pulse.
Jack did the same. Just then he saw Danny under that man, having difficulty
breathing, held him and cut the ropes. He rubbed his arms making the blood
circulate and looked at him only to see an empty and lost look. Danny was barely
aware of his surroundings. Jack had thought he had lost his agent when he saw the
bodies of the other men and how things had happened, it was a very difficult
situation. But Danny was alive, safe and sound, apparently with just some cuts and
bruises and very cold, but alive. He hugged him tightly to bring some warmth to his
cold body and helping him to stand up and go out of there quickly. He got to take
him to the door when Danny stopped, staring at one of the bodies, the one that
Cullmann was trying to find a pulse on. Jack thought Danny knew who that man
was. He held him tightly and got to take him out and go towards one of the
ambulances to the doctors to take care of him.
When, after a moment looking as doctors checked Danny, he turned back, he met
Martin, Viv and Sam looking at him with a worried expression.
“He’ll be fine,” he said not very convinced. “He isn’t hurt, at least not badly, he has
some bruises and he’s cold... he was completely wet.”
“Thanks lord,” Vivian said.
“As the op has been taken yes, it has been a miracle,” Jack said, “Eh, Martin, go with
Danny to the hospital. I have things to do here.”
“Sure,” Martin said.
Jack headed for the entrance of the building to talk to Robert Cullmann. Sam and
Viv watched as both agents shook hands before they left to the hospital. Everything
had ended, at least Danny was alive and back to them.
Martin jumped into the ambulance and sat down with his coworker. An oxygen
mask on his face helped him to breath better, as he was being medicated against
the low temperature of his body. Fortunately, that was all. The rest, bruises. He
took his hand and looked at him. Now he was relaxed, his eyes closed and probably
asleep under the effects of the medication, but over his face, over his body still
remained the marks of hours in that dark room. Martin had feared the worst after
Jack told them what the situation was. He thought about what Danny could have
felt that day when he was the injured man and Danny tried to save him, that day he
almost died in Danny’s arms and how Danny, putting pressure on his wounds,
stopped the loss of more blood. Danny saved his life that night and he would do his
best for his coworker and friend.

Danny opened his eyes slowly, waking up from a heavy sleep, hoping everything
had been a bad nightmare. But as he became aware of his surroundings, the
sounds, the typical smell, the hard brilliant light of fluorescents... he realized it
wasn’t a nightmare. He was in a hospital.
He blinked several times to adjust his eyes to the light. He was cold and his body
hurt. He felt confused, he remembered barely being injected with something, some
painkiller, surely. He noticed the bandages around his wrists and a IV attached to
his arm. He took a deep breath. He hated hospitals.
Looking around he noticed he wasn’t alone. “Agent Taylor, I’m Dr. Hammond, from
night shift. You’re in the emergency room, at St. Mary’s hospital.”
Danny nodded. He wasn’t wrong in his assessment.
The doctor approached him to explore his pupils and the temperature. Then he
smiled. “Probably, you are a bit confused, you’ll be here for a couple of hours, but
you’re doing well. In the morning, if your recovery continues like this, you will be
able to go home. Your temperature is all right now so there isn’t any reason to stay
here. I guess you would like to go home.”
“What... what happened?” Danny asked.
“You were admitted to the hospital as a result of hypothermia symptoms, some
contusions and opened wounds on your wrists.”
“How long... what time is it?”
The doctor smiled. “Take it easy, don’t worry about anything but rest. It’s five in
the morning, you’ve been here about seven hours, more or less.”
“Seven hours...” Danny muttered. Everything sounded so unreal. He closed his eyes
trying to understand the series of events that had happened over the last hours.
Everything had happened so quick, he was so convinced he would die in that dark
room that he found difficult to process any circumstances after that. However, he
was there and he would have to deal with it. It was like a movie, he wasn’t able to
feel any emotion. He only felt tired and sore, but nothing else. Probably, it would be
because of the medication. An intelligent decision would be to fall asleep.

Martin had arrived at hospital with Danny in the ambulance and waited for news
about his coworker. It took him two hours trying to understand what had
happened. It had been so fast, so intense. He wondered how Danny would get over
this and if he knew the reason for it. It was sure that, at least, he suspected, but not
getting any confirmation from his brother, Martin wasn’t sure. He didn’t know
what his captors could tell him and, if that man were his father, he would have to
deal not only with his own survival but the fact it was his father who was going to
kill him if they hadn’t arrived in time.
He was thinking about it when he saw Vivian and Sam walking towards him.
“Hi, did the doctors tell you anything?” Sam asked.
“No, not yet, but the doctors from the ambulance told me he will be fine in some
hours, when he recovers the temperature. He was... he was so cold.”
“Sure, it has been a miracle, as things happened,” Vivian said. “Jack told me that
probably Cullmann wants to talk to Danny, if he could tell him some information
about the mole they have in the DEA. They don’t have any other explanation as to
the drug dealers knew his agent’s identity and how he was related to Danny.”
“So it’s true,” Martin said.
“I’m afraid so,” Vivian said. “I don’t... I don’t know how Danny is going to deal with
this when he knows.”
“Maybe he already knows,” Sam said.
At that moment, a doctor left emergency area and approached them.
“Are you here for the FBI agent?” he asked.
“Yes, Danny Taylor. We’re his coworkers,” Martin said.
“Well, I’m Dr. Hammond. Your coworker is out of danger, he’s medicated to take his
temperature to the normal levels and he’s doing well. The hits he received didn’t
affect any vitals, he hasn’t internal bleeding, but he has deep cuts on his wrists. In
any case he will get better soon. He’s resting now and I don’t expect he will wake
up in the next few hours. But probably, he’ll be discharged tomorrow morning.
That’s all.”
“Could we see him?” Sam asked.
“At this moment he’s sleeping as I told you and under the effects of the medication.
He will be fine soon, I suggest you go home; he’ll be fine tomorrow morning and
you can talk to him them. He needs to rest,” the doctor said with a smile.
“Well, thanks so much doctor.”
Martin, Viv and Sam looked at the doctor going back to his work. At least, Danny
was doing well.
“I would like to see him,” Vivian muttered. She didn’t tell anything else but all of
them had in mind the same doubt, the same concern. How Danny would get over
this?
“I’m going to change clothes and rest for a while,” Martin said. “I’ll go to Danny’s
home to get some clothes to bring him tomorrow. He’ll need them for getting out of
here.”
“Yes, we can’t do anything here if we can’t see him. So we better go home and sleep
to be ready for ... tomorrow. It will be a long day,” Sam said.
“Someone should call Elena...” Martin started.
“I’ll do it,” Vivian said. “In the morning, I don’t want her to get scared if I call her
now.”

Jack and Robert Cullmann stayed at the scene for two hours as CSI agents did their
work, and DEA agents took evidence of their investigation.
“Bob,” one of Cullmann’s agent called.
“What happen, Lindsay?”
“We’ve found some of these papers... it looks like instructions for the delivery,” she
said handing him four similar papers.
“Well...” – Cullman said thoughtful. “This is the name of the boat… but this isn’t the
information Santos told us.”
“If they had suspicions about him, maybe they had another plan, in case they were
right,” Malone said.
“That’s probably true,” Cullmann said. “In any case, at this time they’ll know what’s
happening here and we won’t catch any of them. At least we’ll confiscate the drugs
and we’ll do some detention but... the big shot has escaped, for sure. These guys...
these guys were simple pieces of a big puzzle... they weren’t the leaders.”
Cullmann looked at the five black bags lined on the floor contemptuously. He
frowned and, with visible emotional, headed for one of the coroners... “I don’t... I
don’t want the corpse of my agent with those miserable... I don’t want him beside
them, please.”
Jack stared at him. “You really appreciated him.”
“He’s one of my best agents,” Cullman didn’t want to talk about him in the past
tense. “He put his life at the service of justice, I can’t expect more dedication... if he
was one of them in the past, if he was a bad father or bad husband in the past... I
think he deeply regretted it. I didn’t know he had a family, as I told you before, but
now I know that his way of acting was for him a sort of redemption. Marcos Santos
has helped us to discover a lot of those drug dealers and spoil important smuggling
ops for 20 years.”
“Agent Marcos Santos, drug dealer Quirós and whoever knows how many other
names he has used during this time. His own name barely has been known except
for his family. Mario Alvarez was only known by his sons, wasn’t it?” Jack said.
“Probably... probably,” Cullmann said shaking his head.
“I’m sorry for what has happened,” Jack said. “I’m really sorry the op had been
aborted and especially the death of your agent.”
“I’m sorry as well... I’m sorry for arguing with you about the worth of your agent’s
life. It’s... it’s clear none of them, nobody working for justice, trying to protect our
families, our country from miserable people like this, finding missing people like
you do... nobody deserves being killed like this. It’s not fair, this shouldn’t have
happened ever... and I’m afraid it’s our fault. Agent Malone, I have to find that mole,
I have to find the mole in my office, the one responsible of all of this,” Cullman said.
Jack nodded.
“I need... I need to talk to your agent... to agent Taylor, when he is recovered. I want
to know what he heard during his captivity, as we can’t ask these guys. Maybe...
maybe he heard names, something, some conversation that could help us...”
“Sure, I’ll take care of it, but think it’s a delicate situation for him, personally and
professionally,” Jack said.
“Of course, of course,” Cullmann muttered, lost in his thoughts.

Chapter 5
St. Mary’s hospital. 07.30 am
When he woke up again, the situation had changed radically. He didn’t feel
confused anymore, he had been able to assimilate the series of events of the last
hours. A new and strange feeling took possession of him, a strong will to live.
His feelings for his father had changed as well. Fighting with the confusion about
what he believed had happened a long time ago and the reality, Danny clung tightly
to the feeling, being conscious that, in spite of being deceptive, at that moment it
was the only thing saving him from the destructive truth that it was his father the
one ready to kill him.
At last instance, when he thought that he was going to die, he saw compassion in
his father’s eyes, for the first and last time in his life, trying to protect him from
what inevitably was going to happen. He remembered his words, his look, his
gesture, the attempt to make him go unconscious with that pill, falling down over
him and protecting him from the shooting that surely had ended his life and would
have ended Danny’s life. He clung to it and he refused any other explanation. His
father hadn’t any other option, it was one life for another one, one life for a more
important cause. The necessary loss... Danny thought about the conversation he
had had with Jack. Surely the warning his boss had given him was right, he
shouldn’t get used to it. Killing a person caused the impossibility of rectification,
caused the suffering of innocent people, always.
Sitting down on the bed, his mind completely clear, Danny thought about this new
reality, making an evaluation and giving thanks for being alive. He kept this new
feeling for his father and refused completely to think about anything else that
could have happened but didn’t, and didn’t allow himself any thought about what
his father could or not think about him. It was good for him this thought, it was
good for dealing with his situation, he didn’t know if it was true or not, he would
never know, he couldn’t ask him. He was dead so it didn’t hurt anybody if he
thought like that and it was helpful to him.
Some soft knocks on the door as it was opened, stopped his thoughts.

Martin had barely slept a couple of hours. He had left the hospital to go to Danny’s
apartment to take some clothes for him, and go back home.
He opened the door of the tiny apartment where his coworker lived, for the second
time in 24 hours, even though this time he had the keys and his gun wasn’t
necessary. The quiet and warm apartment gave him a sad welcome. Not thinking
about it, he entered the bedroom, opened the closet and took jeans, a t-shirt and a
jacket. He also took some underwear and shoes. He found a bag and put the clothes
into it. Then he left the room. But once he was in the living room, he didn’t know
why, he was unable to leave.
He sat down on the couch and switched on the tv. A news clip talked about what
happened... he wondered if Elena would know about it. He checked the voice mail
but there were no messages. It was two in the morning but Martin couldn’t sleep.
He saw the black bags with the corpses of the drug dealers, Jack, Cullmann, a dozen
of SWAT agents, DEA agents, FBI agents. Looking the bags, Martin pictured the
feeling of seeing his coworker in one of those bags. He couldn’t stop thinking about
it, in spite of his coworker was fine... at least physically... his mind flew to a time a
long time ago, once more to that night... remembering his returning at work, the
evasive reaction of his coworker over the time he spent in the hospital... What
would have Danny thought then? Danny was fine, but he kept picturing things that
hadn’t happened. He forced himself to repeat that Danny was fine and he wasn’t
any of those corpses waiting to be taken to the morgue.
He looked around the living room, just with the essentials but, however, a warm
place. A non permanent home, it was what Danny had known for years, he never
stayed for a long time at any place... it was what he told him one day, after a bad
case. However, he lived for 8 years at that apartment. Things had changed for him.
Feeling like an invader of his friend’s privacy, but curious at the same time, he
stood up and approached the library where he could see Danny’s books, most of
them about law, other books he recognized from Quantico that he had at home, as
well. He felt curiosity about some notebooks and taking one of them, opened it to
find what he guessed it was lyrics and scores with notes on the side... he didn’t
know that Danny liked music. Then he noticed the guitar leaning on the side of the
library. He took off the protective cover. It was a beautiful Martin&Co, with a little
woodcut on the rear side. “For Danny, the boy from the jetty, scanning the horizon in
search of opportunities.” In a side pocket of the cover Martin found an envelope. It
was opened and he pulled out a picture and a handwritten letter. On the picture,
took at dusk, he could see a very thin kid, about 14 years old, very tanned, his hair
untamed and burnt by the effect of the sun, dressed only in shorts, sitting down in
a jetty, his feet dangling over the sea. His sight was lost on the horizon as he held a
big baguette in his hands.
Martin stared at that picture for a while. He had seen it before... yes, it had been
some months ago... it was the big poster unfolded over the building where it was a
retrospective exhibition from a very well known photographer, he couldn’t
remember her name... “The boys from the jetty,” he remembered the name of the
exhibition.
He took the letter and started reading it, forgetting he was in Danny’s home, it was
‘his’ letter and surely, he wasn’t allowed to read it.
Dear Daniel, meeting you in New York such long time later has been one of my best
and most gratifying surprises of my life. It couldn’t be any other way. I’ve been here to
show some pictures where you were my absolute inspiration. I’m so happy seeing that
things are going well for you, seeing you could make your dreams come to reality and
build a future for you, that I couldn’t help but send you this gift as gratitude for what
you meant at that moment for me, for what you’re meaning right now when I’m
showing those photographs I took of all of you, for a whole week. It’s a retrospective
that you had to be part of... you’re my great front cover, my letter of introduction.
That day was magic... the same as when you approached me on my back two weeks
ago and put your hand over my shoulder. I turned to you as you smiled... with those
deep brown eyes I’ve never forgotten. “Hey,” you said... just like then. “Don’t you think
I should have some compensation for this?” you asked pointing the big poster
covering the entrance with your image. We talked for about 20 minutes; you had to
leave for work. What a shame! It was a short time, but I’m afraid all the time in the
world wouldn’t have enough for us.
Do you remember the day we met? I’m sure you do, you were sitting down on the
jetty, just like on the picture. I approached you and left my things for fishing beside
you. I asked you to take care of it as I was going to park my car. I lied to you... I had
seen you and I wanted to take pictures of you... I went to the other side and waited for
the moment with my camera ready to shoot. After 30 minutes, you opened the little
fridge I had left beside you and took out that bread, then you opened it with your
knife and then took out the prawns and put between the two slices of the bread.
Then... you ate my fishing food! I won’t forgive you for breaking my fishing rod...
When I came back one hour later, you were so calm, so distracted, beating with two
parts of my fishing rod the fridge... as it was a drums. You blushed when you didn’t
know how to explain what you’d done. Apology... apology, it had been two days since
ate anything and I knew that... but I didn’t expect you breaking my fishing rod. ‘Some
day I’ll be a rock star’ you told me with a overwhelming conviction. ‘My friends and
me will get a band and leave this place forever’. ‘And will you play drums, kid?’ I
asked you looking angry and pointing at the rest of my fishing rod in your hands. You
blushed again and you didn’t know what to say. ‘I’m sorry, I thought you wouldn’t
come back,’ you said finally.
For the next week I took about 500 photos at that jetty... I took photos of all of you,
the boys from the jetty. I still remember your names, Rob, Paul, Enrique, Brian, you.
This guitar you have in your hands belonged to a friend of mine. He had a band and
they met from time to time to play rock in a pub I used to go to. One day I showed him
the photos and told him your story, your stories, you loved to tell stories, remember?
At the end you always asked me if I liked them. ‘It’s a lie’- you told me laughing but I
knew it wasn’t. I knew that some of those stories were part of your complicated life,
mixed with fantasies to make them more comfortable. When you left forever, I missed
you a lot, and I wondered if you had achieved your dream. I knew you wanted to play
drums but I know you liked to play guitar and Paul and you used to stay until
sundown at that jetty with your old guitars, probably stolen from someone else,
trying songs, dreaming about a better future. My friend listened to me telling him
those stories and gave me his guitar for you. It’s a pleasure to send it to you today,
even though I would like to give it to you personally, but my rheumatism won’t let me
go to New York at this moment. Well, nothing really bad. I’m very proud of you,
Daniel. You didn’t have anything except yourself and you built a life for you. I hope
this guitar helps you to make other dreams come real.
Love,
Susan.
When he finished the letter, Martin had tears on his eyes and a lump on his throat.
He took the photograph again looking for his coworker and he saw him clearly
with that baguette in his hands and smiled... he barely knew him!
He left the letter and lay on the couch. Half an hour later he was deeply asleep.

When Martin was able to control his nerves and carefully opened the door he was
surprised to see Danny sitting up on the bed looking at him with a smile on his
face.
“Hey, how you doing?” Martin asked. “I’ve brought some clothes for you. The
doctor told us you would be discharged this morning and I noticed the clothes you
had yesterday are crap.”
“Thanks, what have you brought?” Danny said pointing the bag.
Martin pulled out the clothes and left them on the bed. “How do you feel?” he
asked.
“I’m fine, well I won’t be able to run for a while, but I’m fine. It hurts a bit,” Danny
grimaced.
“Well, eh...” Martin didn’t know what to say. Danny was so calm that he was
confused.
The doctor came to save the situation just at that moment, coming in the room.
Martin stepped out and waited for the doctor to take care of his coworker.
“Well, agent Taylor, I guess you won’t want to have a hospital breakfast, right?” he
asked, as removed the bandages from Danny’s wrists.
“No, I’m starved but I’m afraid the hospital menu isn’t so generous with my
stomach,” Danny smiled and then he grimaced in pain feeling the burning from the
liquid over the wound on his wrists.
“I know, it burns but this will stop the infection from the wound. I’ll get a
prescription for you, you should put this liquid on your wrists three times every
day for three or four days, until the wound is completely closed. Otherwise, you
can do what you want,” the doctor said as he covered the wound.
“Well, thanks,” Danny said. “I don’t think I can do a lot of things, I’m shattered.”
“Okay, you can leave when you want, but don’t forget to use the medication I’ve
prescribed,” the doctor said, handing him the prescription.
The doctor left the room and Martin came in again. Danny was already half
dressed.
“Hey Fitzy, have you had breakfast yet?” he asked.
Martin laughed. He had never been happier to hear that nickname. “Yes, well,
actually not, I’ve just drunk a coffee before coming here, nothing else.”
“Good, I know a place where you can find the best breakfast in New York. You’ll
like it,” Danny said, grabbing the bag. “Are you coming with me or are you going to
stay here?”
“No, no...it’s that...” Martin was still surprised because of his coworker’s attitude.
All of them were worried about his reaction but Danny looked as nothing had
happened. He didn’t know if it was good or not. “Don’t you want to go home?”
“I’m fine, Martin... and I’m starved. I don’t want to have breakfast alone. So, are you
coming or not?”
“I’ll go with you... sure,” Martin said still confused. A thought came to his mind...
‘What if he doesn’t know?’
Half an hour later, they were sat down in front of their respective breakfasts, in a
warm café Danny used to go from time to time.”
“Are you all right, Danny?” Martin noticing his coworker started to eat hungrily.
“Martin... I told you, I’m fine... I’m alive, I think that means a lot after what could
have happened...”
“I know, I know, it’s that...”
“I don’t want to think about it, right? This is what we’ve got and that’s all. We’re
here having breakfast and I don’t want to think about anything else... please.”
“Sure, right. Eh, well, it’s that Jack and a DEA agent working with us want to talk to
you... I don’t know if you want to do it today or...”
Danny frowned. “No... I don’t want to talk about it, Martin, but if I have to do, it
should be better do it today. I want to forget this.”
“Yes... eh... I had to tell you,” Martin said. “Danny, I’ve been thinking all the night
and I barely got any sleep. I think we’ve never talked about this and maybe this is a
good moment to talk.”
Danny looked at him with a questioning look. His calm expression, made Martin
feel uncomfortable.
“The day of the ambush... when we took Adisa Teno,” Martin started, “what
happened... how... how are you doing with it?”
Danny frowned. He didn’t want to talk about it, he didn’t want to talk about
anything, he didn’t want to think about anything, but noticing his anxious and
concerned coworker, he realized Martin needed desperately to talk and he made
an effort to help him.
“It comes and goes... Martin. It’s that... I have some doubts about what happened
and...”
“Have you changed the result any time?”
“What? No... no, it’s just a flash coming and going, some doubts...”
“What doubts?” Martin asked.
Danny didn’t want, he really didn’t want to talk about that. “Martin, could we talk
about this another time?”
“No!” Martin screamed.
It was a desperate scream he couldn’t keep back, from the depths of his soul, after
so long time in silence.
“Danny, I’ve spent all night thinking about what happened last night... yesterday.
You... you’re here so calm and I... I’m destroyed... I was sure you wouldn’t survive
that and then... then I can’t stop thinking about that day, about what you thought...
because, fortunately, you were lucky last night but in spite of it I... I’m still outside
the building waiting the signal to enter not knowing if I’ll find you alive or not,
Danny... I’m... I’m blocked at that point, I can’t get past it.”
“Martin I... it’s...it’s okay. I’ll tell you what you want to know,” Danny said.
He remained quiet for a while looking for the right words he couldn’t find to
explain. Finally, he sighed and stared at Martin.
“I still look at you and see you there on the ground, covered in blood. In my
dreams, some times you die there... the ambulance never came and I can’t do
anything else. Other times, you talk to me, you look at me with a reproachful
expression because nothing happened to me. In the real world, I look at you every
day and I wonder if it was my fault, what happened. I check the situation over and
over, I see the shooting, the car in the middle of us, you being in the car and I think
I couldn’t... I couldn’t protect you, maybe it was my fault you got shot. That’s one of
the reasons I couldn’t go to the hospital... I didn’t want you to die when I was
there... and the fact I have a very bad memory about hospitals.”
Danny bit his lip and looked down. “I haven’t get past it... either,” he muttered.
“Did you talk to some counselor, then?” Martin asked.
“No, we had work to do and it was just Sam, Jack and me, Martin. Vivian was at
hospital as you were. I didn’t talk to anybody else, I just tried to make sure my
work wasn’t affected by it,” Danny said.
“But it’s affected...”
“Sometimes, Jack told me that I think I’m invincible. It’s not true, even though right
now I don’t know what to think,” Danny smiled and Martin smiled back. That
gesture freed the tension between them. “I think it has affected my work and my
way of reacting to risky situations. Don’t tell but, since that night, I’m scared, I don’t
feel safe... it’s just the opposite of what Jack thinks... you see,” Danny said and then
he asked. “How are you doing? And I don’t mean about the painkillers, that’s
another matter.”
“Yes, that’s another matter... I’m doing well, by the way. Your help was important
to keep me like that, you know it. I’m doing... I’m afraid I’m doing better than you.
Maybe it’s because I don’t see the images you saw, but I remember with frustration
my recovery, trying to do things as I always did but I couldn’t do them. It was bad,
the compassion and the well-meaning from the others, for a while... your absence
yet you’re still being there worried me the most because you had been with me and
you broke contact until I came back to the office and then you were so distant... I
felt uncomfortable and guilty for not protecting myself, for not preventing that
situation. I had to know that something was happening when that van didn’t start
when the traffic light turned green. Danny, if you think you made mistakes, I... I did
too. But you know what? Both of us can talk about it and learn from it... I have even
though I have to recognize that what happened last night brought the memories of
that night and I was waiting to tell you about it, because I didn’t even guess what
you thought that day until now.”
“I didn’t learn anything, I’m afraid,” Danny said, “As I told you, I don’t feel safe, I
react wrong. Do you remember when you got Sophie out of that house and Elena
stayed with Carlos?” Martin nodded, “I wanted to kill him... it was the reason I
stayed there, I wanted to kill him, to end that problem, I was scared for Elena, I was
scared for what would happen in the future and I didn’t see another way. If Jack
hadn’t watched me and told me constantly don’t shoot, I would have. The worst of
it, is I had an argument with Jack about it and I was convinced of it... Martin, Carlos
Aguilar was my best friend, even though we had lost contact, he was my friend and
I... I wanted to kill him. Things like that happens to me now... I can’t control myself
well.”
Danny couldn’t believe he was talking about this after the night he had had. But
that was another matter... this was something he should have talked with Martin
about a long time ago and now that he had asked, Danny couldn’t help but speak.
“You’ve argued with Elena over that, haven’t you?” Martin asked.
“Yes... well, that was the beginning but there are other things,” Danny said. He
remained quiet for a while realizing he never even thought about calling to her to
tell her he was okay.
“She didn’t call, either,” Martin said, reading his silence.
“I guess... I guess that means something,” Danny said.
“Welcome to the club,” Martin said smiling.
Danny smirked. “Listen, let’s pay this and get out of here. Don’t feel offended, I’m
glad you brought me some clothes but I don’t want to go to the office dressed in
jeans.”
Martin laughed. “I don’t think Jack will care about it after the bad moment he spent
with you.”
“Hey, I have to keep my image, Martin. A very welcome shower, a perfect shave and
the right clothes and no woman will resist my charms,” Danny said standing up.
“Let’s go Fitzy, it’s late.”
Martin took Danny to his apartment and then he went back home to take a shower
and change clothes before going to the office.
Chapter 6
FBI offices. 11.30 am.
“Thanks so much for coming, Agent Taylor,” Robert Cullmann said, standing up and
handing his hand out to Danny, who had just joined the meeting.
Around the table, Jack Malone, Alexander Olczyk and other two men he didn’t
know to, greeted him with a smile, with the exception of Cullmann.
“My name is Robert Cullmann, I work with the DEA and I’m the one responsible for
the op you were unfortunately involved in. This is my coworker James Davenport,
from the OPR.”
“Hello,” Danny said, as both shook hands.
“Well, above all I want to thank you for agreeing to this meeting so fast. I’m aware
it’s not comfortable for you to remember the events from the last hours.”
“You’re welcome, don’t worry, I’m fine,” Danny said, slightly surprised for the
worried tone Cullmann used.
“I don’t know if you have been informed, but we suspect that someone from our
office is disclosing confidential information. It’s the only explanation for what
happened last night and I would like you to try and effort to remember all what
you heard during your captivity, names, actions, whatever it could help us.”
Danny frowned thoughtfully. It wasn’t easy to do what they were asking for.
“You have to understand, that person is probably who caused all of this, agent
Taylor.”
“Danny,” Jack interrupted, “We know that an agent from the DEA came to talk to
you and gave you a file. We know that agent was actually a drug dealer and he
surely was only confirming your identity.”
Danny looked at Jack. All the control he had managed to hold on to previously
started to break, but Jack’s conciliatory tone and the way he focused on his
narration, helped him to control his nerves.
“Well, eh... thanks Jack,” Danny said, slightly smiling at him. “A DEA agent indeed,
identified as Peter Gaynor came to talk to me with new and surprising information
about... my family. He brought with him a file and he insisted that I read it. The file
was about a DEA agent called Marcos Santos who works for undercover ops and he
told me that agent was... was my father. I didn’t believe him, I didn’t know any
Marcos Santos and that it was simply stupid... my father died a long time ago and I
was present when it happened, so it was impossible. However, I took that file, I
read it and at the end of the day I visited my brother and showed him the picture in
the file.”
“What did he tell you?”
“He didn’t know that guy. Then I thought that everything was a mistake, but when I
walked towards my apartment, once I left the car in the garage, someone hit me
and I lost consciousness.”
“What time was it?”
“About... about 8 or 9, more or less.”
“Well, continue, please.”
“When I came to, I was in a dark room. I was tied and I couldn’t move. When those
men came in, there were four, I recognized one of them as the agent that gave me
the file that afternoon, Gaynor. He looked to be the leader; he was the one ordering
the others around. He told me that it had nothing to do with me and then kicked
me for a while. Then, they left me.”
“Could you recognize those men?”
“It was dark but I think so,” Danny said, not understanding the question. Weren’t
they all dead?
“Did you hear any conversation between them, names, something about you, about
the op?”
“I heard some things, they waited for a guy called Quirós, they wanted to see his
reaction to me. I thought it was what Gaynor had told me that afternoon and I
concluded that Quirós was agent...Santos, right? I’m sorry it’s that I’m a bit
confused with the names... I’m not... I don’t remember all the details,” Danny said.
“Don’t worry, you’re doing well and we have time. If you want to take a rest, just
tell us,” Cullmann said.
“I’m fine... names... I don’t know, I heard a Micky, a Tony... nothing more clearly. I
don’t know if it helps. I heard them talking about a delivery that night at the Port
and as Gaynor gave them other instructions in case they confirmed their
suspicions about Quirós. Then... then Quirós arrived, Gaynor told him they had
caught a fed and he got angry... Gaynor told him what he had to do and he
protested... Later, I think it was Quirós, because I hadn’t seen him before, came to
see me. He was the guy in the picture I had seen in the file, so I knew what he was
going to do, but at that moment his attitude towards me was strange. He told me,
he explained to me what was going to happen and he told me that he was sorry for
it...”
Danny stopped and remained silent, trying to calm down as he remembered that
conversation he barely had heard. In the room everyone was silent, all of them
waiting for his words. Jack closed his eyes as he listened to this last part, thinking
about what Danny could have felt then. Cullmann as well, not only for the young
agent in front of him, but for what his coworker was forced to do.
Then, Danny went on with his narration.
“Later, he came back. This time he had a gun and the other men stopped to look
from the door. He held me and stood me up on my knees. Then, he pointed the gun
to my head. I... I closed my eyes and then... then I heard the shooting, yelling, Quirós
fell down over me... I didn’t know what was happening, if they had shot him or it
was something else. The rest is very confused for me... I don’t remember much of
what happened next.”
“Don’t care Danny, we know what happened then,” Jack said, trying to reassure his
agent with his words, “You’ve done well.”
“Agent Taylor, one more thing,” agent Davenport said, putting in front of him an
array of pictures. “Could you tell me who you recognize in these pictures?”
Danny looked at the twelve pictures on the table. Olczyk, who had remained silent
all the time, moved uncomfortably in his chair. Cullmann frowned at the lack of tact
of his coworker and Jack kept an eye close on Danny. However, Danny observed
carefully every picture and then he pointed one of them. “This is Gaynor... or
whatever was his name. This, this and this one,” he said picking three pictures
more, “they are the men with him from the beginning.” Then he picked up other
picture more. “And this is Quirós.” He looked the rest of pictures but he didn’t
recognize anyone else. “That’s all, I don’t know the others.”
Davenport removed the pictures, but he left Quirós’s picture on the table. “Agent
Taylor, do you know who this man is actually?”
Jack ran a hand over his hair and face nervously and looked at Cullmann, who
looked at him as if apologising. Olczyk leant his elbows on the table and looked
hard at Davenport. ‘Why were the people from OPR so cold?’
Danny took the picture and after a short moment handed it to Davenport. “I guess
he’s the undercover DEA agent, agent Marcos Santos... he looks the same as the
man from the file,” he said.
“Do you know why they took you?”
“Yes, they thought I was his son and they wanted him to kill me... well, they want to
know if he hesitated so he would be discovered. It was what Gaynor told me, what I
heard and it was what happened.”
None of the people in the room knew what to say, then. Jack was afraid of
Davenport explaining to Danny that they were right but Danny had been so clear,
he had talked so convincingly that Davenport couldn’t reject him. In any case,
Taylor couldn’t give them any information about the person informing the drug
dealers and who had discovered Santos.
Danny felt the silence of the others and Davenport’s eyes on him, so he told them a
story, like the ones he used to tell during his youth, half a true, half a lie. He didn’t
want to be involved in that, he wanted them to leave him alone, so he told them
what he had believed for all those years.
“My... my father,... well, my parents died a long time ago, 23 years ago, in a car
accident. I was with them and I spent five hours waiting for help to take me out of
the car. I saw them as they were dying, my father died that day, as my mum did, on
the road... and he isn’t this man, agent Davenport.”
“Well, agent Taylor, it’s enough for now,” Cullmann said cutting the interview. “I’m
grateful for you coming and telling us your version about the events of the last
night, so clearly and quickly. I’m glad you didn’t get seriously injured last night.
Thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome,” Danny said.
“Agent Taylor, you can leave if you want. Thanks for the information,” Davenport
said.
Jack stood up immediately and left the room with Danny.
“Are you okay?” he asked as soon as they left the room.
“Yes, I’m fine, just tired but that’s all,” Danny replied with a smile.
“I didn’t expect you to come so soon. When Martin called me I was surprised. I
didn’t think you were ready for this...”
“No... I’m not ready for this, Jack, but I had to do it sooner or later and it’s better
now. I want to think about other things, not about this,” Danny said.
“Okay, right. Listen, you don’t have to stay here, go home and rest, I’m sure you
need it and it will be good for you.”
“Don’t worry, Jack. I’m fine.”
“Okay,” Jack said. He tapped gently his back. “I have to go back there. I’ll see you
later.”
“Sure.”
Jack went back to the room, as Danny remained alone outside the room. He turned
and headed towards the elevators at the end of the corridor. However, when he
arrived there, he continued, and sat down on a chair in the corridor. He was alone.
The tension and tiredness were catching up him and all the repressed emotions
started to take him. He leant his elbows on his knees and covered his face with his
now sweating and trembling hands, trying to keep himself under control. He closed
his eyes and took deep breaths. He knew what he had done, he had lied, he wanted
to forget everything, he couldn’t confront the truth, what he had thought before in
the hospital didn’t help now and turned against him. The only thing he wished was
to keep things like two days ago... as if everything was a mistake, as if that guy
wasn’t his father... but he was. He was and he had to convince himself about a lie to
go on ahead, ignoring, forgetting, changing the reality of the facts, changing the fact
that that man was his father, the one who was going to kill him without
compassion... the one who would have done it if his coworkers hadn’t had arrived
in time... his coworkers, his friends, his family... the people who really cared.
He felt a presence beside him and opened his eyes.

Martin arrived at the office after going home to take a shower. He found Vivian and
Sam at the office and told them how he had seen Danny that morning, not
mentioning the conversation in the café as they ate breakfast.
Then, he headed for Jack’s office, to tell him that Danny would go to talk to the DEA
agents.
Fifteen minutes later, Jack left his office to go to that complicated meeting.
It had been more than an hour and they still didn’t know anything. Martin was
nervous, his coworker’s reaction still looked strange to him, forced and he didn’t
know what he would find at that meeting, he didn’t know if Danny could do what
was asked of him.
“I’m going to go up... I’ll wait outside. I can’t stay here doing nothing but wait,” he
said.
Sam rested a hand on his shoulder. “Take it easy, Martin, he’ll do okay. Then he’ll
have our support to help him.”
“No... Sam, he’s... you can’t imagine how he is. It’s confused, it looks like nothing
happened nothing to him,” Martin said.
“Maybe he isn’t aware of what happened to him... it happens sometimes, he needs
time to realize what happened, Martin,” Vivian said, “Maybe coming here so soon,
the fact he wants to talk now is good for him... it will be over.”
“Yes, maybe, but I’m going to go up,” Martin said.
His coworkers watched him as he walked to the stairs. He needed to free up some
adrenalin so he walked up the three floors between his office and the room where
the meeting was taking place. Right as he turned the last part of the stairs, he saw
him. Alone. Sitting down on a chair in the corridor, his elbows on his knees, his
hands on his face. He froze. He didn’t know if Danny had left the meeting or if he
was waiting to be called. No, it had to be the first. He approached the chair and sat
down beside him.
Danny felt his presence, opened his eyes and looked at him. Martin read the
anguish in his look and he knew Danny had been left without any emotional
resources.
“Danny,” he said resting a hand on his shoulder.
The gesture must have made him react because almost immediately, Danny looked
down and started to sob quietly. Martin felt overwhelmed by the situation. He
never had been in a situation like that and he didn’t know how to act. However, he
let Danny rest his head on his shoulder and went on sobbing, letting all the pent-up
tension flew freely.
“Danny,” Martin muttered. “Danny, take it easy, calm down, it’s okay, it’s over... it’s
okay... calm down, calm down,” he said as he rubbed his back trying to comfort
him, and feeling Danny relax after a bit.
A moment later, Danny looked calmer and pulled away from him. “I’m sorry,” he
whispered ashamed.
“It’s nothing, Danny, take it easy. You have, you have to let that tension out, don’t
keep it inside you.”
“I’ve lied to them.”
“What?” Martin asked.
“I’ve told them I didn’t know who he was...I’ve told them I didn’t know that man
was...” Danny didn’t find the words to go on but for Martin was enough.
“Danny, it isn’t easy... you’ve spent all your life believing he was dead and this
situation is hard... They will understand... don’t worry, you’ll get over, we’ll help
you.”
“I thought, for a moment I thought I could confront it, but now...”
“Come on Danny, it’s still soon, I’m sure you did okay, it’s difficult doing what you
did... I guess, I know they asked you a lot of things, things difficult to tell... you did
okay, don’t worry.”
“I know... I’ve told them what they want to know, what I could tell them... except
that.”
“I don’t think it’s necessary for their investigation, Danny. Listen, those agents are
going to leave the room anytime. Let’s go down to drink something with Viv and
Sam. They,” Martin didn’t know if he should tell him or not but he didn’t find other
words, “They are worried about you, they didn’t see you from last night and even
though I told them you were fine, they want to see it for themselves. I think they
deserve that, right?”
“Sure, let’s go down,” Danny slightly smiled.
Definitely they were his family. The best family he could get.
END.