Title: Break the Cycle
Disclaimer: Story based on Without a Trace characters. I own nothing
Thanks to fans1024 for encouraging me to post it!
Thanks to AndrayaTheLat and Ukeleleboy for translations into Spanish.
Break the Cycle
Chapter 1: The Past Catches Up
Danny Taylor walks quickly down the busy snow covered street; he hugs his coat tightly across his chest to keep out the bitter cold of the evening.
He hated days like these, after forty-eight hours of searching for a teenaged girl her body turned up in an alley outside her parents house. The young F.B.I agent has seen many cases end like this but it never got any easier, and he doubted it ever would.
A few minutes later Danny finds himself in his only slightly warmer apartment. Turning on a heater, he makes his way over to the freezer, pulls out a meal for one and stuffs it into the well-used microwave.
He sits himself in front of the T.V, flicking pointlessly through the many channels trying to find a descent show.
About an hour later Danny finally gives in and heads off to a well-deserved rest. But before in can reach the comfort of his awaiting bed, the annoying 'brnng, brnng' of his cell phone echoes through the room.
"Danny?" a small female voice questions.
"Yeah," the voice sounded oddly familiar, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Who's this?"
"You don't need to know that," the voice spoke with a sudden burst of confidence.
"Well if you want me to listen I think you're going to have to tell me."
"Fine, we'll just say I'm a friend of your sister's."
A deep sigh escapes Danny's lips, and with the sarcastic thought of 'oh great' running through his mind, he replies; "Really."
"Yeah, and on behalf of her I'm calling to tell you we're moving on, you have three days," she now sounds cold, completely heartless.
He can feel a lump growing in his throat, but shallows it back and continues, "You are, are you, well good luck with that, bye now…"
"Danny! You. Have. Three. Days. You know the drill." And with that she hangs up.
It has been two days since Danny received the phone call and he was now becoming quite nervous.
'You know the drill,' that's what she had said, and yes he did know the drill, all too well and it was starting to show. The slightest noise or sudden appearance of someone in front of him would always make him jump with fright; proving to be a real nuisance, especially when carrying boiling hot coffee.
But this morning starts like any other; Danny gets up early, has a warm relaxing shower, and grabs some quick breakfast before heading off to work.
He finally has his car back from the mechanic and was looking forward to a peaceful drive instead of the usual noisy subway. He pulls up to the semi-deserted car park. While making his way over to the lift his mind wonders to the never-ending paper work piled his desk; his thoughts can't help but turn sour.
"BOOM!" a sudden gunshot echoes though the car park, causing Danny to instantly duck for cover, drawing his own gun as he goes.
Grapping his cell phone the young agent tries to call for backup. He keeps his eyes peeled, ready and alert, waiting for the next shot to fire.
"BANG!" the next shot rings out, closer this time. Glancing around Danny still can't see the shooter.
"Damn it!" He mutters under his breath He knows who they are and he knows what they want.
"Danny?" The sound of someone calling his name brings him out of his thoughts. "Danny?" the worried voice tries again. It was Jack, the call from his cell had gone though, he'd forgotten about it after the second blast.
"Beep," the lift greets, opening up its very welcomed doors. Danny's barely few feet away, I can make it.
Ignoring the phone he takes several deep breaths to calm his racing heart, and waits for any signs of oncoming activity, nothing.
Without a second thought the agent sprints to the lift doors hoping beyond hope he'll make it.
"BANG!" He hears it, and not even a second later he feels it. Hot pain tears though his arm, he grimaces in agony but continues going. A little while later he's in the lift, whacking the button to close the doors.
A sigh of relief escapes his lips, he reaches out to push the button of his department, the sudden pain working as a reminder. "Ahhh," he groans, finally he manages a glance down at his wound. To his horror he discovers he wasn't merely grazed by a bullet as he originally thought, he'd been hit by some sort of traq-dart.
Chapter 2: Hidden Secrets
Jack Malone speed though the busy
"Come on, pick up, pick up, don't do this to me." He sighs in frustration, as once again he's meet only by the voice message. "Damn it Danny, where the hell are you!"
Just a few minutes before Jack had received a very unnerving call from one of his agents, his cell had rang and he'd answered it like he normally would, but what he was meet with on the other line was anything but normal. He could still hear it echoing though his ears, the fire of a gunshot that has possibly taken the life of one of his team. The fear that grasped his heart in that second would never release it until he saw with his own two eyes that Danny Taylor was alive and well.
"Have you seen Danny?" Somehow Jack had made the distance from his house to the office in record time, without even the slightest ding to his car. But to his dismay Martin was the only member currently occupying the office.
Worry arched across the younger agents features as he took in his bosses fluster appearance, "no he's not in yet, why what's going on?"
Jack eyes closed, as he tried to shut reality out. "I don't know. I have to make some calls." Leaving a confused Martin in his wake, he retreats into his office.
Danny felt sick. Actually he felt worse than sick, he couldn't think of a big enough word to even begin to describe how bad he really felt. Leaning over the freshly cleaned sink, the scent of lavender invades his nose, quickly adding to the growing headache. He just couldn't understand why they'd taken this long to contact him, why now, after all those years. A moment of rage rushes though and he suddenly gets the argue to punch his hand into the mirror, it wasn't fair, he'd payed for all this and he was finally free, but now they went and took it all away. Why would they possibly need him there, he could never do anything right.
But trying to grab him in the F.B.I car park really wasn't the smartest idea; even if they'd gotten away with it the security cameras would've caught everything. What were they playing at?
Sliding down against the wall Danny realises how tried his body has begun to feel. With all these thoughts running around in his head sleep is definitely a relaxing option. Forgetting all about the dangers of the dart he rests his head against the cool tile and falls into a nightmare plagued slumber.
Martin Fitzgerald didn't think time could move any slower. It had been nearly two hours since his boss had rushed in searching for Danny. Usually he wouldn't worry about such a simple event, but Jack had been so desperate and Danny's lack of appearance wasn't helping the matter.
"Where's Danny this morning?" Viv's question goes unanswered as Martin pretends not to hear her. He can't answer her, all he'd do is make her worry as well, no point of them both pacing themselves into the ground. Unfortunately she's persistent. "Martin?"
"I, I don't know, guess he's sick or something." He really hoped he was and all this was just some silly misunderstanding.
Viv nods her head in agreement, seemingly satisfied.
Deciding to grab a coffee Martin conveniently strolls past Jack's office on the way. He's still there, talking into the phone, the same dreaded expression over his face. Suddenly the coffee becomes undesirable, and all the agent wants is to see his friend walk safely through the door. Taking a deep breath he steeps in to hear the inevitable.
"Jack?" Martin cautiously questions. Lowering the phone, Jack replies in a gruff, stressed tone.
"What!" The younger agent is slightly taken aback by the blunt reply, but stands his ground.
"I, I was wondering if you'd heard from Danny?"
Jack sighs, "No, no I haven't.'' Not wanting to leave it at that Martin continues.
"Jack, just tell me what's going on."
"I really don't know, but it doesn't look good."
"What doesn't? Give me a straight answer!"
"Jack, there's a call for you on line two," Samantha unknowingly ends the tense situation. The order agent snatches up the phone and dismisses them both with the wave of his hand.
Samantha questions him as soon as they leave, "Wow, what did you do?"
"With Jack, he's kind of edgy."
"Yeah he is, umm sorry Sam, I have to… go." Excusing himself from the conversation, Martin finds himself trudging down the many office corridors.
Danny was obviously in some kind of trouble and taking into count Jacks anxious dilemma, it was bad, very bad.
Vivian Johnson knew something was definitely wrong amongst her colleagues. Jack hadn't come out of his office all morning and Martins nervous pacing was a dead give away that something is bothering him. He'd also answered her queries of Danny's absence a little too quickly: a sure sign of lying. Something was extremely wrong and she planned to find out what.
Spinning chaos; sounds echoing by, blaring though; light stretching out, never to be touched. Unknown voices whisper unheard words; he hears the murmur, yet somehow alls as silent as the grave. For the worlds alive in the mind of the unconscious, a terrifying place if you don't speak the language.
A lone figure emerges from the black, something unseen clutched tightly in their hand.
"What do you want? I said I wasn't going." Another figure steps out from the shadows, fear clearly radiating from their body.
The first glides confidently towards the second. "I don't care what you said, you know how it works."
"I'm not going," he begins to walk away, "goodbye."
"You don't get it do you? They'll find you and they'll kill you! I'm not going to let that happen." 'Click' the retreating figure catches the unmistakeable sound of a gun trigger. "I'm sorry it had to come to this."
"What? You'll kill me so they can't? Just get out of my face."
"I never said I'll kill you, there are other ways to use a weapon." Realisation darns over the unsuspecting figure.
"You won't do it."
"I'll give you one more chance, now come with me."
"No." The statement sounds more confident then it actually is.
"Right then, don't say I didn't warn you."
"Danny!" Martin had just entered the restroom and upon seeing his fallen friend he rushes to his aid.
"Danny? Hey man, wake up," Martins hands are shaking as he gently taps the other agents face, "Come on." As if on reflex Martins hand glides down to check for a pulse, he pauses inches from Danny's neck. He couldn't believe this was happening, for the first time he really understood what Danny had been going though… and it scared the living daylights out of him. He lowers his hand.
For a split second the world seemed to stop, waiting only for that fateful thump before life can continue once again. The anxious flame that had been burning within the agent was finally extinguished. "Thump, thump," there it was steady but strong. So why wasn't he waking?
Motivated by worry Martin grabs for his phone, whether to call Jack or the paramedics, he didn't know. Fortunately he wouldn't have to, for in the precise moment Danny begins to stir. Noticing the movement and the flicker of his eyelids, Martins focus is once again on his friend.
"Hey, that's it wake up." His eyes flutter open, searching the surrounds before finally landing on Martin.
"Huh, w, what… Martin?"
A smile of relief can't help but paste itself onto his lips. "You really had me worried there." Danny's disorientation fades as he's helped to his feet.
"Sorry bout that… guess I should get some early nights in huh."
"Yeah… guess so." Knowing Danny doesn't want to tell him what's going on, he decides not to push it, cause there's no way in hell he's going to be able to hide from Jack. "Jack's been looking for you." It takes a moment to register before he replies.
Jack feels like he's going insane, the idiots out there these days, can't even do a simple task such as calling! He'd been on the phone all morning; hospitals, morgues, anywhere he could think of and still nothing.
With each passing minute his spirit was crushed further and further down, but he wasn't about to give up.
A knock at the door disturbs him from his depressing thoughts. "Come in." He's not really I the mood to talk to anyone, but at least it's a distraction. Looking up he receives a vast shock, one of the last people he expected to see was standing in his door way. "Danny?"
The younger agent smiles sheepishly, trying to act normally. Martin steeps up behind him.
"Found him passed out in the restroom."
"I was asleep." Danny adds a little too quickly.
The other two agents share a look of 'yeah right' before Martin leaves them to it, giving Danny a sympathetic tap on the way.
"What happened," Jack turns on him as soon as they're alone.
"Nothing I just got up too early, that's all."
Jack presses on. " That's not what I meant. The phone call and the gun shots?"
"Gun shots? Jack I really have no idea what you're talking about." The older agent feels his temper start to slip away.
"Don't play dumb with me Danny, especially after these last few months. I've been calling hospitals and morgues all morning thinking you were dead! I'm not in the mood to be mucked around." Danny cringes in guilt but sticks with his story.
"I don't know! I was watching a movie earlier, could have been that."
"Why didn't you answer your cell?"
Danny reaches into his pocket to retrieve his phone, and comes out empty handed, a look of confusion across his face. "Sorry, I must have misplaced it." Jacks fixed glare of distrust forces him to try again. "Really Jack, I'm sorry, but I'm fine. Nothing happened."
Just then Martin re-enters, "we have new case."
Jack nods and reluctantly he drops the discussion and they all head out to the bullpen.
"Lawrence Coleman, forty-eight year old white male. Last seen exiting his office building around 2230, his wife called it in the following night. Sam and Viv, I want you to talk with his wife. Martin, you and I are going to his office, and Danny, I want you to check phone records and credit ratings."
Everyone moves out to their various jobs, leaving Danny sitting alone at his desk. This was obviously Jacks punishment for lying to him, he didn't think either Jack or Martin bought the sleeping story; it didn't even sound convincing to him. He knew he should have told Jack, perhaps he could of helped, but Danny just wasn't ready to open that part of his life up, the wounds were still too deep.
"OWW!" Burning agony gushes through his leg and races up the rest of his body; his feet give way beneath him causing him to meet the ground with a brutal impact.
The figure hastily tucks the weapon away before rushing to aid her victim.
"Come on, let me help you up." She grabs his arm in an attempt to direct him to his feet.
"Get away you stupid bitch!" he yanks his arm back.
"Don't you dare talk to me like that! You have no right…" he cuts her off.
"You shot me!"
"It was for your own good."
"My, my own good? You shot me!" She rolls her eyes and after deciding to ignore him, reaches into her jacket to acquire her cell phone.
"Hey, yeah its me… yeah, I got him, can you come and pick us up… same place, ok see you soon." Hanging up she turns to face her victim.
Between small gasps of breath he manages to speak, "I really hate you, you know that don't you?" An amused smile spreads over her lips.
"Yeah, but I don't hate you."
"I, I reckon that's the problem."
"I reckon you're right."
A few minutes later a van pulls up and two large men emerge, "This'll be a lot easier if you don't resist."
"Not, not a, a c-chance." He braces himself for the oncoming pain. The men grab him by the arms; he struggles against them, the wound restricting his movement. A powerful jab to the torso sends his already fuzzy vision into full on vertigo. His body surges with fresh pain and his world darkens. The last thing he sees is her pretty face before darkness claims him, "Erica."
Samantha Spade was already getting tried of this case. The wife was obviously hiding something, seems that lately it's been going around. Viv and her had parted ways as she went off to talk to a family friend, while Viv stayed behind with Mrs Coleman.
"Brnng, brnng," Picking up her cell she checks the caller I.D before answering.
"Hey Danny, any luck?"
"Yeah, a little over two grand was withdrawn from his account three days before he went missing."
"Any idea where it went?"
"Not yet, but I'm working on it."
An idea forms in Sam's mind, a way to get out of the dark and find what's going on amongst her peers.
"You want to come with me and interview a family friend, I've really had all I can take of these people."
"I'm taking the wife wasn't very helpful."
"How'd you guess?" She can practically see his grin though the phone.
"Ok, I'll see you soon." After giving him the address she hangs up.
Less than half an hour later both Sam and Danny exit the house, with no more information than when they entered.
"Well that was a waste of time," Danny nods in agreement, "you've been quite, what's up?"
"Nothing, I'm fine," he quickly dismisses the question, and chances the subject. "I should probably get back to the office and track down the missing money."
Realising she's not going to get an answer Sam drops the subject. "Yeah ok, I'm going back to check with Viv, I'll call you if we find anything."
The agents say there goodbyes and take there separate paths. Feeling disappointed that she still knows nothing more about the case, or about her colleagues, she climbs slowly into her car, sparing a quick glance back at Danny.
He's about to also climb into his car when a strange woman approaches him. He appears startled and begins to back away from her. Sam, feeling concerned, jumps out of her car advances towards the couple. Danny might as well be shaking; from the look on his face this lady is bad news.
"Danny are you ok?" He ignores her completely, not taking his eyes from the figure in front of him.
"Hello Danny." The women is so irritably calm, Sam almost gets the argue to wack her one, but she resists and turns back to her friend.
"Danny?" she tries once more, but again gets no answer, instead all she hears is Danny's slow, shaky whisper.
Chapter 3: Future Threatened
Jack was getting tired of this case, they'd just returned to the office after interviewing countless, useless co-workers of the missing person; Lawrence Coleman, and were yet to find a lead. The fact that his mind isn't really on the job can't be helping. He can't understand why the younger agent would just lie to his boss like that, there's obviously something big going on. He'll get to the bottom of it, if Danny's in trouble there's no way Jack's going to let him out of is sight.
"Where's Danny?" Martin's confused enquiry shoves Jack back to reality.
"What! He's suppose to be checking phone records!
"Doesn't look like he's here, his coats gone," Martin points out, "could try calling him."
The older agent shoots him an annoyed glare, but takes out his cell anyway.
"Brnng, brnng," Vivian breathed a sigh of relief, as her phones shrill cry cuts through the silence of the room. This case was becoming extremely tiring, and she welcomed the distraction of a real conversation.
"Hey Viv, do you have any idea where Danny is?" Jacks voice rings through, his tone full of worry.
"No I haven't, wasn't he on records?" Viv doesn't hide her concern. Something was definitely up with Danny; he'd been acting strangely for the last few days, and his regular disappearing acts weren't proving otherwise.
She could almost see Jacks face drop. After everything that had been happening to the team in the last few months, their boss had developed a strict, overprotective hold on his agents. While it was sometimes very frustrating, it's also understandable, and they've all come to except this behaviour, and acknowledge that Jack just won't stand to lose a member of his team. He feels responsible for them, and in Vivian's eyes it's a sign of a great leader.
"No, nothing. Mrs Coleman is extremely tight lipped, so if her husband is into anything illegal, she won't be the one to tell us."
"Right," Jack's clearly still distracted, but it isn't long before his usual work self takes control, "Ok, you and Sam head back…"
Viv cuts him off, "Sam's not here, she went to visit a Frank Simons, who Mrs Coleman described as an old family friend."
Danny really didn't like this case, somehow it'd lead him right to the one person he did not want to see: Erica.
She looked the same, untouched by the years of time, not affected by the horror her life holds.
"Danny, we need to talk." She takes a small step forward, causing him to take one back. She sighs; an annoyed glint passes through her eyes.
"Who is she?" Sam has attached herself firmly to his side, worry evident across her face.
"Quién es?" Erica questions, obviously trying to exclude Sam from the conversation.
Danny ignores both women, and instead stares straight into Erica emotionless eyes. Instantly, he's met with thousands of images, all of a past he'd rather forget, memories from a life he strived hard to be free of. She represents all of this, and her return will do nothing but bring them back, into a living reality. But he can't let that happen, he won't let it happen. With renewed confidents, he steps forward, swallows his fears, and confronts the key to his past.
"She's my colleague, what are you doing here?"
She gives Samantha a once over, checking her as a threat, finding none, her focus returns to Danny.
"Can we go somewhere private?"
"I'm not going anywhere with you," Danny can't help the hatred that fills his tone, "What do you want?"
"Ya sabes lo que quiero," he knew exactly what she wanted, but she wasn't going to get it. He was pretty sure she won't try anything with Sam there, so he decides to take the opportunity to get a few questions answered.
Her face turns white with shock and she reverts back to English, "No, when was this?"
"Por la mañana temprano." She mutters curses under her breathe before narrowing her eyes in Danny's direction.
"I told you this would happen, you don't listen to me." Danny says nothing, but holds her gaze. "Fine then," spinning around she begins to walk off, throwing one last comment over her shoulder, "Hasta luego," then she's gone. The agent releases his breath in a deep exhale, as though he'd been holding it through the entire conversation. As much as Danny prayed that would be the last he'd see of her, he deep down his problems were just beginning.
Sam noticed Danny immediately relax, as soon as the woman parted, only the lost look on his face remaining. She had no idea who this Erica person was, or her relationship with Danny, but whatever it was this confrontation had visibly shaken him, and Samantha needed to know why.
"What did she want?" Sam had heard Danny asking the same question earlier, but she was obviously not meant to hear the answer, which only intrigued her more.
"Nothing, it wasn't important," he mumbles, and turns to get back into the car, Sam not wanting him to leave, grabs his arm, and spins him round to face her.
"Danny, tell me," she orders, keeping her features stern praying it'll work and he'll crack.
He glances down, trying to avoid her stare. What could be so bad that he can't even tell her, they were friends, he can trust her.
Looking up, he pauses a few seconds before giving in, and speaking.
"She's… someone from my… past, who…well, we don't really get along…and umm," Sam listens intently as he tries to string his words together, "yeah, we haven't talked in years."
Seeming as though he'd finished his task, Samantha takes over. "You looked like you were scared of her," the comments left hanging while the other agent thinks up his reply, and she can't help but wonder if it'll be the truth.
"On one of our last meetings she…she soft of…shot me." Sam's stares in utter shock at Danny's reveal, but pushing all emotions, some emotions, very few emotions aside, she continues her queries.
"What! She sort of shot you? How can you be sort of shot?" Again Danny breaks eye contact, finding the ground a lot more interesting.
"Ok, so it wasn't sort of."
"What did you do?" She questions, finding it hard to imagine good-natured Danny, pissing someone off enough to want him dead.
"Nothing. Said I wouldn't move away with her."
"Move away? Where you two involved?"
"God no!" that was answered a little too fast, "We're, we were…friends."
The conversations beginning to become a little too hard to chew, but Sam questions on, "So your friend shot you because she was mad?"
Did you report her?"
"No…she just shot me in the leg, she wasn't trying to kill me."
"Oh, well, that's alright then, isn't it," her sarcastic tone earning her an annoyed glare from Danny. "You obviously didn't forgive her, so why not lock her away?"
"Sam," he gently rests his hand on her shoulder, "you ask too many questions," and with that he climbs into his car.
Realising she's losing her subject, she pleas with him to talk. "Danny, come on, you can't leave it at that! Now that I know there's some crazy lady stalking you, I'm not just going to sit and do nothing!" Suddenly his eyes darken, and his tone takes a deadly serious turn.
"Sam, you can't say anything to anyone."
"Sam," he interrupts, "not a word. I trusted you with this." She sighs in defeat; the guilt trip wins again.
"Good, I mean it happened years ago, I'm over it." Then why was he so upset? Just once, she wishes to be let out of the dark. Wait…
"How many years ago?"
"I don't know, four, five, why?"
"No reason," he gives her an odd look, but accepts her answer, and after some quick goodbyes, he slams his door, and drives back to the office, leaving Sam alone with her thoughts.
Five years…the date ponders though her head. Danny would've been working at the Missing Persons Unit by then, and there's no way Viv or Jack wouldn't have noticed him injured.
"Brnng, brnng," speaking of which.
Martin sat patiently at his desk, watching Jack with slight amusement, pace himself into the ground. To put it bluntly;this case sucked. Not only are they no closer to finding their vic, but now they've once again misplaced Danny, and the boss isn't happy.
"Sam!" You haven't seen Danny have you?" Jacks speaks into the phone, his desperate tone fulling the room. It's all part of his 'must know where everyone is at all times' policy. Usually Martin would dismiss the attitude as just the overprotective boss routine, but today, he knows there's much more than ordinary concern involved.
Relief clearly settles over Jack, "Ok, so he's on his way back? … Alright, bye." Guessing Sam's words were the comfort Jack was looking for, Martin proceeds to find out why.
"Where was he?"
"With Sam, she asked him to go and interview Simons."
After hearing Danny's all right he turns the subject back to the case, "Did they find anything?"
"With what?" Jacks obviously not there yet.
Danny isn't in any hurry to get back to the office. His mind is still reeling from the earlier conversation, and with the workings of a headache on its way, paper work doesn't seem like the ideal medicine.
By Erica's reaction, she clearly had no idea about the shooting; therefore an extra party was involved. The agent groans in frustration, there are only two other people who could have ordered the attack, and if they were after him, the only safe option would be to go with Erica. But that's exactly what she wants, and life would go back to what it was all those years ago; not a happy time.
"Erica! Erica!" A young Danny Taylor races down a dusty factory corridor, upon spotting his target he comes to a halt. "Erica, they're got both sides covered, we're not going to make it!" he's puffing heavily, pure fear shining through his eyes.
"Erica's expression remains calm, turning around, she yells some orders to the people behind her, "I want three of you to go down the north tunnel, the rest of you go south, we'll meet back up on the other side, ahora, id!"
Didn't you hear me?" Danny breathlessly yells, "They've got it covered!"
"Trust me," a sly grin is plastered over her face, "if you've been at this as long as I have, you'd know, it'll work out," she places a hand on his shoulder, "confía en mí." Although taking little comfort in her word, he nods in unsure agreement.
"Vamos," Erica hurries along her troops, only stopping briefly to clear each corridor, before moving on. Danny nervously holds upon the tail, he knew he should have listened to his brother, he wouldn't even be here, if he'd taken the advice. It was a year ago, he'd only been seventeen, she seemed so great, a real leader, and Danny had only wanted to be apart of it.
"Corred, corred!" Frightened screams shake the young man from his thoughts, as two of the three people Erica had had sent north, come flying towards them.
"BOOM!" A massive explosion tremors the building; cracking the walls; causing people, and debris to come crashing down. For a few seconds all is silent, while the dust settles, over the fallen bodies. Murmurs of voices brake through, Danny hears them, but doesn't dare to move, terrified that every breath he takes could be his last. His heart double takes, causing him to inhale quickly; sharp pain sweeps across his torso; panic takes control as he tries to stand. A pair of hands shoot out and hoist him up, causing his pain to turn to agony, glancing down he spots a large bloody gash in his left side.
"You alright?" the man queries. Terror becomes shock, as he catches a glimpse of the damage around him; howling cries of bloody death, something that once held life buried forever in an isolated grave of destruction. He can barely take in what's happened.
Finally his gaze meets Erica's; she's bloody and battered, and for a moment, concern, and guilt flashes across her features, then just like that they're gone, replaced once again by her strong fatigue.
Reality clicks back in "Yeah, I, I think so."
"BANG!" A shot blasts, turning the frightening atmosphere into one of traumatic existence.
Erica's voice rises out over the now growing commotion, "Get everyone up, we have to keep moving!"
"BANG!" Again a shot is fired, but this time it's followed by the unmistakeable sound of flesh tearing.
"Ahhh!" The man, who was only seconds before helping Danny to feet, falls to the ground, the impact of his body crunching the rubble beneath. More shots ring out, but horror-struck, all the young man can do is stare at the crimson covered body, lying at his feet.
"Danny!" A hint of fear is detectable in the voice, "come on, we have to go!" He tears his vision from the surroundings, and comes face to face with Erica, his own face is pale, and his eyes are empty.
"You said it would work," more bullets fly though the background, "you said I could trust you."
"We don't have time for this," She grabs him by the arm and tries to pull him though the chaos, but Danny's feet are planted firmly to the ground, his eyes locked with those of a dead mans. "Muévete!"
"We can't leave him," his monotone is beginning to disturb her, looking him over, for the first time she notices the gash.
Taking his arm once more, she pulls it over her shoulder in an attempt to aid his movement, "I don't think we have a choice, vamos, salgamos de aquí."
They make a mad dash through the factory; luckily the debris had trapped the enemy and helped them escape. Meeting the exit, they clamber into the awaiting van, and speed off into the night, and only then does time begin to slow down. Danny's shock has dispensed, and finally he can see the damage the mission has left.
Only three other people sit quietly within the vehicle, their bodies bruised, and bleeding, their expressions full of sorrow, but there's one person whose face is neutral, one, who remains cold.
Danny brakes the silence, "You lost six people," betrayal evident in his voice, "and we failed the mission."
For a while she's speechless, as though maybe regretting her decision," We know where we went wrong, we can expect better results next time," or then again, maybe not.
Danny closes his eyes in complete disgust, with his side throbbing, he leans his head back and feels the cool metal against his skin, and he can't help but wish, once more that he'd chosen a different path.
Wasn't originally intending that to be the end, but I wrote so much I decided to split it up, meaning my cliff hanger that I can't wait to write/post is yet to come (until next chapter)!
I tried to make the Spanish understandable to those who can't read it, and to those who can, I tried not to make it repetitive, but here are the English translations any way:
Quién es? – Who's this?
Ya sabes lo que quiero – you know what I want
Por la mañana temprano – early morning
Hasta luego – see you later (got that one from a book, hope it's right)
Ahora, id – now go
Confía en mí – just trust me
Vamos – come on
Corred, corred – run, run
Muévete – move
Vamos, salgamos de aquí – come on, lets get out of here
Chapter 4: That's the Case
Jack spots him as soon as he enters the bullpen, and makes a beeline straight to his agent. "Danny, next time I put you on records, I expect you to stay there," his tone is stern, the boss doesn't like to be ignored.
"Sorry Jack, I just needed a brake, I'll get back into it now." Danny returns to his desk and pulls the phone records back out.
Jack's becoming frustrated with his agent's attitude, he's refusing to tell him what's going on. The rest of the team is sensing something's up, and now it's effecting their concentration on the case. As much as Jack wants to shake Danny and force the truth out of him, he knows it has to wait, but as soon as they find Coleman, he's going to get it, and until then Danny is not leaving this office.
After picking Vivian up, Sam takes the short drive back to the office. She's half afraid she might crash; with the way her mind keeps travelling off course.
"You alright?" Viv asks, aware of Sam's tense behaviour.
"Huh?" Sam's momentarily caught off guard, but quickly returns her composure, "oh, yeah, I'm fine." Viv nods.
A few minutes later Sam speaks again, unable to hold her curiosity any longer, "Does Danny ever take any days off?"
Viv's slightly taken aback the random question, but answers regardless, "Not many, why do you ask?"
"Well, in all the time I've been working at the Unit, I don't think I've ever since him absent."
"He's a hard worker, but I think he's taken a weeks vacation once."
"Like I said, a hard worker."
A few minutes later they arrive at the office, making her way into the bullpen, Viv immediately queries the team, "got anything yet?"
Martin glances up, "Not so far, the guys clean."
"Wait, I got something!" Danny's hopeful voice draws them all over to where he sits; phone records spread out across the table. "There's the same number that turns up every fortnight, they talk for about five minutes, always around 11:30pm. Doesn't look like clean behaviour."
"No it doesn't, I think I'm going to have another chat with the wife," Viv exits; on the way out she passes Jack.
"You off again?"
"Yeah, Danny came up with a lead, I'm going to check with Mrs Coleman." Jack nods.
Viv really didn't want to go back and interview the wife she's a frustrating person, and in all honesty, Viv is pretty sure it won't be long before she says something she might regret. But the sooner she gets there, the sooner she can get back, and hopefully the case will be over.
"Knock, knock." Viv taps gently on the door, waiting to be greeted, moments later a woman emerges. She has short shoulder length brown hair, with wisps of white, and dull grey eyes, which in Viv's opinion, match perfectly with her personality.
"Mrs Coleman, I…"
"I've already told you everything I know, what more do you people want?"
Taking a deep breath, deciding to ignore the snapping tone, Viv tries once again to get her statement though. "We've developed a new lead and…"
"So you question me? You should be out finding my husband, not wasting time here!" "Mrs Coleman, I can assure you, we're doing everything we can to locate your husband. If you'll just remain quite and let me talk, we'll be able to move on if the lead is irrelevant." Viv is though hiding her irritation for this woman; she has far more important matters she could be dealing with.
The woman quietens, letting Vivian continue.
"The same phone number has repeatedly shown up on the records, all at around 11.30, do you know anything about it?"
"Of course I don't! You think I keep taps on my husband 24/7?"
"The call is at the same time every two weeks, surely you've seen or heard something," Viv prods harder, desperately not wanting another dead end.
The wife stays silent, appearing to be thinking. "Nearly every week he goes out on a poker night with his friends, he comes home late…" She pauses once again, rethinking her comment, "but that's nothing, they just go over to Franks, play some cards, and drink a bit, it's nothing. Now if that's all, I've got somewhere to be." Vivian forces a fake smile, says her goodbye and happily walks away from the dreadful woman.
After hearing from Viv, Martin finds himself sitting patiently in Frank Simons house, waiting for him to say something useful.
"Look, I told you before, I have no idea where
"You didn't answer the question, do you recognise the number?"
Frank sighs, "Give me another look." He carefully studies the paper before suddenly standing and leaving the room, "Wait, I might know," his voice echoes from down the hallway.
Moments later he returns with a business card, which he then hands to Martin.
"Viper Finances? You've got to be kidding me."
"Viper Finances? The guys definitely no genius." Jack is beginning to think Coleman had it coming, in which case this will be over very shortly, but with
"That's what I thought, money debts are one thing, but to resort to a place like that, he must have been desperate.
Martin and Jack drive through the dodgy neighbourhood in search of the location on the business card.
"Why'd Simons have the card?" Jack questions.
"He said he'd been having some troubles of his own, Coleman suggested the place." Martin gestures out the window, "Is that it?"
They park outside a small white building, the paints cracking off in areas, and the windows are in great need of a clean, the sign 'Viper Finances' only just distinguishable beneath the dust. A bad name to go with an ugly building: perfect match.
Both agents cautiously enter, Jack figures you can never be too careful with loan sharks involved, and the last thing he needs is Martin and himself to walk in on something they shouldn't and end up with a couple of bullets lodged into their heads, but really it's all in a days work.
Unfortunately Jacks unpleasant suspicions prove correct, as he's meet with a concerning sight- the lone figure of a woman curled up in the corner. Upon reflex Jack draws his weapon, Martin mirroring his action. Situations like this seemed to be on the increase, and out of all the years Jacks been at this job, his nerves have never leant to stay fully calm, but thankfully is inner worries never become apparent to the outside world.
Clearing the office for any threats Martin rushes to aid the woman. "Are you alright?" the younger agent gently queries.
The woman turns around her trembling body, her eyes are red, her face soaked with tears, her lip cut and swollen; definitely not a hopeful sign for Coleman.
"Hey, how is she?" Upon entering the office Martin's immediately met by a concerned Sam.
"She's ok, shaken, but ok."
"That's good. Did you get her statement?"
"Yeah, she over heard her boss talking with another man about teaching some guy 'the value of life,' she panicked and tried to leave, saying she was due for a lunch brake."
"Smart girl." Sam interrupts.
Martin nods in half agreement, "Before she could get out the boss starts questioning her about a phone call, she'd forgotten to tell him earlier, he got violent, then left with the other man."
"Charming character. You tracking the call?"
"On it now."
"Hey, " Danny approaches the couple, "one of the numbers is from a pay phone, two blocks from Coleman's house."
"Definitely our guy than." Martin's relieved that the case may soon be over, but there's still that one last catch of finding the guy alive.
"Yeah, I'm going to check on how the locations going, it'll be good to get this case finished with." Danny voices a similar idea.
"It really would." Sam replies.
He smiles and turns to leave, Sam's eyes follow Danny out but her gaze lingers on him just a little longer than it should have, Martin can't help but feel a twinge of jealously. He knows she's only concerned like the rest of the team, but he misses her looks, he misses everything about her, and Danny getting all of her attention really isn't helping; sadly pathetic, but completely true.
He'll get her back, he has to, but for now, amongst other things, the case is top priority, so he makes his way toward the tech room.
"Jack, we've got a location," Martin's head appears at the doorway, "sounds like it's going to be all hands on deck."
He sighs, getting to his feet, he draws out another breath, mentally preparing himself for the likely event of the final lead. "Alright let's go."
Storming through the bullpen, Jack is pleased to see the rest of the team is preparing themselves as well, pleased with everyone except Danny.
"Hey, where do you think you're going?"
The younger agent gives his boss a glance of confusion, "What do you mean?"
"You're not leaving the office," Jack stands firmly with his thoughts from earlier.
"Come on Jack, all hands on deck, you need me." The hint of hurt in Danny's tone isn't missed, and Jack can't help but feel guilty. But Danny brought this on himself, if he refuses to be co-operative, he's putting himself and the team in danger, and that's something Jack promised, if within his power, will never happen again.
"Jack, we need to go," Viv pulls him from his thoughts, and back to Danny nervously awaiting an answer.
"Jack?" he prods.
"Jack releases a deep sigh, the less people they go in with, the more likely that he's putting his own team in danger, so against all his better judgement Jack relents, "Ok, come on."
Danny's face immediately brightens, as he smiles thankfully. Jack can't help the nagging feeling of soon to be regret, but he pushes it aside, and along with the team makes his way to what they believe maybe Coleman's location.
"Alright, we don't know much about this guy, so I want you all alert and ready if anything goes wrong. Martin, and Sam, I want you to go around the back, Viv I want you to wait here, if we can draw him out, you need to be ready. Danny, you're coming with me, let's move." With Jacks plan of action said, the team moves out the their given positions.
Upon entering through the back door, which was surprisingly unlocked, the first thing the agents are meet with is the foul stench of something rotting.
"Oh god, what is that!" Sam can't help but comment, feeling as though she may gag at any minute, Martin's looking much the same.
"No idea, but I have a few I hope it's not." Deciding she's not going to ask, Sam reaches into her pocket to retrieve her flashlight, flicking it on, they now have a better few of their surroundings.
"Someone hasn't cleaned in awhile."
"Can you blame them, the place is already a dump," Martin counters.
Cobwebs hang from every corner, and a thick carpet of dust coats the creaky wooden floor, giving the house an over all spooky vibe.
"Come on, let's get this over with."
Danny trudges behind his boss, both have their weapons drawn, but the younger agent is only half alert, as his mind leaps off to other places. Every few paces they stop to clear another room, Jack always going first, and only letting Danny enter when he knows it's safe. This is not how a team's suppose to work, Jack's baby sitting him, and doing an extremely bad job of hiding it.
Another door, this time Danny's closest, "I got this one," he makes his move before Jack can argue. Shining his torch into the depths of darkness, something red suddenly glitters in the light, causing dread to settle within him. Quickly, he clears the rest of the small room before reaching for a light switch.
"Damn it." The body of what appears to be a man is lying in a bloody mess on the floor. Jack pushes past Danny and checks for a pulse, removing his hand Danny doesn't bother to ask, as his boss's gloomy expression speaks for itself, but Jack answers any way. "He's dead."
"Is it Coleman?"
"No, it's not." Danny can't help but feel relieved, although he's sorry about the other man he's glad it's not Coleman, it's never a good feeling to lose the mp.
Sam was beginning to think there was no one here, but she'd also thought the house looked smaller from the outside, so who knows.
"Hey, there's something up there." Martin points through the dark hallway, up ahead to where a bright light shines though the shadow.
Racing forwards the agents soon see a figure standing outside a door, a familiar voice coming from within.
"Danny!" Sam calls out, gaining his attention.
"Hey." His simple reply seems distant; he doesn't even bother to ask if they found anything.
"You ok?" Sam voices her concern, but before Danny can answer, Jack emerges from the room.
"Seems like Coleman wasn't the only victim." Both Sam and Martin mange a quick peer through door, to sure enough, see the body of a man with an untimely fate. "Have you checked the rest of the house?"
Martin, being first to recover replies, "Yeah, its all clear."
Jack nods, "ok let's head back out."
The rest of the team approaches Viv, solemn expressions across their features, "No luck?"
"We have a body, but it's not Coleman."
"AHHHH!" a scream howls across the street, the team exchange quick glances before rushing to the source. Viv feels her heart pumping hard in her chest as she arrives at the scene. Coleman's there; bloody, but alive, nevertheless with the barrel of a gun pointed straight at his head, a long life doesn't look hopeful.
"F.B.I, drop the weapon!" Jack yells at the man.
"Stay back or I'll shot him!" The man has clearly lost his cool.
"Yeah? And as soon as you do that, I'll just have to shoot you." The furious glare blazing though Jack's eyes tells everyone present he's not kidding. The loan shark changes his plan. Spinning
The guy smirks confidently, "The way I see it, you're going to leave right now, or I'll kill one of you. You can try to shoot me, might get lucky and hit me, but either way, someone's going to die, and I don't think you're willing to risk it."
Viv's eyes remain planted on the gun, which every few seconds points her way, as the loan shark waves it round at the team.
She notices her breathingget heavier, and with each passing second, the fear sweeping across her body begins to grow, fear for her own life, and fear for the lives of her co-workers and friends.
Finally Jack replies, "You'd rather die and take one of us down for spite?" The man barley acknowledges the question, causing Jack to continue. "Mark my words, if you do fire that weapon at anyone on my team, I'll make it my life's mission to hunt you down and give you the slow, painful death you deserve."
The smirk is wiped from his face, but inturn is replaced by anger. He moves towards Jack, on one speaks, everyone's tense, bracing themselves for whatever action comes next.
He swiftly heaves the sobbing Coleman into the unsuspecting Jack, knocking him off his feet. Making a desperate dash onto the street, he spots a young couple about to climb into their vehicle. It's horrifyingly clear to Vivian what's about to happen, as the mad man pushes past the couple, gun still waving wildly, in his grip.
"Give me the keys!" He yells at the people, who are too frightened to move. Hearing the team approaching he begins to pull back the trigger.
"BANG!" A shots fired, but to Viv's surprise, it whizzes straight past her ears, and directly into the loan sharks torso; his dead body numbly hitting the pavement.
Recovering from her shock, she turns to see Danny, still holding the smoking gun.
Martin releases a long over due sigh of relief, the guy was dead, and they'd found Coleman alive and… alive, this should be a happy time, after all the loan shark got what was coming to him. Unfortunately Jack just doesn't see the situation the same way. Poor Danny.
"What the hell was that?" Jack's tone is clearly frustrated, but for the moment he's reasonably calm.
"I saved that couples lives, that's what." Danny's also composed, but with the way Jacks been babying him all day, it's not going to last much longer.
"That shot could have easily hit the couple, or one of the team, it was reckless," Jack pauses for a few seconds before muttering something under him breath, "I knew I shouldn't have let him out."
The comments not missed by Danny, Martin notices a flash of hurt cross his features, before it's quickly replaced by anger.
"What are you doing? You've been second guessing me all day!"
"If you'd do your job properly, I wouldn't have to!"
Martin can't help but cringe; he really doesn't know how Danny's holding it together, although he's not verbally lashing out, he can almost see the waves of fury admitting from Danny's body.
Jack turns to instruct the team, "The rest of you can go home, I'll finish up here. Danny, I want you to wait around until I'm done, we have a few more matters to discuss."
Martin truly does feel sorry for Danny, but honestly he can't wait to get away from the scene.
Danny leans back again the brick wall, as he waits for Jack to finish up. It's been a long day, and the agent is really looking forward to a peaceful sleep, although he's sure it will not come easy.
He knows what he did was right, the man was going to kill those people, and he'd acted on instinct. Jack is wrong; he's just looking for another excuse to yell at him, and it's all because of naive seventeen year old, and his stupidtrust in awoman named Erica.
Watching the cars pass by, he can't help but wonder what life would be like in their shoes, then he wouldn't have to deal with a horrible past, trying to suck him back into it's murky depths. Just then one of the vehicles comes to a sudden halt, a few feet from where Danny's currently standing. Three men emerge from within the black van, each carrying an evil glint in their otherwise expressionless eyes.
The young agent's breath gets caught in his throat, and his mind freezes with terror, as his sight catches something else they're carrying.
It's been a difficult case, and Jack's thankful that it's now over. Finishing up with the witnesses, he spares a glance over to where his agent is patiently waiting. That boys been a real headache today, and even the thought of their next forced discussion is making his blood boil, what was so bad that he couldn't say to his boss?
Noticing a van pull up, three men jump out, and begun to approach Danny, feeling slightly uneasy Jack makes his way toward them.
All of a sudden the men make their move, Jack can only watch in horror as they draw their weapons, they yell something, but in his ears, the words are blurred together.
"BANG!" Jack's heart nearly stops, for a few seconds his feet are rooted to the ground, utter shock trembling though his body.
His agent is pressed into the awaiting vehicle, the men clamber in, and the van speeds off down the street, Jack glimpses down at the crimson liquid staining the sidewalk and brakes into a mad sprint.
Chapter 5: Plagued By Guilt
Jack's legsare on fire, a burning sensation unlike anything he's ever felt, but still, hepushes himself. The van that had taken away his agent has long since left his sight, but the broken, tearing pain he feels within his soul compels him to keep running. Flashes of red scar his mind, shadows of faces, loud bangs, the squeak of the wheels skidding down the road, images, and sounds moving so quickly through his head, they begin to blur together. Every corner he turns he prays he will see that van, and with every turn, he see nothing, but all his hope slowly melt away.
For the moment his mind is in the present, with the exception of the blurry flashbacks, all Jack is focusing on is finding that van. Putting one foot in front of the other, out of determination in finding his agent, and fear, that if he was to stop, the dam of emotion will rupture, leaving him all alone with his inner turmoil. Keep going, his mental encouragement chants, almost screaming at him to move, despite his lagging body.
"Brrng, brrng." The sudden noise rattles Jack's thoughts, catching him off guard. The chanting stops, causing his feet to forget to move, and the rest of his body continues.
"Doff," Jack trips, his body hitting the ground with a heavy thud. His breath and pulse heave in his ears, which are now deaf to the shrill cry of the phone. His mind remains numb as he picks himself up off the pavement. Standing completely still he lets the facts of the resent events settle in his memories; each second the dam begins to crumble.
Jack remembers not pressuring his agent to talk to him, he remembers letting him out into the field, he remembers yelling at him, and he remembers not being able to reach his agent on time. All the walls crack, everything around Jack comes to a stand still, everything's quite accept the consistent ringing of the phone, and that's when it hits him. Danny's either dead or in the hands of some psycho, and it's all his fault.
The van races over another pothole, giving unwanted jostling to Danny's injured body. He grimaces in pain, briefly closing his eyes in the already darkened vehicle. He's lying flat on his back, and can just make out the figures of two men next to him, horror still fulls his mind, but for the moment it's clouded in agony.
An intense sensation of vulnerability winds it's way across him, he's lying uselessly in the back of a van with three complete strangers; one of which shot a bloody hole into his shoulder, and being taken to god knows where, for reason he doesn't understand. The agent can't help thinking he brought this all on himself, if only he'd told Jack.
Jack, Danny wonders if he's ok, he's probably having a full on panic attack, Jack won't rest until he's found him, or at least that's the hope Danny's desperately clinging to.
The vehicle comes to a halt, leading to more negative movement, but Danny tightly clinches his jaw to avoid crying out.
"Get up!" One of the men roughly pushes the young agent, as if it will actually help the matter. Danny chooses to lie still, knowing that no good will come from this action, except maybe a few more seconds of rest, which he'd gladly take.
Sure enough the man soon tries again, "I said get up!" this time kicking him hard in the injured shoulder.
"Ahh," Danny can't prevent the cry that escapes his throat, as the wound sends new ripples of agonising pain throughout his body.
The door of the van is jerked open, bright light blazes through from outside, instantly assaulting the agent's dark-familiar eyes.
"Just move him," the man who was driving commands the other two, who grudgingly oblige.
Rough hands grab at his arm, tugging his uncooperative body from the van, and tearing his wound further open, but Danny bites back once more.
Once on the ground, they force him to his wobbling feet, both men supporting his weight between them. Only then does the agent realise just how wet his shirt is becoming from the continuing blood flow of the bullet wound. Feeling extremely light headed, as well as in excruciating pain; the men basically have to drag his dead weight.
Spotting a rundown building up ahead, Danny guesses it's where they're headed. His throbbing body tightens, and the pain finally becomes too much, his last conscious thought, floating about in his mind, was one he never even dreamed he'd have, but more than anything he wishes Erica will be on the other side of that door.
Viv strolls into the office, the nights rest making her feel refreshed, and ready to take on any oncoming case.
"Morning," Martin greets Viv.
"Morning, Jack here yet?"
"No, not yet, neither is Danny."
Saying her good mornings to Sam as well, she sits at her desk and begins on the paperwork left from the resent case.
A few minutes later, she glances up to see Jack trudging into his office, a ghost like expression placed over his face.
Concern bubbles within her, and Vivian immediately rushes after her boss, and friend.
"Jack, are you alright?" Upon entering his office Viv can't hide her shock, up close Jack looks even worse; his face is drained of all life, appearing as though at any second he'll drop down dead.
He ignores her, and stares down at a spot on the carpet.
"Jack?" Viv has never seen him like this before, and he's definitely scaring her.
"He's gone." Jack's sight remains where it is, as he finally replies, but his frightening monotone isn't setting her nerves aside.
"I, I tried to get there," his speech becomes rushed.
Viv's anxiety begins to grow, "Who Jack? Who's gone?"
He raises his head, staring Viv straight in the eyes, his own are haunted, and full of sorrow.
"Danny, Danny's gone.' Complete shock strikes Viv like a flash of lightening, she's too stunned for words, but needing information, she makes an attempt.
"Gone? W-what do you mean gone?"
Glaring back at the floor, Jack mumbles some words, "Gone, gone, I lost him."
More confusion, and fear like she's never felt, bursts from within her in stream of words, "Jack! What happened, is Danny alive?"
"I, I d-don't know, maybe, I couldn't get there, I, I was too late." Guilt thickly laces his tone, but Viv chooses to ignore it, desperately wanting a straight answer.
Tears begin to sting her eyes, "JACK!" Yelling she tries to snap him out of it, to get some kind of reaction.
Upon hearing her shout, Martin and Sam peer cautiously into the office.
"Is everything ok?" Sam questions. Both younger agents see the sorrow fulling Jack's face and the look of horror on Viv's, and concern quickly ushers them into the room.
"What's going on?"
Jack refuses to make eye contact with anyone, and continues his line of babbling with Viv.
"They were only a few metres away, I should have made it, but the bang, the, the blood, it, I… oh god." Jack shoves his hands over his face, unable to face anyone, let alone the team. Viv can see his guilt, his pain, this was the team he had sworn to protect, and now he has failed.
Viv's feet give way as the realisation of her words hit her, she may have lost Danny, her poor baby. Tears flow freely down her cheeks, and Sam, not yet understanding rushes to her aid.
"Viv, are you alright? What happened?"
Vivian turns from Sam, to Martin, and to Jack; his hand still covering his angst filled features.
Taking a deep breath, she relays what little information she knows to her confused co-workers.
"Danny's been taken."
A glimpse of horror stains their faces. "What? Taken? When? By who?" Martin responds quickly, while Sam's left, frozen in her shock.
Vivian's sight moves back towards her boss, the other two following her gaze to where Jack's sitting silently, barely in control of his emotions.
Danny's eyes snap open; he has just woken up, and is instantly ambushed by unnerving awareness of what's happened. Everything's dark, he can't see, yet somehow he knows the walls are close. The rough ground has become unbearably cold, so he perches himself up on his good arm, and with great effort, and minimal amount of pain, the agent manages to hoist himself to his feet.
Fear of the unknown future spins about in his mind, causing his thoughts to jumble. Taking a deep breath, he tries to calm his shaking body, although not really knowing whether it's from fear or the cold air in this damp hole.
Stretching his arm out, he shuffles his unwilling feet forward a few paces, and sure enough, he soon comes into contact with another rough surface: the wall. Following it around, Danny proves his assumptions correct yet again, as he discovers he is in fact, in a small square room- or maybe a dungeon is a better phrase- with a metal door to the left of where he was originally seated.
Feeling the movement begin to take its toll on his tied body, Danny sinks back onto the floor. There's nothing he can do now, he can only wait, and pray that the person who –other than Erica- opens that door isn't some psycho, intent on killing him, and making his last moments on earth an all round living hell. But either way, his only hope for the return of his freedom, is that Jack and the team find him, before it's too late.
She had needed some fresh air; she couldn't have stayed in that room a minute longer. Jack had finally got enough control over himself to explain to the team what exactly happened, and now she wishes he hadn't, being left in the dark is looking more and more appealing.
Sam steps out onto the balcony, the gentle wind a refreshing change from the stuffy office. For a few seconds the calming noises of the outside world take all her thoughts away, for those few seconds everything feels normal. And then it's gone, and all that's left is the cold harsh reality, that Danny, her colleague, one of her closest friends, may be dead.
Tears fill her eyes, building up; they push over the rim, and stream steadily down her pale cheeks.
Regret rears it's ugly head, causing the tears to spill faster; she should have told someone, she should of put more pressure on him to talk, but then again this is Danny, nothing could make him talk if he wasn't ready. A small smile wipes across her face, memories of his stubborn behaviour fulling her mind. No, they are more than past thoughts, they are truth; there's no way Danny would give up in a situation like this, so why should she? Why should anyone, Danny's counting on them, he needs their help, and Sam for one, is not going to let him down.
Storming back into the office, the determined agent makes her way straight to Jack, who remains seated at his desk; the others departed.
"Jack!" Sam calls out, trying to gain her boss's attention.
Jack glances up; his only acknowledgement of her presence, but good enough.
"Jack, what are you doing? Danny's out there somewhere, hurt and in need of our help! How can you just sit there?"
His expression changes, firms, looking a little saner, but the guilt is far from gone. "You think he's alive?"
He pauses, considering his answer. Sam stands there waiting for the click, waiting for him to realise what he's doing, the time he's wasting, time Danny may not have.
She gets her wish. "Oh god, you're right, we, we need to get started on his, his c-case. How could I have given in so easily?" Self-disappointment clouds his tone, but Sam instantly reassures him.
"Shock, we all get it." He nods, and stands from his seat, before her very eyes the strong Jack she knows regains his control, postponing all his grief and self-hate until the time is right, and right now, they have a friend to find.
Jack has shaken his doubt, but now Samantha manages to catch onto some inner fears of her own. Knowing the best thing to do is to voice her concern, so she does just that.
"What happens if we don't find him?"
Jack comes to a halt, for a few seconds he's quite, making Sam regret her question, but as he turns towards her, she notices a scary little smirk tugging at his lips.
"Well then, I guess we'll need someone to take our grief out on, won't we." Turning back he marches into the bullpen, and begins barking orders, leaving Sam with only pity for the man who crossed Jack Malone's team.
Chapter 6: Pieces To the Puzzle
He moves to make a grab for the phone, his hand shaking, his stomach a bundle of nerves. Placing his index finger on the button he slowly dials the dreaded number. His mind is a mess of terror, waiting desperately for someone on the other end to pick up, and tell him what he so severely wants to hear.
He has rang many numbers today, and with all he's felt the over whelming fear of what he'll be told, but with this one it's different, this one is the last hurdle before the end of the race. Just one more until the emotional turmoil can be stilled, not for long, but long enough to find comfort, one more cross off the lengthy list of possibilities.
Minutes later Martin hangs up the phone. Drawing out his breath, he can feel his tense dilemma leaving his body, but the fear is far from gone.
He'd just called the last morgue, and to his relief it, like all the others had no John Does matching Danny's description. As relieved as the agent is, he still has the hospitals to go through, but maybe that isn't such a terrible thing. If Danny were there at least they'd know, even if he were in a critical condition, they could be there for him, anything's better than sitting in the dark.
Martin really can't believe his friend is dead, although from what he'd been told Danny's future wasn't looking bright, but he's knows it's not gone. The agent realises he must be in some kind of denial, but he doesn't care, this way he's left with hope. He can't and won't except Danny as past tense, the people in this team are all he's known, and he's not going to let anything or anyone change that.
Danny is alive, Martin can feel it, denial or no denial, the true anguish he should be feeling is not yet upon him, and that's as good a sign as any. He won't rest until he's found his friend, and he knows Sam and Viv feel the same way, but Jack, Jack wants revenge.
Tap, tap, tap. Jack sits tapping his fingers impatiently on his desk, waiting for something, anything to get the ball rolling on Danny's case, and at the moment that includes his boss walking in that door. He understands Van Doran will take the team off the case, but that doesn't mean he'll stop. This is his agent, his responsibility, and he owes it to Danny, and himself to find him and make those responsible pay. They will not get away with what they have done, he'll track them down no matter how long it takes, weeks, months, years, he doesn't care. By the time Jack's through with them they're going to wish they'd never even heard his name; no one messes with his team.
"Brrng, brrng," the phone on Jack's desk shrieks loudly.
He immediately picks up. "Malone. …Really? Alright…. no it's not important. How long? …. Ok I'll tell her when she gets back. Thanks."
Jack can't help the smile that crawls over his lips. It seems Van Doran is out of contact, and won't be returning for a few days, so of course he has no choice but to take the case, it's his duty, and that's exactly what he'll tell her upon her return.
Danny's eyes flutter open at the sound of footsteps outside his door. He hadn't even realised he'd fallen asleep, which really wouldn't be a good idea with all the blood he's lost. But now he's wide-awake, waiting full of fearful anticipation from who will emerge.
The door creaks open, and light from the outside world fills his little prison, temporarily blinding the figure from his sight.
"We have to stop meeting under these poor conditions."
Slight relief sweeps over the agent, at least he knows his life isn't in danger, for now.
"Erica, you really should stop shooting me, it can't be good for my health." He can't help it; the cocky comments just seem to slip out.
"Don't get smart with me, I don't need your bullshit."
Danny climbs to his feet, trying desperately not to show any signs of pain; despite the fact his shoulder is clearly causing him agony, his bloody arm lying limply at his side.
"Then why the hell did you bring me here!" He shouts back, now standing at eye level with her, so to remove some of her power.
"The same reason I always do." Her voice is calm as she turns to leave. Danny makes no attempt to go after her, to stop her from locking him in once more, he figures it wouldn't be worth the pain. "I'll come and get you when we're ready to go." So once again, with the clunk of the heavy door, Danny's left with nothing but darkness at his side.
Sam looks up as Jack re-enters the bullpen, a renewed determination blazing within his eyes.
He calls them all over, and asks the question none of them could face. "Martin, how'd it go with the hospitals and morgues?"
Obviously Martin would have told them the instant he'd found something, but still, you never know.
"No, nothing from the either." By his sadden tone, Sam guessed he'd really been counting on the hospitals, they all had been.
"Ok, we should start by searching his apartment, and interviewing his brother. Has anyone noticed any strange behaviour?
Viv's first to reply. "Jack, have you seen Danny lately? He's been scared about something; one morning I went up to him, and gave him such a fright he split his coffee. I questioned him, but he said it was lack of sleep."
"When did this start?"
"Two days ago was when I first noticed something was wrong." Viv pauses hearing her own words, her thoughts are clear to everyone. Jack places a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"You couldn't have known." She nods but remains quite; guilt is hitting the whole team pretty hard.
Martin breaks the silence, "Yesterday morning, what was that about? I found him unconscious in the restroom, and he fed me that same lack of sleep story. You knew something had happened."
The team turns to their boss, all waiting for an explanation, which Jack eventually gives. "He called me early that morning, but when I picked up there was no reply, I could here someone on the other line, he was there, but then a gun shot went off."
More silence settles over the team, and Sam can't help but feel sorry for Jack, he had to face losing Danny to a gun twice in the same day, and after the events of a few months ago, it must be hell on Jack's consciences.
"Was he hurt?" Martin voices what they all want to know."
"I don't know, you found him, so you tell me."
Martin's taking his time with his reply: and Sam's beginning to understand why they shouldn't be on this case.
"He…I couldn't wake him up, but eventually he stirred, and he seemed ok, other than a bit of confusion when he first woke up. One us would have noticed if he'd been really hurt."
"Not necessarily." All eyes are now on Sam. She hadn't forgotten about any of the information she'd learnt from the previous day, she'd merely been waiting to see if she had to tell them, not wanting to betray Danny's trust, although Danny betrayed hers first, when he said it was nothing.
"About five years ago, Danny was shot in the leg by some women he claimed to be a friend. I know this because that same woman approached him yesterday, saying they needed to talk, Danny was definitely upset about her presence, but most of the conversation was in Spanish, and he wouldn't tell me much more."
Vivian finally speaks out, "Five years? That's why you asked me if he'd had any time off, he would have been working here."
Sam nods, and off the lack of response from the two senior agents, she's guessing her assumptions were correct.
It seems everyone has a good reason to feel guilty about Danny's fate, they all had moments where they could have possibly prevented the kidnapping, whether it be from making him talk or stoping his actions, they've all got something they regret. But when it comes down to it they can't blame themselves or each other, Danny was the one who had refused their help. He hadn't been able to trust them even when he knew he was in trouble, he'd lied to them, and covered up all his problems, if only he'd asked, they're his friend, or at least Sam thought they were.
Guilt surges through her as she realises what she is doing, Danny's hurt and in real trouble, and all she can do is think badly of him. It can't be Danny's fault, it's not, the one she should be blaming, the one they all should be blaming are they people that took him, the people who trapped him in a corner, who scared him so much he felt like he couldn't come to them. It's them who are at fault.
But right now they have to forget about their emotions, and work on what maybe the hardest case of their lives, to find a friend they now realise they hardly know.
He can't sit still. He feels like an animal caged in, forced to pace endlessly up and down the small space to check it, just in case the walls are closing in, for in his mind they truly are. The constant darkness, the fear, the pain, the cold, they're all becoming too much, he feels so though at any second he will explode, he wants to brake down in a little ball and cry until all is troubles disappear, but knows it will not help. He wishes there was someway he could get in contact with Jack, or anyone from the team, hey, even his brother would do, he just needs them to find him. He now regrets his decision to be discrete; he's left no clues to what's going on, except maybe to Sam! She saw Erica; if she talks to Rafi he might be able to tell them, she's his only hope! If ever there were a time to break a promise, now would be it!
Suddenly light lashes through the room once more, as the door his yanked open, and someone emerges. The door is slammed shut again, but the light remains, now shining down from a low ceiling lamp above Danny's head. His eyes quickly adjust, and he's able to see who entered, but expecting Erica he gets a nasty shock from a face he hasn't seen in years.
"Hey Alvarez, long time no see."
At first Danny's speechless, his heart pumping violently in his chest, this is not what he needs. This guy hasalways had it in for him, so he has to think carefully with what he should answer, not wanting to make this interaction any more unpleasant then it will no doubtfully be, this is not the kind of guy you want to piss off.
Finally he shallows his fears and replies, "Erica know you're here?"
His face twists into an ugly expression, the agent thinks maybe counted as a smile. "Still hiding behind her? You haven't changed."
"Well I'm not a big fan of getting beating around, and you and I don't have the best record."
"Looks like someone beat me to it." He points towards Danny's arm, probably already plotting how he can make it worse.
Reaching into his pocket he pulls out a small bloodstained knife, the action causing Danny to now believe that shutting up will be the best option.
"You know this could actually make it easier, simply mistaken for an accident." He moves towards Danny and shoves him roughly into the wall.
Upon instinct, the agent punches his attacker in the face, "You decided you want me dead now?"
Spitting blood to the floor, he glares evilly at Danny, "Erica and I have made a little deal, and your living gets in the way of my half, you see my problem."
Without another moment's hesitation, the man heaves the knife straight into the bullet wound. For a few seconds the pain is so agonising Danny doesn't react, but that's soon changed as the man slowly twists the blade through Danny's prone flesh.
His mind numbs, his body sinking slowly to the ground, and he does the one thing his body will allow... he screams.
Chapter 7:Cruel Twists
Jack placed his phone down, a small crescent of hope now displayed over his face. He'd gotten hold of Silvia, who had told them Rafi's whereabouts, so he'd grab Sam and they'll head down to the auto repair shop to interview him. Jack really hopes Danny's brother will be able to shed some light on the situation.
Grabbing his coat he heads out into the bullpen to find the rest of the team doing their given tasks. Moving toward Sam, he's about to address her when a young agent calls out his name.
Jack turns and takes in the man nervous appearance, before glancing down and spotting a lone item resting in his hands.
"I, I heard about Agent Taylor going missing, and, umm, when I was in the car park I found this." Raising up the item, Jack can now clearly see what it is. "I thought it might be his."
The agent nearly jumps out of his skin when Jack snatches the cell phone from his grasp. Examining it briefly, he notices the twenty-three missed calls labelled 'Jack' and of course knows instantly it's Danny's.
The senior agent opens his mouth to yell at the younger for removing from the scene, but decides against, instead thanking him, then rushes off to check the security tapes; he's wasted too much time as it is.
After naming the round about time Jack had received the call from Danny, he waits as patiently as he can while a security guard searches the tape.
"There." The man stops the tape at Jack's request, as Danny appears on screen.
Jack watches as his agent ducks down and runs for cover, he spots him drawing his gun and cell phone, then a while later dashing towards the elevator, he also doesn't miss the way Danny staggers upon entering the door.
Concern erupts into his minds, "Was he hit?"
The guard shrugs, "I'm not sure, I'll try the elevator tape."
Jack can't believe it, not only had Danny straight out lied to him about the shooting, he'd also been hit and hadn't said a word, although from what Sam said that's nothing new.
Moments later a picture of Danny once again appears on screen, he's leaning against the back wall, his eyes squeezed shut. He reaches down and pulls something from his arm, the action clearly causing him pain. Danny lifts the object up higher to examine what it is, unknowingly doing the same for his boss.
Jack's breath catches in his throat, as he realises what it is, a dart. They had attempted to abduct his agent earlier and nearly succeed.
The last thing he sees is Danny stumbling through the doors, before Jack switches it off, and grabbing both tapes, he storms from the room.
It's cold, rainy and dark, the perfect atmosphere for this depressing situation. This is the last place he wants to be, but at fate would have it here he is. Staring once again down the tunnel of what can only lead to his doom.
As he walks in his feet make soft taps against the smooth concrete, there's an air of familiarity, memories bounce off walls, showing him uncomfortable glimpses of what he had left behind. Not that he needs to be reminded, for it's all scarred vividly into his head, blood that will never be washed from his hands.
"Dofh," Danny stumbles over a loose stone, his foot kicking it further into the dark. He stops and listens, his voice still echoing through the air, and it hits him, the place is completely deserted.
Usually there would be people everywhere, going about various tasks, and the door would never be left unattended, something is wrong.
He picks up his pace. He knows that he shouldn't care, it's been about two years since he last stepped foot in this place, two years since he hasn't felt like a prisoner, always forced to do someone else's biding, yet somehow, he can't help the way he feels.
The tunnel widens out into a series of rooms, and Danny heads straight for the one he despises most.
"Erica?" He pushes the door slowly open, questioning her presence.
There's a rustle in the corner before she appears from behind a stack of boxes.
Thoughts of 'oh crap' rush though the young mans head, as he takes in her batted features. Blood is running down her pale face, and onto her clothes which are now soaked.
"You're here." She seems generally happy to see him, although somewhat shocked.
"Are you ok?"
"Fine, or will be." She picks through a box, taking items from within, and adding them to her bag. "So why are you here?"
"You called me."
She smiles, the reason unclear. "I mean really."
Danny pauses; in truth he has no idea, he doesn't even know how he's having a civil conversation with this woman. "I have my reasons."
Grapping a new box she pulls out a few weapons, also placing them in the bag. "Right, and would any of these reasons involve revenge?"
Revenge? Perhaps on a sub-conscious level that's exactly what he wants, he has a lot to be angry about, four years wasted amongst pain and death. "Yeah, maybe it is."
Erica stops what she's doing, she moves towards him, looking him straight in the eye. "Of course I know you didn't come here to help me, but whatever the reasons, this time you won't be able to walk away, you don't know what these people are capable of."
The reality of the situation still hasn't hit, Danny doesn't understand and chooses not to try. "Then lets get this over with."
They drive in silence, neither one sure of what to say, Danny's sure he's somehow being manipulated, it took so much to escape, and now he's here once again without even being pressured. There's a nagging feeling deep within him, trying to warn him, telling him something's not right.
"We're here." Erica informs him, as she climbs out of the van and heads over to a familiar building. Danny follows.
"Yep," she cuts him off.
Danny's confusion isn't at ease, "Are we going in alone?"
"We're meeting up inside."
She cuts him off once more, "Look, a lot of things have changed since you're been gone, they're not the enemy anymore."
And there you have it; of course she didn't mention this earlier, because that would ruin the whole revenge concept that's been planted in his head. Years of fighting against these people, and now they're fighting with them, but it still doesn't make sense.
"Why? What changed?"
She pushes open a door and a nasty looking guard nods them inside. "A new enemy moved in."
They enter a large room crowed with people, in the middle stands a lone man issuing orders to the others. Erica cuts her way towards him, and Danny instantly recognises him as the leader of the old opposition.
"Garcia, you done?"
He gives her a sour glare, "Where the hell have you been?"
"Collecting a few resources," she holds up the bag, but Danny has the strangest feeling she's not talking about it.
Garcia gives the bag a distrusting glance before continuing. "My people will enter from the north and east, yours can head in from the south and west, we'll meet at the given point."
Erica smirks, "No, I don't think so, if we're going to be working together we're not gonna play it yours and mine."
He scowls, not wanting to back down, but seeing the logic, he relents.
A few minutes later they're pilling into vehicles departing towards their destination.
"So you going to full me in anytime soon?"
"No, I'm not, but you'll need this," she hands him a weapon.
Danny frowns, studying the object, "We don't kill people."
"Like I said, a lots changed."
His lack of information, and Erica's vagueness is started to make him very nervous of what's ahead. "What is this mission? Who ever kills the most people wins?" Erica remains silent.
Oh god, Danny leans back in his seat, with every passing second his regret had been growing, but this is not what he was expecting, this was murder. He can't believe he'd been that stupid, Erica never needed help, and now he's falling right into her trap. He's just a number to her, one more person to tip the scale in her favour, and give her the upper hand over the enemy.
He's not going to be apart of this; it's not going to get that far, as soon as the vehicle stops, he's out of here.
"Vamos, you ready?"
He glances over to her, her face still bloody, "Was it all an act?"
"It doesn't matter," Danny quickly climbs out of the vehicle, and starts to walk away. Suddenly a rough hand grabs his shoulder twisting him around.
"You're going the wrong way," Garcia's cold voice slices through the air.
Danny remains calm, to spite the other mans towering height, "Funny, I thought I was going the right way."
"You walk away now, and you're asking for death," he slams Danny against the van, the pressure momentarily winding him, "and I'm not worried about being the one to deal it out."
Regaining his breath, Danny opens his mouth to reply, but before he can Erica intervenes. "Garcia, back off!" She clutches his arm, pulling him away.
"I'm not going in there, I'm not going to kill anyone"
"That's fine, but I need someone I can trust to go with him," she signals towards Garcia. Danny shakes his head and attempts to walk away once more. Por favor Danny, I need you to watch out for them."
He doesn't want to go in, not even to help Erica, the only reason he's even considering it is because he wouldn't be able to live with himself if something he could have prevented was to happen to Erica's people. He'd lived with them for four years, a lot of them are his friends, and that's one thing Danny will never do, bail when his friend need him.
He sighs, not really believing what's about to come out of his lips, "Ok, but this is the last time."
She gives him a strange look, "Sure."
That's it; the only logical conclusion to this whole situation is that he has officially lost his mind. He's agreed to risk his life for a cause he doesn't believe in, to save people who where stupid enough to also get caught up in this mad, raging way of life. But there's no good moaning about it now, what's done is done, now the only thing he can do is make it out of this alive, and then he'll never have to think of Erica, or anything that surrounds her, ever again.
"Watch out!" A voice startles Danny from his thoughts, "There's a wall there."
He blinks rapidly before sure enough a wall comes into focus, he turns, slightly embarrassed to face the voice.
He's surprised to see an attractive young women smiling, with clear amusement in his direction. He's sure he's blushing but thanks to the dull light it's not visible. "Ah, thanks."
"Any time." With her smirk still firmly in place, Danny avoids her gaze, quickly rejoining the group; he doesn't want to get to know anyone when they could soon be dead.
They'd split up into four groups, Danny particular group had twelve other people including Garcia as planned. They'd entered the building with ease, but from the nervous expressions of those around him, Danny's guessing they were expecting more of a welcome party then deserted hallways.
The company comes to a sudden halt, Danny glances up to see that Garcia, at the lead, has stoped them, and seems to be concentrating on some unknown subject.
The agent-to-be's heart instantly pounds in his chest as the 'subject' reaches his ears; a distance thump of gunfire and the whine of screams can be heard from above. Without chance for a second thought Garcia takes off, the others and Danny following reluctantly in suit.
Arriving at the scene, Danny immediately feels himself fill with the same terrorizing emotions that have never stoped haunting his mind.
Bullets flying through the air, scattering the group amongst the ciaos, Danny dives behind a crate and draws his weapon. He's still not going to kill anyone but it couldn't hurt to have it out.
Racing out of the room, he runs down the hallway, spotting a man about to shoot a familiar face, Danny lifts his gun and fires, purposely missing and scaring the man off. The target gives him an appreciative nod before running off in the other direction.
"Bang!" A gun fires nearby, followed closely by a yelp of pain.
Alert and ready, Danny rushes to the source, but stops instantly when he sees her. The woman from earlier, her hand is covered in blood, her weapon lying uselessly on the floor, and some nameless bastard's holding a gun to her head.
He doesn't even think about it, he just does it, he pulls his finger down on that trigger, the blast rings out in his ears, a lasting sound ceased only by the thud of a lifeless body.
Danny lowers his trembling hands; he can't look at the body so instead he turns to the woman, who's severely shaken.
He's about to respond when he hears Garcia shout his name.
"Did you just shoot him!" Danny spins around, only to have a fist come smashing into his jaw, the impact knocking him hard to the ground. "HE'S ONE OF MINE! YOU KILLED SOMEONE ON OUR SIDE!"
Danny's mind freezes, he opens his mouth to draw in breath but no air fills his lungs, his eyes move towards where he last saw the women, who is now nowhere in sight. All that's left is the blood-covered body of a man, whose life was taken by him.
Chapter 8: Truth's Out
He can see it, light trying to pry him from his sanctuary, trying to pull him back into an unwanted world, a world full of pain, and anger. Why couldn't it leave him alone, he doesn't want to go back, the darkness in his mind is providing a false sense of safety, which he so desperately craves, he needs it, so he can't leave it.
He can hear something, a soft noise echoing gently through the silence, he knows this sound; it's a voice. He hears it again, like wisps of wind sweeping the leaves across the deserted yard; it plays in his mind, calling him closer. He suddenly doesn't remember why he fears the light; the voice holds a comforting tone, from which he feels no need to run. He tries to reach it, willing himself towards it, now he can understand the words, it's his name, and someone's calling him from the black. Suddenly it feels as if the wind changes direction, the tone is now frightening, the comfort falling away. Images fly into his head, trying to warn him, to push him back, but now it's too late.
Danny opens his eyes, letting the light flood his senses, but as soon as it does the agonising pain soon follows.
"Danny?" He looks up, Erica's face immediately coming into view. "Are you ok?"
Danny sharply turns his head away, wanting to say some kind of mocking remark, but not finding the strength to speak.
He's only once before felt this way, his body, his mind, nothing seems to function as it should. He's a mess of pain, he feels dizzy and sick, his thoughts jumbled and incoherent.
"Danny?" He hears his name once more, but doesn't attempt to acknowledge it, he just wants to go back to sleep.
"It's not that bad." A strange voice enters the conversation, but Danny doesn't care about the owner. He comes in and out of reality, picking up sentences he can't place together.
"We don't have the resources."
"I'm not letting him die."
"You don't know that!"
He feels someone gently grab his good arm, he flinches, the soft touch felling so unfamiliar and foreign.
"It's ok Danny, I'm going to get you help."
Jack finally feels as though they are making process. He'd sent Vivian over to check Danny's apartment, Martin is with forensics, searching the car park, and he and Sam are on their way to interview Danny's brother.
Arriving at the auto shop, the agents are immediately met with a concerned Raffi.
"Hey Silvia told me you were coming, what's up?"
Jack pauses before replying, not sure of how Raffi will react. Danny wasn't exactly close with his brother, but ever since he'd fallen off the tracks, Jack knew Danny had been making more of an effort to be there for him.
The words seem to hit Raffi like a punch in the face. "What! Missing? Since when?"
"Since 11.20 last night, so nearly twelve hours." Twelve hours, Jack hadn't even thought of the hours. Usually this amount is not concerning, usually it means they have thirty-six hours more before time becomes a serious factor, but this situation isn't usual, this one involves a member of his team, who could right now be dead or dying.
"He was shot and abducted…"
"Shit." Raffi cuts him off.
Jack continues, "If there's anything you can think of that could be of some use, please tell us now."
"Na man, I've got no idea. Y-you think he's still alive?"
Jack stares into the anguished features of the older brother, and answers with what he truthfully feels, regardless of the false hope it may be portraying. "Yes, I do."
The fear is instantly lessoned, as Raffi takes comfort in the words.
Suddenly Sam speaks up; Jack had almost forgotten her presence. "Do you know a women named Erica?"
Just like that the comfort is swept away. Raffi mutters curses under his breath; this is not the reaction the senior agent had been hoping for.
"Raffi," Sam grabs his arm, "tell us."
"Don't worry about it." And neither was that. Out of all the replies Jack had running through his head, that was the last one expected, and wanted.
Jack can feel his temper heating up, and he makes no attempt to cool it. "Don't worry? Your brother could be dead, and you're telling us not to worry!"
"Are you sure that Erica was behind it?" Raffi's tone is almost begging, and it's now clear that he'd been relieved by the news of the mystery women.
Jack decides to go with the flow of conversation, while Samantha is once again silent. "No, I'm not, but do you know of anyone else?"
Raffi shuffles uncomfortably under Jack's intense stare. "Yeah I do," comes his muffled reply, "and if Erica's been hanging around, let's hope it was her."
Frustration once again forces Sam to find her voice. "What do you mean? This women's shot Danny before, and he seemed terrified of her, how can that be good?"
Now both agents are giving their best death glares, but Raffi still doesn't elaborate. "Look, I don't know much about the situation, but if it was Erica, he's likely to be back in a few months."
"A few months?" Sam repeats his last words, as if she's having trouble processing them. Jack can feel his anger reaching boiling point, but decides to push it back down, he's not worth wasting it on. Sam obviously doesn't feel the same way, as she makes a move toward Raffi, Jack quickly extents his arm to stop her, and addresses her 'target'.
"And you'd rest the fate of your brothers life on that?"
Raffi looks away, breaking any eye contact. "No, I wouldn't."
"Right then, you're coming down to the office with us, and you're going to tell us everything you know." Jack grabs him roughly by the arm, and escorts him to the car.
Viv stood outside the door; she can't bring herself to enter. She'd gotten the key from the landlord with a flash of her badge, but the hard part was sliding into the lock.
Danny was…is a private person, so Vivian doesn't feel comfortable snooping through his things. But more than anything she wants to see that boy alive and well, she can't imagine the office without up, so putting her emotions aside, for the sake of Danny's welfare, she slips the key in and opens the door.
Sam enters the interrogation room; she swiftly closes the door behind her, and joins Jack who is already seated opposite Rafael. As soon as she's ready Jack pounds right into the man.
"Alright, start from the top, we want to know everything about Erica, and anything else that may be helpful."
Raffi seems nervous, no he is nervous, there's no way anyone can remain calm with Jack breathing down their neck. But there's not really any need for him to fear, well not unless he isn't willing to speak, then he has every right to fear; an angry Jack is definitely no stroll in the park.
"Ok, I meet Erica a while back…"
"How long?" Jack interrupts.
"Um probably about fifteen years ago." He pauses, searching for his words. "She encouraged me to join her, along with some other people, in some kind of group, it didn't take me long to realise it was just a gang.
"So Danny meet her though you?" Sam questions; her tone, an accusing flare.
Raffi sighs. "Well yeah, I made the mistake of telling him about her."
Sam can see the same confusion she feels fly across Jacks face as well, but he beats her to the question. "And he actually wanted to join this gang?" Jack asks in disbelief.
"No, he just wanted to meet her, and she managed to suck him in."
This isn't making any sense, why would Danny want to meet her, especially if he knew what she did, but maybe he didn't. She voices her theory.
"He knew," came Raffi's simple reply.
"Then why was it so important that he met her?"
Raffi gives them both a confused glance. "You really have no idea who she is?"
"That's why we're asking you, so who is she!" Jack demanded his patience growing thin.
Without another moments hesitation Raffi finally gives them the answer they've been looking for. "She's our sister."
For a few seconds no one speaks, as they let the new information sink in. This should explain so much, it gives them a firm connection, something to follow, but for some reason all it does is build up more unwanted emotion from within the female agent; a deep sadness, but most importantly anger. Sam suddenly finds her voice, breaking the fallen silence.
"Sister? But, but she shot him!"
He smiles weakly. "She has a strange way of showing affection."
Jack abruptly recovers, and returns to his pissed off manner. "Is that suppose to be funny!" He snarls at the other man.
Raffi winces back, "Na man, I'm serious. Like I said, she sucked him in, and once you get involved with people like that it's hard to shake them."
He briefly closes his eyes, as if being overwhelmed by scaring flashbacks, "I did."
"So she wouldn't let him leave?" Jack continues, obviously choosing to ignore the reaction.
"He just left, but she'd always come and find him if she thought he was in danger."
"So she thinks he was in danger?"
Now completely back in control, Raffi lifts his head, to meet Jack's eyes, "If she showed up, then yeah."
Sam shallowed hard, as the next sentence slipped from her mouth, "So the real question is whether she took him, or the 'danger' did."
They say that when you first enter a hot country, the air hits you like a wall. It's probably the some with cold, but how can air be compared to a wall, it's not solid, can it even be felt? Maybe it can, but only when it's sticky with sweat, or damp with snow, but one thing's for sure; it will not kill you unless the temperatures are in the extremes. Although if people who live in those countries can handle it, so can you, even if they are use to it andyou are not. It's not the end of the world, move out of your comfort zone, embrace it, welcome it with wide-open arms, and in accepting it you can move on, and be free from such stupid worries.
If only everything was this simple. Replace heat with pain, and replace the air with reality, now who can ignore that? Strange thoughts can come at the weirdest of times, like when bordering on the world of consciousness, body wanting to return, but the mind saying no. The mind is smart, the mind knows what's waiting on the other side of the dark, it's been tricked once, but never again, the mind is smart. But not smart enough to hold it's ground, it doesn't have the strength to stop when the silence is interrupted, the sounds come storming in, followed by the agonising, and only somewhat numbed pain that trails life around on a leash. Nope, not nearly smart enough, not enough to stop that wall from hitting.
The young agent opens his eyes at the sound of his name; this game is becoming all too familiar for his liking.
"Danny we have to go," Erica appears in his vision, behind her bright white paint coats the walls, immediately catching his eye. "You're at the hospital, but you're ok now," she pauses, her expression one of concern, as if she's waiting for him to tell her otherwise. At his silence she continues, "Let's get you up."
He groans as his aching body is pushed up into a sitting position, his mind's still groggy from just waking up, or is itthe drugs, but either way he can't focus enough to realise what's happening.
A few minutes later he's dressed- managing to do this without help- and Erica's now helping him to his feet. Danny doesn't want to leave, his body is exhausted, and all he want's to do is sleep, but he can't muster the strength to argue.
"Come on," she encourages, and in his dream-like state, he unknowingly obliges, allowing his feet to make their first contact with the freezing floor.
He managers to stand up right for a total of three seconds, before his weight immediately topples to one side.
"Damn it," Erica quickly moves to grab him, aiding his balance, and preventing him from meeting the ground. Gently she helps him back to the bed, realising she can't do this on her own. "I'll be right back," Danny makes no attempt to acknowledge her as she rushes out of the room.
His mind is slowly piecing everything back together; he knows where he is, he remembers how he got there, but there's something else, a nagging jolt in his gut trying to tell him something important, but for the life of him, he can't remember what.
"You shouldn't be up!" The stern voice of a woman rattles him from his thoughts. He glances up to see a nurse comestorming into the room. "You should be resting, now come on, let's get you back into bed." She tries to push him back down, but stops when she realises he isn't moving. As much as he wants to sleep, for reasons he can't understand, Erica's waking command slammed into his head, and now as much as he wishes to, he can't disobey, whatever they're got him on, it's seriously screwing him up.
The nurse once again tries to push him back, "Come on, don't make me call the doctor in here."
That's when it clicks, now he understands what his brain has been trying to tell him; he's still a prisoner, he still has to get away.
"Can…" he tries to speak but is interrupted by his dry throat being unable to form the words. A glass of water is raised to his lips; he drinks it thankfully, then quickly resumes his sentence. "C-can I use the, the phone?"
The nurse gazes at him oddly before replying, "Only if you go back to bed after."
At Danny's nod of agreement, she passes him a phone sitting on a nearby table.
His mind's racing as various numbers full his head, he only hopes he can remember the right one, but unfortunately he never gets the chance to try.
"What the hell are you doing!" Erica yells, entering the room with a wheelchair at her side.
The nurse, who is startled by Erica's tone quickly tries to explain, "I was just letting…"
"Thump!" Her sentence is cut short, as a nearby vase is smashed into her head.
"What was that for? She didn't do anything!" It's easy to forget just how violent Erica can be.
"Didn't do anything?" She makes a dash to grab the phone from Danny's clasp, "What do you call this?"
Danny remains silent; it's pointless trying to argue with her when she's like this, so instead he goes with the 'I'm-pissed-off-right-now-don't-talk-to-me' glare, which with being drug induced, was the best he could come up with.
Erica's mood is somewhat cooled, as she grabs Danny's arm, trying to force him into the wheel chair. "Someone might have heard that, we have to go."
He continues with his silence, having no intention what so ever of leaving the hospital with her.
She sighs in a frustrated manner, her eyes flicking wildly around the room looking for anything that may help. An evil smirk slides across her features, as her sight meets it's objective.
Before Danny can even form a thought to stop her, she reaches for his IV line, and carefully turns up the morphine.
The disappointment of defeat flashes before his eyes, he hadn't even remembered it was still there; that was his last coherent thought, before his mind slinks, back into it's numb, dream-like state.
Chapter 9: As Fate Would Have It
Martin returned to the bullpen feeling disappointed with the search. Other than a few darts, forensics were unable to uncover any helpful evidence, he really hoped the others were having more luck
He was just about to sit down at his desk, when his cell phone's piercing call rings out through his ears. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls it out, and answers in the usual work manner, hoping like mad for some good news.
Words from the other line pour through his head, and by the time he's hanging up, he can't help but spread a smile across his lips. This is definitely some of the good news the team has so desperately been craving.
Instantly, he finds himself racing towards the interrogation room, to share this development with his boss.
"Jack!" He barges in, cutting Raffi off mid-sentence. "I just got a call from the hospital, someone matching Danny's description was emitted a few hours ago!"
The three other faces in the room immediately brighten, but Jack beats them to the first question.
"Is he alright?"
Martin pauses, the action causing the once happy features to drop. Perhaps he should have told them the full story first.
"I'm not sure, he's not there anymore."
"What? Did he leave?" Sam questions. "How badly was he hurt?"
"Are you sure it was Danny?" Raffi asks, his expression clearly portraying that he doesn't believe it.
"We're not going to know anything for sure until we see the security tapes. From what I've been told, he'd been emitted with as gun shot wound to his shoulder, he needed a blood transfusion, but a few hours later he was gone, and a nurse was left unconscious in his room." The information was becoming more and more depressing by the second; Martin had honestly thought this news was good. Maybe he'd been waiting for something for so long that any news had become 'good' to his ears. There's no time to dwell on that now, he realises as he's knocked out of his thoughts by Jacks next query.
"Do they think he did it?"
"No, apparently a women smashed a vase over her head."
Raffi sighed, for reasons Martin didn't understand, and Sam took on a frustrated tone. "A woman?" She turns to face Danny's brother, her eyes blaring.
"Yeah, it would have been her."
Jack turns to Martin. "Ok, you and I are going down to the hospital, Sam you stay here and see if you can get anything else from him."
Martin nods, and together they move to leave, Jack asking the name of the hospital on the way.
Upon hearing the name, Raffi suddenly speaks out, halting the departing agents. "Wait," he glances briefly down at the table before locking eyes with Jack, "I think I might know where they are."
Vivian sits nervously awaiting in her car. Jack had called her only minutes before with a location to where they think Danny's being held. She'd also been filled in on the happenings at the hospital, and is still thriving off the happiness that bubbled inside of her at the news of his survival. Her boy is alive, but they still have to get him back, and only when she sees him safe, healthy, and back at work will she be relieved of her fright.
It isn't much longer before two cars come speeding around the bend, coming to a halt a few metres behind her. Viv quickly climbs out to meet her co-workers.
"Jack what's the plan?" Viv asks as soon as the others are in ear shoot.
The boss stares blankly for a few seconds, the question seeming to wash right over him. Viv knew this was a hard decision, to wait for SWAT, or to go in themselves. Either way could mean life or death for Danny, or anyone of the team. They know these people are dangerous, but how much is still unclear.
"We're going in, we can't afford to waste any more time."
Jack's interrupted, when Martin finds a flaw in his plan. "We don't know how many there are, Jack we can't go in there alone."
Both Jack and Sam instantly show their dislike to the words of reason, with mutters of complaints under their breaths.
"Martin's right, we'll have to wait." Viv puts in her opinion, supporting Martin's theory. As much as she wants Danny back, it's no good if another member of the team is hurt in the process.
Jack reluctantly nods, and heads back to his vehicle, not getting in, but leaning impatiently against the car.
Jack can't believe he'd nearly been that stupid, endangering the team like that, with his irrational thinking. Thank god someone was there who still had the power to rationalise their thoughts. He was just so keen to get in there, and get his agent out; a little payback wouldn't hurt either.
The senior agent leans his body further into the vehicle, enjoying the cool sensation from the metal. It's refreshing, like some kind of wake up call, one, which he is truly in need of.
Turning his head, he glances down the road, hoping to catch that first glimpse of the approaching SWAT vehicles. After seconds of nothing, he turns his attention back to the remaining members of his team. They seem to be keeping their distance, respecting Jack's decision to stand-alone. Guilt still haunts him, wrapped up with anxious fear, all boiling a nasty stew within his soul. He looks toward his team's faces, and in them he can see the same turmoil reflected in their solemn expressions. They had to find Danny alive, for the sake of life it's self, they have to.
Danny has now been sitting silently back in his little cell for what feels like hours. The effects of any drugs have long since worn off, and he's left with the horrible truth of why he needed them. Although lessened from earlier, pain still surges through his body with even the slightest twitch of his hand, but at least he's not feeling sick anymore, just tired, exhausted actually, even after his resent sleep.
Danny tenses has the mutter of voices sound from outside his door, but quickly they pass. The thud of more footsteps soon follow, rushed, almost nervously paced. The sick feel suddenly returns as it dawns on the agent what is at hand, something big is going down, another battles due to start.
Disappointment hollows it's way deep into Danny's heart, as he realises he's failed. He came so close to getting out, to contacting help, yet somehow he still failed, and now he's right back where he started. He also realises this is the end. Even if he manages to survive whatever mission they have in store, Garcia will find some way to end his life, but maybe it won't be so bad. If fate doesn't reunite him with the team, maybe death would be better than wasting away in the internal darkness that the gang so happily holds.
There's a click in the door, and Danny immediately stands to meet the oncoming person. He doesn't want to do any of this, but whatever the mission is, it could be his chance to escape.
A depressed sigh leaves his throat, as he's lead from the prison; he really wishes the team were here.
Finally SWAT had arrived, to Sam and the rest of the team they couldn't have come sooner, she'd felt for sure Jack had been on the verge of going in alone. None of that matters now, cause they're here, and in small groups have made their way cautiously into the building.
One from each of the team followed a different group of SWAT members down the dulling tunnel. Sam wonders if anyone's actually feeling as nervous as she is, they probably are, but they aren't showing any signs, but unlike them, she had something more riding on the success of this 'hunt'.
"Bang!" The distant fire of a gun echoes down the hall, causing SWAT to go into full on alert: there pace quickening, and their movements becoming firmer. Sam shallows back her nerves, and moves onto a power walk to match their stride.
A mass of people come racing out from somewhere up ahead; shouting something in Spanish, with their guns blaring.
The SWAT members pull apart, ducking for cover in nearby tunnels, but keep their own weapons fixed on the danger.
"BANG!" Shots are exchanged, but no one from either side seems to be falling. Every time she hears a shot, Sam can't help but worry about who may be on the receiving end. 'But he's hurt, he won't be there,' the sudden thought jumps to mind; actually it's more like a hope, a depressing one at that. The shooters advance, ok more like run stupidly towards SWAT, a plan that strangely, seems to work, as they scatter.
"SWOSH," a bullet flies past Sam's ear, and into the wall behind her. Her heart beats hard in her chest, and her breathing's a mess of nerves, but she manages to keep herself in check.
Suddenly some movement catches her eye, turning her head, she can just spot the frame of a person rushing about further down from where she's standing. The agent knows she should alert SWAT, but they seem to have their hands full, so she slightly insanely, although with great caution, makes her way towards the unknown subject,
There's a pat of footsteps and the figure is gone, swearing under her breath, she approaches the spot, and finds herself faced with another weave of tunnels, but this time there's a small, dull light flickering in the distance. A tiny sense of achievement flashes through her, as she takes her first step towards it, her heart full of hope.
"Dofh," her foot catches on something soft on the ground, causing her to trip and momentary loose her balance. Figuring because there is nobody about it may be ok to use a torch, she dips into a pocket, grabbing for her source of light.
Flicking it on, it takes a few seconds for her eyes to adjust, but when they do she notices her assaulter: a large black hoody that's been discarded on the floor. A strange thought sparks through her mind, and she so desperate to get Danny back, that against all judgement, she decides to go with this 'strange' idea.
Viv's SWAT guys had been needlessly firing on what they supposedwasthe 'enemy,' and somewhere in all the commotion, she had found herself alone in the maze like structure. The senior agent stumbles through the tunnel using all her will power not to go against the 'no torch' rule, and give away her position.
Her judgement, and everything about her actions are off, as she knows is the same with the rest of the team. Their concern for their fellow member is destroying every protocol they've ever been taught, but somehow, Viv can't find it within her to care.
A thump ahead jolts her back into reality, causing her grip on her weapon to tighten in her hands. A figure stumbles towards her, and before she can even think to react, a face comes into view, a very familiar face.
"Oh my god, Danny?"
Chapter 10: Lost & Found
"Danny?" Viv can't believe her eyes, in all this chaos, she actually managed to find him, or maybe he found her.
"V-Viv, what are you doing here?" his voice is shaky and weak.
She immediately notices his bloody arm, lying limply at his side, and feels her eyes begin to tear. "Why do you think I'm here," she replies, her own voice thick with emotion. Taking a few steps closer, she tries to examine him for further wounds. "Are you ok?" She knows it's a stupid question, clearly he's not, he was shot for goodness sakes, but it seemed to be a logical thing to say, and his answer could definitely be an aid to the intense concern blazing within her.
"I-I, yeah, I'm…ok."
Viv frowns at his hesitation, and then suddenly notices the growing space between them. "Danny?"
He continues to step back, his eyes searching frantically for seemingly nothing, his breathing quickens, and Viv can faintly hear the mutter of frightened words.
"Danny?" she tries again, taking another step toward him, only to have him further the distance even more. "What's wrong?"
He ignores her question, his mind in other places, but Viv's not about to give up.
"It's ok, we're going to get you out, you'll be safe."
He quickly shakes his head, finally calmed down enough to hear her words. "No Viv…" he pauses, deep in troubled thought, "this is all my fault."
Vivian closes the space, gently grabbing his arm, half in comfort, half in fear of him running away. "No, none of it's your fault," she pulls him into a hug, careful not to agitate his wound, "why would you possibly think that?"
There's a brief instant where he relaxes in her embrace, before suddenly tensing and pushing her away, the action causing Viv a hint of hurt.
He turns to the ground, unwilling to look Viv in the eyes. "What if one of you gets hurt or killed, it'll be my fault, this is my mess, I shouldn't have got any of you dragged into this."
"Danny, it's a risk we were all willing to take. Do you have any idea how worried we've all been, especially Jack." Viv reasons.
"Yes, he ran after that van for blocks."
Danny cracks a small smile, "He ran?"
Viv mirrors Danny's expression, happy for a sign of life within him, and amused by his reaction. "He did," she replies, unable to keep a small chuckle from escaping her throat, "and he all know how Jack feels about running."
Their surroundings soon click back into Danny's mind, as he once again becomes nervous. This is definitely a concern to Viv, but now is no time to dwell; they have to get out of here. "Come, let's find the others."
Once again she gently grabs his arm, and as she starts to pull him back through the twist of tunnels, she tugs her cell phone from her pocket, with only one goal in her mind: getting out alive.
Sloping against a nearby wall, Jack manages to catch a few desperately needed breaths. This pointless firing is truly getting them nowhere, they still haven't found Danny, and now he has no idea where, and how the rest of the team are.
"Thhhhb, thhhhb," just then Jack's cell phone's silent call vibrates from his jacket, causing him to immediately grab for it.
"Malone," although his voice is lowered under the situation, none of it's firmness, or boss-like attitude has departed.
"Jack it's Viv, I found him!"
Great joy and relief overcomes Jack, 'she found him,' he's alive and… in all his happiness from hearing those long awaited words he forgot to ask one important question.
"Is he ok?"
Viv pauses, causing Jack's now growing nerves to rise further. "Viv?" he tries again.
"Yes he is, or so he says." The senior agents not altogether happy with that answer, but as long as he's talking, walking, and breathing, it'll do for now.
"Ok where are you?"
Viv quickly explains her situation.
Jack closes his eyes with silent frustration, two of his agents are alone, only one of them is armed, and there are hundreds of people running around shooting at anything that moves.
Danny waits patiently as Vivian finishes up her conversation with Jack. The agent's eyes keep moving from his friend, to the darkness that lay around them. He knows this is too easy, they're not going to make it out, and thanks to him Viv maybe killed, and as glad as he is that she found him, he's not about to risk her an idea pops into his head, it isn't the best, in fact it's horrible, but what else can he do. Taking a few steps back, he uses the dark to his advantage, as it slowly cloaks his figure, creating a wall right between him and Viv's line of vision.
His decision still laying heavily on his heart, he starts to make his way back to find Erica, and try to stop this mess, before it's too late, but before he can move out of ears shot, he catches some of Viv's words.
"No Jack, I have no idea which way I went."
And it hits him, if he leaves Viv's as good as dead, she has a much better change with his direction, even with the danger he may bring.
Having nothing more to say to Jack, Viv ends the conversation. Glancing up, she searches the area for Danny, fright buzzing through her when she realises he's no longer in view.
"Danny?" She calls out, her voice cracking with anxious fear. This isn't suppose to happen, she can't lose him again after only just finding him. "Danny!" she tries again, hoping she's not talking to empty darkness.
Suddenly a voice emerges, and with that, a figure. "Yeah Viv, I'm still here."
Viv frowns in confusion, his voice is in monotone, his whole body is screaming some sort of defeat; it's now clear to her what's running through his mind.
She gently touches his arm, "Danny we are going to make it out of here, all of us together."
He turns his head to look at her, but his gaze seems to go straight through her, his eyes almost dead, unable to see anything, but the appending doom. Before he allows himself to speak his mind, he quickly changes to the task at hand, "Come on, it's this way," making Vivian feel that finding him may not solve all of their problems.
Only moments ago Martin had received a call from Jack telling him of their current situation. Although there was some bad news that came with it, the good far out weighed; Danny is alive, and has been found. Now if they can only get to him and Viv before anyone else does, this whole incident can be put behind them.
The plan has been rewritten, now Martin follows SWAT back the way they came, to head off the direction they think Viv might have gone. Lucky for Martin, his group haven't come across any others amongst the dark, but there's still plenty of time and space for that to change.
Minutes later they approach another team, Martin makes no hesitation in talking to them, but seeing none of the mp team around, he guesses it must be Viv's'.
"You were with Agent Johnson?" Martin asks, just to be sure.
"No, Agent Spade." the man replies.
Martin swiftly scans the area, looking for any sign of her presence, finding none; he turns an angry glare towards the man.
"Well where is she?" His voice is cold, clearly projecting his new dislike for this man, while cloaking wonderfully his concern and fear for Sam.
The man doesn't seem to be intimidated in the slightest, his expression completely blank. "She must have left."
"Left? When? Whereabouts?"
"I don't know, we're covered a lot of ground."
Martin feels he's about to slam this guys head in, now they've gone from searching for one agent to searching for three. He calms himself with a few deep breaths, realising that nothing good can come from following the delightful images flying through his head, these are the good guys, and whether Martin likes it or not, he needs their help.
"Ok, you'll need to backtrack then."
"No, we've got to get down this way, the odds are she didn't stay put."
The agent opens his mouth, to argue, forgetting everything he'd just rationalized, and tell this guy where to go, but unfortunately he's stopped by one of the men from his own group.
"We've got guys everywhere, someone will find her."
This does nothing to calm his worry, but before he can further express his hate, Martin pulls out his phone, dialling Sam's number, and hoping for SWAT's sake she'll answer.
Sam jumps with fright, as her phones sharp cry cuts through the silence surrounding her. She quickly moves to grab it, hoping it didn't betray her presence.
"Sam," Martin's relieved tone echoes through her ears. "Are you ok? Where are you?"
"I'm fine, and I'd have no idea."
She hears Martin sigh, half his fears obviously confirmed.
"Did Jack talk to you?" His tone hints at least something is going alright, she only wishes it's to do with Danny.
"Viv found Danny." Sam can feel her mood instantly lighten; he's going to be alright!
"But…" Her heart sinks; a 'but' is never a good sign. "She's also lost her SWAT team."
Sam's about to reply, when some voices up ahead begin shouting, quickly silencing her. In a hushed tone she rushes to end the call. "I've got to go, I'll call you back later." Hanging up the phone, she cuts Martin's protest off mid-sentence.
The agent ducks down another tunnel, squatting low; she hopes she'll go unnoticed as the voices pass.
"Vamos! If we don't get him back Erica's gonna kill us."
"No hombre, she's gonna kill you."
"Maybe we should let Garcia get to him, save us all some trouble."
Fear slowly creeps back into her mind; they have to be talking about Danny, but what if they find him? What will they do to him? What will they do to Viv?
"Hey!" Sam's heart leaps; thinking her hiding spot has been uncovered, but to her relief, another voice answers.
"Ey, a dónde van ustedes?"
"We'll all meeting up in the entrada, the plans changed since the cops stormed us.
"What! The cops?'
"Yeah, they're everywhere, killed some of our guys already."
They start to move away so Sam can't catch anymore of their conversation, but it's enough to understand what's going on. Hastily making up her mind, she jumps from her spot, and quietly follows.
Not long into her stalk, Samantha soon hears more voices approaching from behind. Working quickly, she pulls the large sweatshirt over her head, and tugs the hood low over her face, hoping the disguise will be good enough in the dim light.
Sam holds her breath, fear pumping through her veins, as the group passes her, but without a second glance, they join her in their group. Her fear is lessened, but relief is still miles away, for if the tunnels get any lighter, she's sure to be caught out.
Shouting up ahead grabs her attention, as two familiar voices cut through the air.
Chapter 11: From Bad to Worse
For the last ten minutes Vivian has been asking every question that could possibly give her some idea of what is currently occurring, but to her dismay, Danny has either given some poor shrug off excuse, or ignored her completely. Viv understands that he's scared, these people shot and kidnapped him, but what she doesn't understand is that in some strange of kind of way, Danny's protecting them. Raffi was right; this family does have a warped concept of love.
"Danny, you don't have to do this."
"Do what?" He asks, his face drawn away from Viv's view.
"You don't owe them anything… or her. She lost the rights to that along time ago." Suddenly he stops, and sharply turns towards her, his voice a low whisper, "You don't know what you're talking about."
Viv's slightly taken aback by the swift change in his mood, but is not put off of adding her opinion, regardless to the fact she knows she should back-off. "Danny, she's caused you a lot of pain, she even shot you, for gods sakes, why are you letting her get away with it?"
His silence tells her he's unable to respond, he really does have no idea, or otherwise he's just not willing to share it.
He turns away again, and tries to continue walking, but by gently touching his arm, Viv is able to halt his movements. "I'm sorry Danny, I know she's your family, and as many times as you turn away from her she'll still always be there, but you need to try."
He opens his mouth to respond, but instead is cut off by the heavy stomp of boots, and a tall figure emerging from the dark.
"Well, look who I found."
Viv's breath catches in her throat, and she can't help but wish her new heart would stop pounding so loudly, she can barely make out what's being said. She can feel Danny's tense form close by, and knows that hers is much the same. Helplessness sores through her, she's unable to react now, pulling out her weapon would only likely lead to her death, but by not doing so, is she just prolonging the inevitable?
"Where were you going?" A harsh looking man at the front of the group questions, unable to hide a sickening snicker from his tone.
The questions obviously directed at Danny, but he remains silent, standing perfectly still, his eyes burning into the man.
The fear running through him causes Danny to take a few steps back, and out of the corner of his eye, he sees Viv follow suit. There's no way out of this, they'll grab him again, probably inflicting more pain in the process, and then they'll deal with Viv. If they kill her, there's no way he'll be able to live with himself, the guilt would be constantly swarming through his mind, that it's all his fault, that we might as well have been the one to pull the trigger. No, he can't let that happen, Viv is his friend, and she didn't give up on finding him, so why should he give up on her now.
Quickly forming a plan, he puts it into action, too bad he didn't think it all the way through, to the terrible consequences that will no doubt, be caused.
In one sift motion, Danny manages to position himself in front of Viv, and give the man a hard thump in the face.
The man stumbles backwards, giving a shout of anger, or possibly pain, at Danny's sudden action.
The agent smirks in satisfaction, despite his aching body, when he notices the crimson liquid dripping from the man's nose.
"Te arrepentirás de eso," the man threatens, and before Danny or Viv can react further, the group attacks.
Two men roughly shove Danny into the wall, he cries out in pain as his shoulder comes into contact with the hard stone.
"Danny!" Vivian shouts his name, and he catches her movement towards him, but she only takes a few steps before a sickening thud echoes through the tunnel.
For a few seconds Danny's dumbstruck, unable to react even mentally, but Viv's falling body soon changes that.
As soon as her limp form collapses on the ground, it's like something switches on within his mind. He darts forward once again, but this time with no hesitation he's slammed back against the wall.
Something hard and cold connects with his skull, and as he sees his surroundings begin to blur, one lone thought stings painfully through his mind, 'she's dead.'
Tears burn at Samantha's eyes, and she barely notices the group has begun to move, until someone pushes her from behind.
This can't be happening; this is supposed to be a rescue mission, no one else was supposed to get hurt. She realises Viv's probably not dead, the hit over the head may have been powerful enough to knock her unconscious, but Sam doubts it did any serious damage, or so she hopes. She wishes she could check, or to call for help, but that would only lead to her also laying on the ground. There's only one thing the young agent can currently do without blowing her cover, and that's to take note of which way she's come, and as soon as she can, she'll backtrack, hopefully with Danny in tow.
Danny… Sam wonders if he's also alright, he didn't look like he could take any more damage. Though surely they don't want him dead, but then again, as they carelessly drag his out cold body across the dirt-ridden floor, they don't exactly seem to have his wellbeing in mind.
The group continues to briskly march to their destination, and with every step, Sam can feel any calmness she still holds, slip away into the engulfing darkness. Her eyes are in a trance-like state, unable to move from her fellow agent, in fear that he'll disappear once again. If she didn't need the cloak of dark to keep her hidden, she'd wish it gone in a second, just so she'd have that extra chance to spot the rise and fall of breathing within her friend's chest.
At first Sam had barely notices it, but as they descend further through the tunnel, it becomes more and more apparent. One of her fears is coming true, the darkness that has been surrounding them for so long is slowly but surely dissipating, making way for cursed fresh light. She tries to keep her head low, hoping with all the movement she'll be over looked. With a quick glance up, she can clearly make out the facial features of those her, so surely they'd be able to do the same with hers. Just when she's about to give up hope of ever making it out of this place, they round a corner, and the light intensifies, temporarily blinding the agent. Once adjusted she catches her first glimpse of what they are really up against…oh shit.
After the final group either ran off or were killed, Jack hadn't come across any others on their path. He really hoped Viv, Danny and the rest were having the same amount of luck, but a horrible gut-wrenching feeling was telling him otherwise.
Not being able to handle his paranoia any longer, he finally gives in and grabs his cell phone from within his coat. It can't have been more than 15 minutes since he last called, but in his mind, and in this situation, 15 minutes is more than enough time for anything to go wrong.
Pressing number 2 on speed dial, he waits nervously for Vivian to pick up. The seconds seem to tick by at an alarmingly slow pace, stretching the time out, and pushing it into his mind, feeding Jack's growing terror. After hanging up and redialling serval times, the senior agent finally accepts the truth that she's not going to pick up. The new revolution is easily enough to send Jack deep back into his resurrecting emotions of guilt, and not to mention intense fear, but for some unknown reason, something is holding him up, preventing his fall. Maybe it's because lately his 'gut-wrenching' feelings have been correct in telling him something is wrong, and although he ignored the first one, when he brought Danny out into the field, he has no intention of repeating the action. Right now he's being told to block this information out, store it somewhere, and deal with it when the time comes, and that time isn't now. Now is the time to be in full-agent mode.
One of the SWAT guys approaches, questioning Jack with a slightly concerned expression. "What's happened?"
"I can't get through to one of my agents," Jack explains, all emotion absent from his tone.
The man nods, taking in the information. "What do you want to do?'
"I want to finish this, and get the hell out of here, without any casualties, but somehow I don't think I'm going to get my wish." This time the tone's laced with a deep bitterness, for the man, or the situation, Jack isn't sure.
The man glances nervously at the agent, not knowing what to say to the comment.
Jack realises he's just wiped away everything, that only seconds before he agreed too do, but it's easier said than done when it comes to his team. Straightening himself out, he falls back into the original plan.
"We need to finish clearing this area quickly, and join back up with another group, we're spread too thin, and there are too many of us unaccounted for."
The man nods once more, and turns to repeat Jacks orders back to his team.
Samantha has never been one to swear, but this situation definitely calls for harsh words of some kind. Fear grasps her so tightly she almost forgets to breathe, and upon doing so, she's instantly forced to take another, as the air isn't enough to fill her lungs, let alone steady her racing heart. The group has just entered a large hall, and now she's completely surrounded by people, more than several times the amount of guys SWAT brought in. There's no way they can win this, even with SWAT being professionals, for these people are clearly no strangers to weapons, as nearly all of them are visibly armed.
Sam glances up at the sound of a female voice calling out, and standing upon a bench, several metres from her position, there's none other then Erica herself. The woman jumps down, and the crowds part, letting her make her way towards Danny. An angry looking man who was standing along side her on the bench follows her, irritation plainly displayed on his face.
"What happened?" She questions as soon as she catches sight of Danny's limp form. She knells down beside him, and gently tries to stir him. At his unco-operative manner of not waking up, Erica fixes an accusing glare on the one who she figures is responsible. "Well, I'm waiting."
Sam can't understand it, Erica actually seems generally worried about her- dare she say it- brother's wellbeing. Wasn't she the one who shot him, who caused him all this pain by bringing him to this place? But regardless, there it is, real concern.
"Corre y cuéntame!"
At more silence, the man behind her interjects. "Does it matter? He's alive, and we have more important things to deal with."
Sam couldn't be sure, but that really sounded like resentment in his tone. Perhaps it was, because from Erica's reaction, she seemed to hear it too.
"Yes he is alive, and no thanks to you, from what I hear!"
"Look you puta, yeah I'm not a big fan of the guy, but I have better things to do, and so do you…"
That's the last thing Sam could understand before they change to Spanish, and their conversation turns into a loud dispute. It's quite clear that these two hold some kind of leadership over the others, as most remain quiet through the exchange, and no one attempts to interfere.
"Garcia!" A voice finally silences the two. "We've located a group of feds coming up the north-east tunnel, they're heading this way, do you want me to handle them?"
Sam holds her breath as she waits for an answer; her mind pondering the many meanings 'handle them' could have.
Erica, and the one Sam now knows is Garcia exchange a glance, each probably considering a plan of action.
"We don't have time," Erica answers.
Garcia nods in agreement, and turns to address the crowd.
"We stick to the original plan, id ahora!"
The people around her start to move away, and Sam's left standing there, wondering what the hell she should do. She could wait until everyone's gone, and try her luck the Garcia and Erica…two gang leaders, who'd have no issues with killing her on the spot, or she can hang back in the shadows, and wait until they leave, to follow them. After much consideration, she decides to go with the later, but whilst waiting she might as well try to get in contact with one of the team.
Once alone, and out of hearing distance, Sam grabs her cell phone ready to call Jack, but stops instantly when Garcia approaches. Her heart starts pounding loudly in her chest, she was so sure that she couldn't be spotted from where she stood, obviously she was wrong. Grabbing her gun, she clutches it firmly in both hands, ready to fire at any second, if need be.
A wave of relief overcomes her as he walks straight past, and out of the hall, but she stays frozen in position for a while longer, waiting for the fright to wear off. Feeling her pulse return to normal rhythm, she spares a quick glance to where Garcia departed, seeing nobody in view, she relaxes slightly, and turns her attention back to Danny, who is now alone with just Erica in the room. This may be Sam's best and only opportunity to get Danny out of here, so ignoring any fear that tries to hold her back; she steps out from the cloak of shadow, and aims her weapon directly at the cause of this nightmare.
Te arrepentirás de eso You're going to regret that
Corre y cuéntame Hurry up and tell me!
Id ahora! Now go!
Chapter 12: Clearing the Field
"F.B.I! Step away from him, and keep your hands where I can see them!" In her own ears, Sam's voice sounds steady and confident, but in reality it's quite the opposite, and she only hopes that it's not detectible to Erica.
Erica jumps up and immediately draws her gun, but doesn't take aim.
Sam remains unfazed and approaches further, closing in the distance between them, not really wanting to kill Danny's sister unless it can't be avoided.
"You," comes Erica's only reply, neither tone nor expression giving away her inner thoughts.
She takes a quick glance down to Danny's still unmoving form, and then shoots a pissed-off glare back in Sam's direction. "You can leave now and I won't bother shooting you."
Sam's anger begins to fuel, and her fear is replaced by hate. "Since I'm not the one with a weapon in their face, I don't really think you should be making the threats."
With that Erica raises her gun, a thin smirk covering her features, but before another word can be said, a loud bang brakes through the hall.
Danny's eyes snap open, his vision's swarming inside his pounding head. Loud voices come screeching into his ears, fuelling the tense headache wrapped around his skull. He wants to lie there forever, let the time fly by, and pretend the past didn't happen, that this his just a nightmare formed from someone else's warped imagination. Maybe his whole life was a dream, and soon he'll wake up to find he's been in a coma for the last twenty years. It's something lurking on the edge of everyone's subconscious, something people fear, but now Danny's beginning to think it might not be so bad, starting over new, it sounds… good.
Not wanting to cope with reality he closes his eyes once again and allows his mind to doze off.
Samantha's brain switches on has she realises what she has just done. The hate drains instantly away and she is once again left with the fear. Oh god she just killed Danny's sister.
Struggled movement catches her eye, and the agent rushes forward careful to first separate gun from owner.
"Erica?" Sam tries to gain the women's attention, while carefully trying to slow the blood flowing from her chest.
"W-well," comes her strained tone, "I didn't t-think you ha-had it in y-you."
She really did hate the women for all that she's put Danny through in his life, but somehow he still seems to have a connection with his sister, and in no way does Sam want to be the one who killed her.
Sam quickly grabs her phone, terror bursting through her, as her fingers travel over the needed buttons.
"I need an ambulance to…oww!" Sam's phone clatters to the ground, and light pain speeds up her leg. "What the hell did you do that for," Sam screams in Erica's direction, "I was trying to help you!"
Erica pushes further away from Sam, and somehow after also finding the strength to kick the agent, she mangers to move her body into something close to a sitting position.
"I-if you think br-bringing more people here is h-helping you're out of your m-mind."
Sam was about to point out the irony of that statement, but decides against it as the next words falls from Erica's mouth.
"Leave now, or I swear you'll end up dead."
To say the least Sam's shocked, somehow even on deaths door step this women still mangers to send out threats when obviously there's no way she can back them up.
"Not without Danny."
Erica glances over to him once more, a sadness lingering on her expression.
"He's dead, n-no matter where he, he goes or what he goes, he's d-dead."
Sam can't believe this; she'll have her own brother killed just to spite everyone else, what kind of person could do that? "How can you say that? He's your brother!"
"I-I would n-never kill him! I l-love him, he's my little brother and, and I-I never wanted anything bad t-to happen to him."
Finally Sam's beginning to see how Erica's mind may be working, but she's very far from understanding. "I think that changed the moment he meet you."
"Ma-maybe… yeah I-I guess it did, but, but he was n-never going to die on m-my watch."
Once again Sam's lost. "Then why did you bring him here?"
"To pro-protect him, you d-don't know what they are capable of." She reaches out gently touching Danny's hand.
Sam's tone softens, and she kneels down beside them. "Then tell me, why are you running from them?"
Erica lifts her hand and pulls away from Danny, the moment suddenly gone. "It doesn't matter, but you, you'll f-find out soon enough. You, you have to go now, before one of my guys k-kills you."
"These people that you're running from, you think they'll catch up to him now?"
She shakes her head, "No, not, not them," and although her gaze remains fixed on her brother, her now resentful tone points directly to Sam. "You r-really have no idea w-what you, you're just done." She turns, her cold eyes locking with the female agents, "for your own g-good I su-su-suggest that you don't tell him it was, it was y-you, no ma-matter what our re-relation, o-our relationship looks like, he'll still hate you for it."
Sam shallows heavily, remaining silent, a sudden sick feeling rinsing over her. A thought then comes to mind, causing her to find her voice. "If we get you to a hospital right now, you won't…you won't die. I can help you, if you let me."
That same thin smirk from earlier creeps across the gang leader's face, "Now, why would I want that?"
Martin is nothing but a mess of worry and anger. Sam still hasn't called back, and Martin doesn't want to risk her safety by calling and possibly compromising her position. So he has no choice, but to wait, or find her, and Viv and Danny. But in the meantime, he's not letting these SWAT guys take control; he walks in front of the group, questioning their every move, waiting for them to backtrack.
"What was that?" Someone breaks their fallen silence.
Everyone freezes listening for any sounds around them. Martin feels his heart rate suddenly increase, as a groan escapes from something close. Swiftly grabbing his torch, the agent doesn't hesitate to unearth the culprit, no fear now flowing through him, as several guns are aimed in that direction.
"V-Viv?" Martin stumbles, not believing his eyes. Still in shock, but also panic, he rushes to her side. "Viv, w-what happened?" he asks, while helping her still silent form to her feet.
"Oh god, Danny." Viv whispers, her tone fill of sorrow and a hint of self-loath.
Martin spins the torch around the area, hoping for some sign of Danny, but to his utter dismay, there's no one in sight. How can this happen? This isn't fair, they'd come so close, they'd actually found him, and now just like that, he's been taken away once more.
"Are you ok?" He asks, his attention drawn back to Vivian, worry for her welfare in his mind.
The senior agent glances up to him, her expression displaying clearly what's running through her head. She's blaming herself for not being able to protect Danny, that she couldn't stop them from taking him again.
"We've got to keep moving," one of the unwanted SWAT guys interrupts.
Martin glares at him, but says nothing. Vivian, suddenly finding her voice, takes that moment to explain.
"We didn't see them coming, there was a whole group." She stops and reaches her hand up to her head, pulling it back, Martin gulps, instantly noticing the blood covering her fingers. "He was trying to protect me." She stares into his eyes, not acknowledging her obvious wound.
"Come on, we need to get you out of here." Martins turns to SWAT, "We've got to get Agent Johnson medical attention," he explains.
The SWAT guy nods, "Ok, inform your boss we're leaving the building."
Sam watches in horror as Erica draws her last few breaths, before slumping to the side, unmoving. For a few seconds Sam is unable to react, Erica's words running through her mind. She's right, Danny will definitely resent her for killing his sister, but what choice did she have, Erica would have killed her first, given the chance. It was self-defence; surely Danny can understand that, well hopefully he can. Her dwelling is interrupted as the person in question begins to stir.
"S-Sam?" a soft voice mumbles, immediately grabbing her attention.
Relieved as she is that he's conscious, Sam can't help but feel terrified, at the thought of soon having to explain his sister's death. He doesn't need the added stress right now, but maybe she can avoid the question, if she can stop Danny from seeing the body. Feeling guilty enough as it is, this will probably only add to it, but she has to do what's best for Danny, or at least that's what she's trying to convince herself.
Sam rushes to aid her co-worker, "Yeah it's me, are you ok?" she gently asks, while positioning herself in front of Erica, hopefully hiding her from his view.
He stares up at her, his eyes are shadowed with pain and doubt. He's visibly drained, barely having enough energy to stay awake, and his expression is one of absolute defeat.
"It's alright, we're going to get you out of here," she tries to reassure him.
He doesn't acknowledge her words, and instead tries to climb into a sitting position. Sam quickly moves to help him, taking some of the pressure, of his tired and sore body. More of Erica's words spill into her head, the danger she emphasised that Danny's life is in, striking firmly in her mind. Sam realises she has to act fast, they have to get out of here now, but unfortunately there are still two problems with that, one, she doesn't know the way, and two, and they have to go back and get Viv.
Deciding to find his voice once more, Danny breaks her trail of thought. "I'm sorry Sam," he mutters, his tone portraying her earlier assumptions.
"For what?" she asks, her guilt suddenly building at her relief of his slightly incoherent manner.
"For, for e-everything, for…" he stutters, stoping mid-sentence, and shaking his head, as if unwilling to continue.
"It's ok, it doesn't matter," she replies, tears burning at her eyes. She places her arm around his shoulder in an attempt to steady his wobbling stature. "We've got to get moving," she coaxes, "do you think you can walk?"
Danny hesitates as though he wants to add something to his recent answer, but instead, he silently nods and lets the subject drop. Sam notices this, but has to let it go, she has too much to concentrate on, and they can't stay put any longer.
With a bit of struggle, Sam mangers to get Danny to his feet.
"What's that?" Danny questions, gesturing towards the body.
Sam freezes, thinking she's been caught out; her guilt is over powering her as she turns in the direction, trying to hide her terror.
Staring Danny in the eyes she braces herself for the onslaught on questions, as recognition sets in. She waits, her nerves rattling, but after a few seconds she realises that it's probably not going to come. Her concern triples, as she realises that Danny barely has any idea of what's going on, he's far worse than she thought. Just how hard did they hit his head? Inspecting him closely Sam notices his eyes are unfocused, they're wondering off around the room but oblivious to what surrounds them.
"Danny?" She asks, trying to attract his attention. To her relief, he glances towards her, but remains quiet. Does he even remember enquiring about the body, she wonders, but decides not to draw attention to it by asking him.
The best thing she can do for Danny right now, is to get him out of here, or at least find one of the team, hey, she'll even be happy with SWAT.
Using her own body to support his weight, Sam managers, to amble out of the hall, she would have preferred a much faster pace, with the fear of being shot at any second resting on her mind, but beggars cannot be choosers.
"Is she ok?" Jack questions worry lacing his tone, as Martin informs him he's found Vivian.
"She's banged her head pretty hard, I think the sooner we get her medical attention the better," Martin's voice edges through the phone; his concern is also clearly highlighted by his tone.
"And there was no sign of Danny," Jack asks, still feeling hopeful, even though the answer is painfully clear.
"No," his agent bleakly replies.
Jack sighs, the thinking that maybe they won't find Danny. If he gets taken out of this building they will be back to square one, with no idea where to look, and no leads to follow. The senior agent is beginning to regret his decision to bring the team in here, of course they would all do anything in their power to get Danny back safely, but at what cost. Viv is now hurt, Sam is gods knows where, and they are still no closer to finding Danny. He can imagine how it would have gone down with the team, 'I'm going into the building to find Danny, and you all can stay out here and wait.' As much as we would have rather it that way, there was no way the team would sit back and do nothing. A soft smile tugs at his lips; he really is privileged to work with a group of people who care so much about one another. He can't loose that; he can't loose any of them.
"Jack?" Martin's voice jolts him from his thoughts.
"Um, yeah, ok, contact me as soon as you make it out."
Martin agrees, and saying their goodbyes, he hangs up.
Jack stares out into the abyss of darkness in front of him, somewhere in this twist of tunnels his agents are waiting for him. They are counting on him to find them, to guide them out of this mess, and Jack for one, has no intention of letting them down.
Chapter 13: Obstacles
It takes a few seconds, and a burning feeling in his throat for Danny to realise he's holding his breath. He thinks it may be half out of fear, but mostly because of the enormous amount of pain streaming through his exhausted body. But he doesn't make a sound, he can't let Sam see his weakness, not anymore than she already has.
Glancing around, he feels as though a fog has been lifted from his mind, everything is now clearer; his thoughts are forming coherent sentences, rather then the mess of words from minutes before. Unfortunately, with coherency comes realisation and a harsh dose of reality. He remembers Viv, but he can't bear to tell Sam about her end, at least not right now, he doesn't want to face the disappointment and grief.
He suddenly stops dead in his tracks, his mind connecting pieces of scattered information, and a cold feeling of what lays behind them creeps into his head.
"Danny? What is it, are you ok?" Sam asks, her voice tight with worry.
He ignores her question, and swiftly turns around, pushing away from Sam so he's standing without her aid. Facing the darkness, he can almost see something, some kind of shadow lurking in the distance, it's watching them, but strangely it does not approach. He shakes his head, trying to convince himself that it's not real, it can't be, but maybe he's not as coherent as he originally thought. He steps back, as he feels his breathing start to quicken, knowing that his paranoid fear is compelling him, but being unable to reason with it.
"Danny?" Sam tries again. He feels her gentle touch on his arm, and somehow manages to respond, desperately attempting to concentrate on her, rather than the shadow. Failing, he instead opts for both.
"What's back there?" He asks, his voice unsteady with fear.
A mix of confusion and horror crosses Sam's features, and she does nothing but stare into his eyes, completely dumbstruck.
"Umm, ah, w-what do you mean?" She finally asks, stumbling with her words.
Danny doesn't notice, he's too busy trying to win his mental war, and with one last struggle for power, he finally manages to grab control of his mind, clicking reality back in.
"I'm sorry Sam," he mutters, while rubbing his hands over his face. "I think the stress is getting to me."
She appears somewhat relieved. "It's ok, definitely understandable," she replies, giving him a small sympathetic smile, "but let's continue moving."
He nods in agreement, and taking one last glimpse into the dark, he turns his back on it, and attempts to forget what his subconscious has been trying to tell him.
"So, um what happened?" Sam asks after a few minutes, breaking their fallen silence.
Danny glances at her, realising the conversation is to keep her mind off the fear, which in his opinion isn't a bad idea. Walking round dark deserted tunnels for minutes on end, expecting to be shot at any second isn't exactly the greatest experience.
"What happened when?" he enquires, not entirely sure about what she's referring to.
She hesitates a moment before meeting his eyes. "Here, what, umm what did they do to you?" She explains, slightly cringing at her own words.
Danny stares at her in disbelief, he'd honestly had no intention what so ever of telling anyone anything about his experiences here, he'd much rather just forget they ever happened, but still, he'd have to emitted her timing is kind of amusing. "You're asking me this now?"
"Well I could start up a conversation about the weather, but somehow, it doesn't seem relevant," she replies, the tension slipping away from her tone.
Danny cracks a smile despite the seriousness of the situation. It feels good to smile again, he knows it hasn't been that long, but he actually thought he wouldn't get to have these moments with any of the team again, and although he is terrified for Sam's safety, it really is comforting to have her there.
The loud fire of a gunshot instantly halts their moments. Danny's frozen to the spot, images of Viv's final moments playing though his head. He can't let Sam have the same fate, but he can't get his mind and body to work together and think up a plan of action. With every passing second he can feel his mind plunging further into the dark, retreating back into it's numbing state of terror.
Luckily he doesn't have to think, as Sam grabs his arm and pulls him down. They wait, unmoving, nearly completely silent, except for their quick intakes of breath.
A nervous sickly feeling is forming in his stomach, a sensation that's beginning to become disturbingly familiar. His sight moves to his co-worker, the same uneasy feelings scream from within her expression.
Sam jumps, "Did you hear that?" her breathing is heavy, white puffs, coming out into the cold air.
He swallows nervously, unable to hear anything over his pounding heart. "No, what was it?"
"I don't know," she shakily replies, her voice gentle, almost soothing, amongst the terror of the dark.
The sounds begin to get louder, and it soon becomes evident, that someone approaches. The heavy thud of shoes of the ground echoes through Danny's ears, the fear grips him tighter, fear for his own live, but more importantly fear for Sam's. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots Sam pulling her weapon, but he knows against them it wouldn't do any good. He holds his breath as a light suddenly shines onto their path, and he prepares himself for the inevitable.
Jack sighs in relief, he's just heard from Martin, apparently they had a little trouble, and ended up taking a longer route, but now they're out safely, so it doesn't matter, at least now that's one thing less thing to stress about. Two down, two to go.
"Jack!" A female voice startles him from his thoughts and to his complete shock Sam, jumps up from around a corner.
"Sam? What…are you alright? What happened?" Jack demands, his tone emphasising his surprise, and relief.
"I'm fine, well great now," she replies, also delighted by Jack's presence, "but I'd really like to get out of here."
Jack nods, while checking her over, there seems to be no wounds, she's just clearly shaken. "Everyone else is out, it's just us and another SWAT group," Jack explains.
"Everyone?" Sam quietly asks, "Viv?"
"Yes she left with Martin, but we still haven't found Danny."
Sam gives him a small smirk before turning around and walking off into the dark.
"Sam!" Jack calls, not understand her actions, he quickly marches the few paces after her, his torch guiding the way. He stops as he sees Sam approach the figure of a man, his back is turned towards Jack, but immediately his hopes rise.
"What are you doing?" She softly asks the man.
He turns to face Sam, and sure enough with an overwhelming sense of relief, Jack distinguishes, that Danny is clearly standing before him. In his shock, he is currently unable to do anything except watch the exchange between his two agents.
"It's back…it came back," Danny mutters. His voice is so quiet, and full of fear, that it instantly breaks Jack from his stunned reaction.
He rushes forward, still not quite believing his eyes. "Danny!" He calls excitedly, finally having found his agent. Danny doesn't respond, but faces Jack, his eyes watching him, though strangely they're unseeing. "Danny?" Jack tries again, attempting to get some kind of verbal response, but he finds none, as the agent simply turns back to the darkness surrounding them.
His worry almost turns to panic; his agent is clearly not ok. He quickly scans Danny for injury, finding the wound where the bullet had pierced his flesh all those hours ago. Hours? More like days, it truly feels like so much more time has past since this whole mess started.
Sam, noticing him looking at the wound better explains his condition. "He's had a hit to the head as well, I'm thinking it's bad."
Jack can't get over how pale the agent appears, how lost. The people who did this have to pay, but right now revenge will have to wait, getting Danny out of here and into the nearest hospital is by far top of the agenda. "So he's been incoherent since you found him?" Jack questions, trying to learn more about his agent's wellbeing.
"No, he comes in and out of it," Sam clarifies, and as if to prove her point he does just that.
Suddenly he turns around and faces Jack. "I'm sorry about the shooting, you were right, it was reckless," he utters, though refusing to make eye contact.
"What?" It takes a few seconds for Jack to realise what Danny's talking about, then it hits him, their fight just before the abduction. "The Coleman case? God Danny, it doesn't matter, forget about it."
Danny briefly looks up, meeting the senior agent's eyes. "Ok, but I'm still sorry."
Jack glances at Sam, and like himself, he can see a slightly amused smile on her face. "Danny we can talk about that later, let's just concentrate on getting out of here right now," Jack exclaims, relieved by that fact he's holding a conversation.
"It's better than the weather," he mumbles in return.
Sam laughs, while Danny smiles almost cheerfully at her. Obviously a private joke that he'll never understand, but gaining such a positive action, Jack doesn't care what it is, at least he now knows Danny isn't completely a void of happy emotions.
SWAT choose that moment to interrupt, he'd actually forgotten they were there.
"We're got to keep moving, the other group is on their way out as well," he announces.
"Ok," he turns to his agents, "you both ready to go?"
They both nod, Sam extremely enthusiastically, and Danny like he's somewhat unsure.
"Good, we'll keep going straight ahead."
Sam immediately shoots Jack a glare, "No we can't!"
Confused, Jack questions her reaction. "Why not? What's wrong?" He asks, taking into consideration her suddenly nervous appearance.
Her eyes sweep the room, landing on Danny for a few seconds, before finally flickering back to Jack. "We just came from that way… we can't go that way." Jack doesn't miss the emphasis on 'can't'.
The SWAT guy interjects, "It's the quickest way out of here, unless you've got a good reason, we're going."
Sam looks to Jack for help, but all he can think about is getting his team out of here, and with Sam unable to give a reason, he nods to SWAT to go ahead. She closes her eyes in silent frustration.
Once they're moving again, Jack prods Sam further, figuring it must have been important for her to mention it.
"What's so bad about this direction?'
Sam remains silent, giving Danny a chance to speak.
"It leads to the hall," comes his answer, then a whispered part that Jack nearly misses. "There's something in the hall."
Jack glances at Sam; her eyes are still glued to the ground, the same troubled expression over her face.
Turning back to Danny, the senior agent tries to gain more information, also concerned with the lack of sanity fulling the younger agents tone.
"What's in the hall Danny?"
He shakes his head, "I don't know."
Jack doesn't have to wait much longer to find out, as the tunnel begins to lighten, and soon the SWAT guys stop. "There's a large open area up ahead. We'll go three at a time, the first group a four. Stay close to the wall and the others waiting will cover. First group go!"
The SWAT members run out into the opening, their guns raised, completely alert, just waiting for a shot to be fired.
Jack turns to his team, realising just how close they are to freedom, and this whole situation can be put behind them, or so he hopes, adds a little voice. Watching his clearly not alright agents, he's thinking there might be a lot of truth in that comment.
"You two ready?" Jack asks, trying to break the silence, but to his dismay it remains. Sam still finds the ground more interesting, and Danny seems to be lost, staring at a spot in the distance.
The second group is signalled to move, and they depart, leaving only the three F.B.I agents.
"Danny are you okay?" Jack questions, while keeping a firm eye on their surroundings. Again he gets no reply. So for now he drops it, concentrating only on getting out for the moment, and worry about mental wellbeing later.
Another signal shows the group got across safely.
"Come on, let's go." With Jack's orders they move out.
The silence is terrifying; nothing can be heard except the thud of their shoes against the ground, and the heavy breathing of the agents. They are so close now, but for some reason, Jack's still expecting the worse. He just wants to be in the office, yelling at Danny for not coming to him, for not asking any of them for help. He just wants everything to go back to normal, for this whole situation to be resolved without anymore conflict. But Jack knows all too well about the real world, and how life can have its very cruel twists.
Jack's fears are confirmed, as just like the flick of a switch, the silence disappears, and in its place come the angry shouts, and the sharp booms of raging weapons.
The senior agent tries to remain calm, but the picture of the past times is slowly slipping away, and fading into the distance. Someone yells out, but Jack can't distinguish the words. With his agent's lives on his mind, he picks up the pace calling for Danny and Sam to do the same.
Slight relief floods through, as they safely reach the other side. Although that wasn't where the gunfire was coming from, at least they are out of the open space. The SWAT guys immediately move, rushing toward the battle. "Our boys need backup."
Jack acknowledges them with a nod. Turning to make sure his agents are following, he's instantly filled with terror, as he sees neither of them at his side. Mentally cursing himself for being so careless, he scans the area, finally spotting both of them in the middle of the open hall. Confusion and fear shoot through his mind; he surveys the room, gun aimed and ready for any possible threats. He should have been keeping a closer eye on them, it's clear neither of them are in the right state of mind, they're not even thinking to run, let alone about their own safety.
"Danny! Sam!" Jack calls out to them, not expecting a response, but hoping none the less. As Jack steadily jogs towards them, his mind fills with their earlier reactions to this hall, what could be so horrifying that it blinds them from all danger?
A lite thud echoes in his ears, swiftly turning his attention to his agent's direction, he catches sight of Danny falling to his knees. With his mind in shock, Jack rapidly searches the room for shooters, not registering to the fact there were no shots fired. Panic mixes with confusion, and Jack sprints towards him, not knowing what to expect, but still fearing the worse. As he arrives closer, his fears are slightly lessened as he sees Danny bending over the body of a woman. He reaches Sam's side, whose standing quietly behind Danny, her eyes glistening with unreleased tears. Not understanding why, Jack carefully studies the dead women's face, but is unable to recognise her, wondering why she forced such an emotional reaction from his agents.
"It's Erica." Sam clarifies, her voice shaking with emotion.
Oh god. Jack can feel his heart sink. But this can't be possible, Danny should not react like this, she, she doesn't deserve his grief. He doesn't need this, she's put him through so much, and now this is how she leaves him. Jack stands next to Sam, unable to do anything, but watch Danny stare into the eyes of his dead sister.
The sudden explosion of more gunfire jolts Jack back into the present situation, making him realise the danger they're still in.
He quickly kneels down next to Danny, the younger agent's face is expressionless, the only sign that he has any clue as to what is happening is his tight hold on Erica's hand.
"Danny?" Jack gently prods, "We have to go."
He gains no response. Trying again, this time he reaches out, laying his hand on his agent's shoulder, hoping the physical touch will bring him back to reality. "Danny?"
Finally, his efforts are rewarded, as to Jack's relief; Danny tears his eyes from Erica to face him.
Concern instantly sweeps over the senior agent, as he looks into Danny's face, he can see the fear, the complete shock reflected in his eyes, and over his features is a look so lost, that it leaves Jack speechless, physically unable to find the right words. So he doesn't. He carefully grabs Danny by the arm, making sure not to aggravate his wound; he tries to pull him to his feet.
"Come on Danny."
At first Danny allows Jack's action, but he soon pulls away, the reason obviously settling in his mind.
"No, no, I can't, I-I can't leave her," he stutters, taking a step away from Jack.
Knowing they're running out of time, Jack can't spend it trying to calm an irrational Danny down. He's got to be firm, no matter how cruel it will sound. "You have to, we're got to go," Jack states, trying hard to not let his agent's wounded expression effect him.
Danny shakes his head, "no, no," and dropping back down beside her, he whispers quietly to himself. "I can't."
Jack looks to Sam, who hasn't moved from her spot, gesturing her to give him a hand. No matter how firm he tries to be, he's not going to be able to budge the stubborn Danny alone. Sam hesitates for a second, before crouching along side her co-worker.
"Thud, thud, thud." The heavy stomp of boots echoes someone's arrival.
Jack instantly lifts his head, and grabbing for his gun, he aims it at the man in front of him. In the corner of his eye he sees Sam shakily mirror his actions.
"F.B.I freeze!" Jack yells, his heart pounding nervously.
The man smirks, making no move to neither obey, nor attack, instead he casually takes a few step forward, and addresses his target.
At the mention of his old name, Danny picks himself up off the ground. Jack can see the fear in his eyes, and in his shaky movement, but when he speaks not one ounce is detectible.
Chapter 14: Loose Ends
This will not end well; in fact this will probably end terribly and there's nothing he can do to change that, but what he can do is change the targets these negative effects could hit. He can do two things, one, ignore Garcia and in turn piss him off further, or two, confront him and get whatever is to come over and done with. Without giving it too much thought Danny choose option number two, and now he stands, silent nerves stinging through him, waiting for Garcia to make his next move.
Ignoring the weapons aimed at him, the gang leader glances down to the body at Danny's feet and his face immediately twists into an evil grin. "What a pity," he mutters, shaking his head in mock sympathy, "she was such a great leader."
Danny clenches his fists, anger rinsing over him, but he bites his tongue, not wanting to give Garcia the pleasure of seeing his reaction.
At Danny's silence, Garcia continues. "It's her own fault really, she's the one who insisted on bringing you here, and that's what led to her death." He stares the agent sharply in the eyes, "so if it wasn't for you, she'd still be with us."
Danny knows what he's trying to do, and it's clearly working as he feels the guilt within him rising to the surface, but he holds it back, not willing for it to show.
Garcia takes a few steps forward, and in the corner of his eye, Danny notices Jack moving closer towards him, preparing himself for anything the gang leader may try.
Still Danny stays quiet; he knows all too well that when it comes to Garcia silence is better for your heath. Unfortunately, Jack doesn't know this.
"Stay where you are, you're under arrest," Jack yells, and for some reason expects Garcia to obey.
The gang leader's stare moves from Danny and comes to a stop on the senior agent, irritation radiating clearly from his features. "I suggest you stay out of this," he mutters, his tone almost daring Jack to continue.
He holds his ground. "You're under arrest as an accessary to the abduction of a federal agent," he moves closer, "freeze and put your hands where I can see them," he demands, clearly less than happy with the results he's received so far.
"Abduction?" He laughs, "you could have me for a lot worse," he turns back to Danny, a wicked smile playing on his lips, "but somehow I don't think you'll get the proof."
Danny squirms under his intense gaze, knowing that sadly Garcia's right, there's no way he'll stand up I a courtroom to testify, not when it will mean putting all those he cares about in serious danger…again.
Now completely ignoring Jack, Garcia returns his full attention back to Danny. "What I'd like to know is how the hell you managed to escape from your cell."
Danny smirks, and is momentarily filled with confidence at the thought of his earlier break out. "Your guys aren't as tough as they think," he replies, thinking back to how he easily knocked the guy out, who was transferring him from the cell.
Garcia grins, though is clearly unhappy with Danny's reveal. His hand sinks slowly into his pocket, and holding it there, Danny feels his fear once again begin to take control, but still thinking rationally, he calmly shallows it back.
"Vas a matarme?" Danny asks, enquiring about his own death and changing to Spanish in an attempt not to alarm his co-workers.
Garcia replies in English, not giving Danny the luxury to hide behind the language. "No," he smirks, "not right now, but the next time we meet I won't hesitate to kill you. Mejor será que cubras tus espaldas, Alvarez," and with those last words he departs.
Danny's standing stunned, he expected this confrontation to end terribly, to at least end in someone's death, but strangely enough, there's nothing. Garcia walked away with merely a threat. A gut wrenching horror settles inside the agent. It wasn't just a threat, Garcia has every intention of finishing this, on making sure he sees Danny dead, he just wasn't willing to do it with two other F.B.I agents standing right there, and a SWAT team around the corner. He probably would have gotten away with it though, so maybe there's more to it, he doesn't want Danny to just die, he wants him to suffer.
Jack has a huge urge to shoot this guy. It would probably solve some future problems and make him feel a hell of a lot better in the process, but Danny hasn't reacted, he's given no sign that he wants Jack or Sam to shoot the gang leader, so maybe the senior agent should be thankful that Garcia turned around and left, and continue with the rest of the situation at hand. Letting a man that just threatened one of his agent walk away feels extremely unnatural to Jack, it feels wrong, but the odds are that Garcia would end up shooting him or his agent, so that's not the kind of risk he's willing to take.
Turning to Danny, Jack notices that his eyes haven't left the spot in which the gang leader departed. This means two things, 1 the threat has really gotten to Danny, and he knows he hasn't seen the last of that man, and 2 he's forgotten all about the body laying at his feet. Jack sees his window of opportunity and instantly leaps at it, hoping it won't close before they're home free. Gently grabbing Danny's arm he begins to guide the younger agent from the hall. For a brief moment his eyes meet Jack's, a follow emptiness searing within, before they drop to the floor, unseeing and lost in thought.
Finally after what felt like far too much time, they break out of the building and into the cold night's air. Jack breathes it in hungrily, enjoying the sensation of a large weight being lifted from his shoulders, the fear disappearing, leaving only the lingering nerves for what the future may hold, something that right now the agent has no intention of focusing on. People rush up to them and the paramedics take Danny from his grasp, immediately snapping him from his state of wonderment.
"He's got a reopened gunshot wound to the shoulder, and he's suffered a hit to the head, " Jack reads off, hoping he hasn't forgotten anything. As they move towards the awaiting ambulance, Jack's worry begins to rise again, 'what if something happens on the way to the hospital, what if he missed something and they can't fix it,' the agent's paranoid thoughts shout at him. He knows it's stupid, but after getting though everything else, something happening now, well it just… Jack doesn't want to think about it, and luckily he doesn't have to.
"Will you be riding with us sir?" the paramedic asks.
Not missing a beat Jack replies, "yes, I definitely will."
About to jump into the vehicle, he turns and spots Sam, silently watching them as they inspect Danny. Concern for her quickly rises once again. "Are you ok?" Jack asks, already knowing the answer, truth or lie.
She snaps her gaze from Danny. "Um, yeah I'm fine. I'll, I'll follow behind and meet you at the hospital."
Jack nods. "Alright, I'll see you there." He climbs in and closes the doors, already planning on having a long chat with her as soon as he can find the time.
Everything has been happening so fast, it's like he can barely breathe, he feels completely suffocated by his own life. He wants to climb out of this boggy mess, to carry on with life how it was before his past caught up, but now he doesn't think that will ever happen. He can see her, her expressionless body carved deeply into his mind, he can't forget, he can't rid himself of the images that now haunt him, the unexplainable guilt flooding his senses.
He's vaguely aware that Jack's speaking to him, but his mind is so far away the words aren't audible. He can't concentrate on anything; he's not even sure how he's able to put one foot in front of the other to walk. He can feel it, a growing shadow, getting closer and closer as though at any moment it will engulf him.
Light invades his eyes, but somehow the darkness still lurks, perhaps now stronger since it has the cover of the deceiving light.
Noticing that he's stopped walking he begins to become a bit more aware of his surrounds, he glances around, spotting the SWAT guys running though…the hall. A deep fear of the unknown stings though him, but there is a small part of him willing him forward, a desperate need to find out what is causing this strange reaction.
Jack speaks again, but he still can't understand the words, or find the will to answer. His mind goes blank, not a single thought running though it as he stares out into the open space.
"Come on, let's go." Jack's words ring though his ears, and on instinct his feet begin to follow the order. As he moves into the hall his mind starts working full force once more, as the terror reforms in his thoughts. His breathing immediately quickens, and he becomes strangely alert to the silence that surrounds him.
Suddenly gunfire erupts up ahead, and in a dazed panic, Danny's steps halt. A shiver racks though his body, and a cold sickly sensation overcomes him, the noise around him instantly mutes, and he becomes all too aware that something is watching him. He slowly turns around, and marching, having no real control of his body, he makes his way to the source of his paranoia.
Upon getting closer he's easily able to distinguish a body, and with the gut wrenching feeling growing intensely inside him, it takes all of his will power not to turn around and go back. The body comes into focus, the features are clearly recognisable and instantly, Danny feels as though an arrow has struck him. Grief takes over, as he falls to his knees, he's unable to doing anything but stare into his sister's eyes, the absolute horror physically unable to surface on his face. Instead, as automatic as he's been lately, he self-consciously reaches for her cold hand, and tightly grips it within his own.
Jack glances over at Danny, he looks so lost, but the senior agent realises that it's probably completely useless to try and talk to him; he appears to be in his own little world. As much as Jack would like to pull him back to reality, and out of his terrifying, guilt filled head, he quite honestly doesn't see the point. Danny won't acknowledge him, and maybe the sooner he can work though all of this, the sooner he'll be back to normal, or so Jack hopes. Normal is beginning to slip further and further away, but with everything that Danny's been though he's going to need some time to readjust, and until then, no one can really judge the situation.
Martin paces down the corridor for what feels like the hundred time, and probably is. He'd been in to check on Viv a few times, before the doctor finally told him that she needed her rest so it was better that he didn't disturb her. She'd obtained a concussion, and it was recommended that she stay over night at the least, and Viv, not being conscious at the time didn't get the opportunity to argue, something that Martin was quite thankful for. But now he's playing the waiting game once again, as the ambulance carrying his co-worker is soon to arrive. Jack had called some minutes earlier with the great news, that they were all out, and he and Danny were on their way to the hospital. He didn't give any further information on Danny's condition, and Martin didn't get the chance to ask, but by the sound of Jack's tone it can't be too serious. It's hard to believe that this nightmare is over, that Danny had been found and is going to receive the medical care that he needs. It was undoubtedly the toughest, most stressful and emotive case the team has ever had, and Martin prays that they will never have another one like it, he actually doesn't know if they'd all cope.
A few minutes later, much to his relief, Martin glances up to see Danny being wheeled in on a gurney, followed closely by an exhausted looking Jack. He quickly approaches, but before he can reach them, Danny's wheeled off in the other direction.
"Hey," Martin greets Jack once he's in earshot, "is he ok?"
Upon closer examination Jack appears even more worn out, the stress and worry written over his features.
"I hope so," the senior agent replies, his tone seeming distant.
"What is that suppose to mean?" Martin nervously enquires. He didn't think Danny was that bad, he knows he's been shot, but he has been to a hospital since then, even if it was only briefly, oh god, surely it's not that bad.
Realising his words Jack quickly explains, affectively removing some of the agent's worry. "I mean, well physically he should be fine, it's just mentally he might take a bit longer."
Martin nods in understanding, he'd never actually took the time to think about it, but after a lot of the bad cases, when the mp is found, they probably aren't the same for a very long time, maybe even never. The team never sees the after affects of their cases on the families or the mp themselves, they're usually just happy to find the person alive. Unfortunately they're all going to get to experience that now, he only hopes the outcome will be positive, and that Danny will return to his old self –with the exception of being able to open up and talk to someone when something's wrong, of course.
Samantha stands there silently watching the ambulance depart and after a few moments she begins to head back to her car, figuring she'll keep her word and go to the hospital.
During her drive Sam's thoughts begin to once again haunt her with a terrible guilt, she killed Erica, she's responsible for the death of Danny's sister. No matter how she tries to phase it, that it was self-defence, that she did it to protect Danny, it doesn't change the cold harsh fact, that if it weren't for her Erica would still be alive. She can't face Danny, she can't stand there pretending to be supportive, all the while hiding her dark secret, but she can't bear to tell him. She doesn't want him to hate her, but really what choice does she have, if she ever wants to move on from this incident she has got to come forward. Suddenly changing her mind about her destination, Sam turns the car around and decides to head to the office, there's plenty of paper work to get done, and there's no way she's ready to see Danny yet, she can put it off, at least for another day.
Vivian had woken only moments ago to find herself in an empty hospital room. It took her a few moments for her to realise what had happened, and when everything clicked back into place she was on her feet, and now makes her way down the hospital corridors in search of Danny. She'd woken briefly during the night and asked the nurse about her co-worker, she was extremely happy to find out he was here and doing well, but the nurse had told her she had to wait until morning to visit him, and being morning, she's on her way to do just that. She doesn't remember much about what happened surrounding the attack, but she does remember finding Danny, and how terrified he was, she needs to see him, and make sure that he's ok with her own two eyes.
After asking for directions Viv soon arrives outside Danny's room, and opening the door she steps inside. She's slightly taken aback by the pale figure lying peacefully in the bed. Approaching quietly, she takes a seat next to him and examines him carefully. Other than being extremely pale, his face appears worn with exhaustion, which considering everything that's happened it's very understandable. Like herself, he hadn't come into the hospital unconscious, but the doctors had drugged him up, and with the added exhaustion of the day, he'd fallen quickly into a deep slumber. Suddenly he moves in his sleep, Viv holds her breath, hoping he'll wake up, and sure enough, slowly but surely his eyes begin to open. "Danny?" Viv calls, letting him know that there's someone there.
His eyes sluggishly turn towards her, confusion written over his features. "Am I dead?" He asks, his voice croaky and strangely casual.
Viv smiles, somewhat amused by the question. "No honey you're not dead, you're in hospital, everything's going to be ok now," she coaxes.
"Oh, so you're dead," he mutters, a hint of guilt in his tone.
This remark can't help but surprise Viv. "No sweetie, I'm not dead either."
At this the sleepiness is instantly removed from Danny's face, he stares at her in shock, and despite his lack of strength, attempts to sit up. "You're alive!" He all but shouts, completely astonished by the revolution.
"Y-yes I-I am," Viv stutters with confusion, while trying to push Danny back down on the bed.
Eventually he relents and lies back down, but remains staring up at her with the same happiness sparkling in his eyes. "I thought they'd killed you," he whispers.
Finally Viv understands, he'd seen her being knocked unconscious and must have assumed the worst. "It's ok sweetie, I'm fine, you're going to be fine and everything can go back to normal," she happily replies, though she's almost sure Danny's not listening, smiling up at her too content in seeing her alive.
Martin makes his way slowly back to Danny's room. Since he'd arrived at the hospital, him and Jack have been taking shifts to keep an eye on him. Jack is extremely paranoid that this Garcia guy will come and for fill his threat and after being briefed on everything, Martin's inclined to agree with his boss. He had just been down the hall at the coffee machine, Danny's room in plain view, when he had seen Viv enter and he wanted to give her a moment. After a few minutes he decides to intrude and is met with the comforting sight of Viv and Danny chatting happily away, well Viv seems to be doing most of the talking.
"Hey, you're awake," Martin greets, causing two pairs of eyes to turn to him.
"He woke up just after I came in," Viv gleefully explains.
Martin opens his mouth to say something more, but is interrupted by another person storming in. "Viv! There you are," Viv's husband Marcus exclaims with relief, "please tell me next time you decide to go walkabouts."
Viv gives him a slight glare, clearly annoyed with the request. "You weren't there to tell," she simply states.
Marcus features soften. "I know, I'm sorry, but how about we get you back to your room, and see if you can get checked out, I know Reggie will want to see you."
At the mention of her son Viv relents. "Alright," she turns towards Danny, "I'll see you later then," she says, while affectionately squeezing his hand. Following Marcus out she gives Martin a small smile before departing, leaving the boys alone.
"So," Martin starts, being a bit uncomfortable with the situation, "how are you feeling?"
Danny doesn't answer; instead he seems to have blanked out, staring aimlessly at the wall in front of him.
"Danny?" Martin tries again to gain his friends attention.
"Huh?" Danny replies breaking out of his trance.
He wonders just what is going through Danny's head, probably nothing good, his sister's death, Garcia's threat, or a million other things that only Danny knows, so again Martin can't help but worry. For now he's happy that he broke the other agents train of thought, and he repeats his question. "How are you feeling?"
"Um, alright," Danny gives him a grin, "better than yesterday anyway."
Silence soon falls upon them, and Martin can't work out why he's finding it so difficult to talk to his friend. He now knows why Danny avoided him while he was in hospital, what can you say to someone in these situations, 'glad you didn't die.' That may have been relevant for him, but Danny had more riding on the situation than just his life. He has lost his sister, and no matter what kind of person she was, she was still family and its still going to hurt. Knowing Danny he's probably come up with a million reasons as to why it's his fault. Maybe that's where he should begin, trying to convince Danny that's he's not to blame.
"Hey man, you know it's not your fault, right?"
Danny remains silent for a while, already giving Martin his answer. "What part? For dragging you guys into this or getting Viv hurt?" He mumbles, his voice full of guilt.
"It was our decision to get involved, we wanted to help you, no one blames you for anything, least of all Viv," Martin explains, hoping his words will get through, but Danny gives no sign that they have. Realising that Erica hasn't been brought up, Martin decides to leave it, he doesn't want to put his foot in his mouth, Danny may not be ready to talk about her. He turns to other pressing matters.
"You worried about Garcia?"
"Not really," Danny replies, his tone casual, leaving Martin a little shocked. Either he's lying or there's more to this than he's willing to say.
Martin decides to try his luck. "Why not?"
Danny sits further up in the bed, so he's able to properly face Martin. "He's been threatening to kill me for years." Martin feels very unconvinced and it must show in his features, as his co-worker elaborates. "As long as the gang doesn't try to contact me, he has no reason to, he'd be happier to just stick a knife in me every time we meet."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Martin asks, dumbfounded by the calmness of the other agent's tone.
Danny shrugs, "makes me feel better."
Martin laughs nervously, "alright, if you're sure."
Danny nods and Martin drops the subject, but not before making a mental note to mention this to Jack. Thankfully with the ice broken, they don't fall back into the uncomfortable silence, but instead into a more natural conversation.
"So, you back with Sam yet?"
Jack is quite happy that this day has finally come. Danny had the all clear from his doctor to come back to work. Of course it would only be desk work for a long time, well as long as Jack can hold him there, but it will also mean the senior agent can keep a better eye on him. After being released from hospital, a process that took longer than needed thanks to Jack's constant begging for just a few more days, Danny had been staying alone in his apartment, despite the team's argues. While the hospital was much safer, due to the amount of people bustling around, an empty apartment was not, but Danny had managed to convince them that he'd be fine, and that he was sure Garcia wouldn't come after him. Jack had agreed under certain conditions, such as he was not aloud to leave the building by himself, and someone from the team would pop around every few hours to make sure he was ok. Needless to say these conditions hadn't gone down very well, but Jack wasn't planning on giving him a choice. There's no way he's given Garcia any chance of getting close to his agent.
Samantha pulls up to the parking lot and slowly climbs out of her car, she has not been looking forward to this day. It's Danny's first day back at work and he's going to want to why she's been avoiding him, and there's' no way she can lie to him. She can't put it off again, it's time to face her demons and maybe she'll be relieved from some of the guilt she carries.
Walking towards the elevator, she suddenly catches sight of Danny. Dread fills her, as she was not expecting the confrontation so soon. Slowing down her pace, she waits for him to get out of his car, but it doesn't take long for her to realise that he's not going to, as he starts the car ready to leave. It's now or never, swallowing her nerves, Sam jogs quickly over to the vehicle.
Danny takes another deep breath as he prepares himself to get out of his car. He's in the same car park where all this mess begun, and is understandably hesitant to get out. He'd been doing a really good job of pretending everything's alright, acting like he remains unaffected by everything that has happened. But in truth he is far from alright, every time he closes his eyes, he can see the body of his sister staring back at him, haunting his every dream. The guilt over Erica is constantly with him, he's unable to shake it, and if it weren't for Jack's 'no leaving the apartment' rule, his years of being sober would be a thing of the past. He's done a lot of things in the past that he's not proud of, things that will always linger in his mind with a deep shame or self-hate, he knows that he'll never be rid of them, but he really wishes that he'll someday find a way to stop adding to them.
In the days of depression he's been having lately, there has been one light. As annoyed as he was with Jack insisting someone stop by every few hours, in the end he'd actually been quite grateful. The team's visits provided a break from the darkness lurking in his soul, an escape from the scarring images, and a reminder that he's not alone. He has missed working with them, but there's one thing really bothering him. Sam, she's been coming over the least and her visits are always short, kind of like she's angry with him. He should probably talk to her about it, actually he should talk to someone about everything, let them know that he's not ok, because after all, avoiding the truth was how this whole mess first started. But right now he doesn't feel ready to walk through those doors, he doesn't want to get out of the car, maybe he should call Jack and say he'll be in tomorrow instead, putting it off one more day couldn't hurt.
Putting the vehicle into reverse, Danny about to pull out, when suddenly the passenger door opens, and someone plonks down onto the seat next to him. He jumps, and upon reflex, his hand travels to his weapon. "Sam, you gave me a fright," he exclaims with relief, once he notices who it is.
"Sorry, but we… we need to talk."
At the serious of her tone Danny turns to look at her, and taking in her nervous appearance, he instantly feels his own. This is his chance to get everything off his chest, to ask for help, to admit to his well-buried emotions, for once in his life be completely honest to one of his friends, and hopefully, in return she'll be honest with him.
Danny nods and turns off the car's engine. "I think we do."