Dance with the Devil (NY fic)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Jade_Nolan, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Jade_Nolan

    Jade_Nolan CSI Level One

    Nov 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    so I haven't posted anything in this forum for over a year despite having written stuff (oops...), so I thought I'd pop over and post a couple of the stories I'm currently working on. So without further ado, here's Dance with the Devil.

    Rating: T - language, violence
    Synopsis: It is January 2002, and struggling to make it day to day after Claire's death, Mac finds himself chasing down a criminal who pushes him to his already stretched limits.

    Chapter 1

    The snow swirled in miniature funnels along the surface of the street, whipped into a frenzy by the wind which gusted with sudden viciousness. It was a biting wind, turning the already frigid air into something akin to malevolent. It was the kind of cold which instantly cut through coats, hats, scarves, and any other attempts which were employed to keep it out. The kind of cold that made each breath burn and lungs hurt. The kind of cold that numbed lips and noses in seconds, and made eyes water. But there was a certain vicious beauty to it too. A raw power that was both terrifying and intoxicating at the same time.

    Mac leaned his burning head against the impossible cold of the bus window and watched the funnels of snow whipping down the street. The icy chill of the glass flowed through his overheated body and clashed with the internal fire coursing through him, making him shiver uncontrollably as he cooled down far too quickly. His heart pounded and his lungs ached from the frigid air he had forced his body to breathe as he had run. He closed his eyes and tightened his muscles against his body's protest at the temperature shock and the pain of each breath, and slowly he stopped shivering. The cold window actually felt good on his forehead, and he remained leaning motionless against it, as if it could somehow cool the incessant burning in his head.

    The bus continued along its route, the accumulating snow making it and the city appear to be in slow motion. Not that there were many people out at three-thirty in the morning, but this was New York. There were always some people out, going on with whatever business it was they might have. Hurrying along, heads down, keeping their intentions as closely wrapped as the coats and scarves they pulled tight to keep out the cold. It was the time of night when time seemed to hover and pause, hanging still, and one could imagine a world where it simply chose not to continue. A world forever under the hush of night, and silent, unspoken thoughts.

    The bus bounced suddenly as it hit a pothole that had been obscured by the new snow. The bus driver swore and started muttering to himself about the deteriorating road conditions and how the city never fixed the streets that really needed to be fixed, punctuating his sentences with choice epitaphs endowed endearingly on the objects of his wrath and frustration. His voice grew gradually louder as he warmed into his subject.

    "Goddamn motherfucking politicians, that's the problem! Ride around in their fancy goddamn cars, sipping their 'esspresso lattes'," he said as he mockingly pretended to sip from an imaginary cup, sticking the pinky of the hand he was drinking from out as he did so. "Ooooh no! They can't spill their double espresso goddamn fuckin' lattes! Fucking politicians…SHIT!" he exploded suddenly as the bus hit another pothole and the wheels lost traction with the road.

    For a few seconds it felt as if the bus' back end might whip out sideways, but the driver had seen more than his share of winters, and expertly coaxed the unwieldy vehicle back into line.


    Mac watched the proceedings through a half-open eye. The other three people on the bus hadn't so much as blinked or moved a muscle the whole time. They sat in their seats, hoods pulled low, shoulders slumped, going god knows where, wishing only to be left alone and not even remotely bothered with potholes, politicians or a bus driver's grievances against either. Mac slumped his own shoulders as the adrenaline and endorphins that had been racing through his body left him. Absolute exhaustion began to settle in, as he mentally and physically withdrew into himself. He closed his eyes again as the bus driver returned to his muttering. The snow continued to swirl outside, and the sounds of the city grew muted as he drifted into sleep. A part of his brain protested against the sleep, insisting it was a dangerous thing to do in such a setting at this time of night. But he didn't care. He was beyond caring.

    The steady rumble of the diesel engine and the almost rhythmic bouncing of the bus was strangely relaxing. He vaguely wondered how getting off the bus when necessary would work if he fell asleep. But again, he realized he didn't care. It was part of the reason he had impulsively gotten on in the first place. He had run until he could literally push himself no further, but still had had no desire to go back to his empty, deserted apartment. A taxi was no good. You had to actually go somewhere and know where you wanted to go. But you could theoretically ride a bus indefinitely, so he had gotten on one whose route took him somewhere near the vicinity of his apartment should he decide at some point to actually get off there. He felt his shoulder twitch and his breathing slow as he drifted into sleep, intermittent shivers still running through him. His mind stopped racing, and for a precious split second before he lost conscious thought, he felt a small measure of exhausted peace.


    "Hey!" an annoyed voice said.

    He felt a sharp kick on his boot, and his eyes flew open, hand instinctively going to his right hip, thumb ready to release the snap securing his gun in its holster. But it was just the bus driver. He let his hand continue up his side to his neck and tried to rub out the aching crick that had developed.

    "This ain't a motel. We're 'Out of Service'." The driver jerked his head towards the door at the front of the bus, "Beat it."

    Head pounding from the cold of the window and the constant bouncing of the road, Mac pushed himself up. Muttering an apology to the driver who, despite not losing the scowl off his face, nonetheless grunted his acceptance, he stepped out into the snow-covered street. He shivered. Light was just tingeing the sky, and the new snow creaked with cold under his boots. The wind had died down somewhat, but still came in gusts, sneaking between the zipper of his coat and down his neck. He shivered again as his damp t-shirt absorbed the seeping cold. He glanced around as the bus pulled away in a cloud of diesel fumes. He was only five blocks from his apartment and despite being achingly tired, decided to walk.

    He didn't even look up as he entered the main entrance to his apartment building. He opened the door by rote, mechanically pushed the elevator buttons, and as he walked down the hall to his apartment, he tried not to think about the silence that awaited him. The warmth of the building brought feeling back to his face, and his feet started to hurt as the numbness began to dissipate. He turned his key in his lock and pushed his door open.

    No lights.

    No sound.

    Nothing, except the quiet hum of the refrigerator.

    And there wasn't going to be anything either.

    Closing the door behind him, he took a deep breath as he leaned wearily against it. The emptiness pushed in against him, ringing paradoxically loudly in his eardrums. His eyes burned hot, and he squeezed them closed. He desperately wished he could just slide down into a corner and slip into an oblivion. But sleep was no good either. The accompanying dreams were more torturous than the waking ones. He hated being here, and he wouldn't have been if it had been up to him.

    "Why not, Jimmy?" he had asked, waving a slip of paper and pushing the door to his boss' office open. "Huh? You're still two people short this weekend and you denied it?" his eyes flashed.

    Jim Harris looked up from his desk where he was reviewing a case file, and which was covered in folders, two open evidence boxes balanced precariously on one side.

    "That's right Mac, I denied it," he said ironly, meeting Mac's furious eyes steely. "You've been working between 70, 90 hours, hell, sometimes even more than that, nearly every week…"

    Mac started to interrupt, but Jim ignored him.

    "…for the past…" he paused. His voice softened as Mac almost imperceptibly flinched as the fire left his eyes and instantly took on that haunted look that only ever momentarily left him. Jim set down the case file and leaned across his desk towards his friend and probably the most brilliant detective he'd ever had work for him. And if not that, then certainly the most driven. But it was a perversion of that very drive which was prompting this mini-confrontation.

    "Look, Mac, I can't even pretend to know what you're going through, but I know why you basically never leave and I can't say that I wouldn't do differently. But you're no good to me or the department, run into the ground. I'm sorry, but I've got to draw an official line somewhere." He looked searchingly and with concern at him. "When was the last time you actually went home?" he asked gently.

    Mac rubbed his eyes with his right hand and sat wearily down in the chair by the door, any fight drained out of him. Leaning his elbows resignedly on his knees he looked up, "Ahhh, I don't know…two days ago?" he ventured a guess.

    "That's what I thought," Jim said with a small huff. "Go home. Sleep. I don't want to see you back here until Monday." He pulled the case file back towards him, signaling there would be no further discussion on the subject.

    Mac pushed himself up and left the office wordlessly, lips pressed tight together.

    As his office door closed behind Mac's rigid back, Jim leaned back in his chair and set the case file down with a sigh.

    Which was how Mac now found himself facing an unexpected and unwanted weekend off. He started to shiver again and found he couldn't stop, the prolonged cold and exhaustion finally catching up to him. His fingers on fire from the blood rushing back to them, he took off his coat and unlaced his boots. Kicking them into a heap in the corner, he pulled his gun off his belt and set it on the kitchen counter as he walked down the hall to the bathroom.

    He let the room become vaguely hazy with steam and the mirrors fog over as he pulled his sweatshirt over his head and peeled off his damp t-shirt. The room's rising temperature was bliss, and he suddenly found it difficult to keep his eyes open. He leaned forward on the counter, resting his forehead on the mirrored cabinet above it. The humid plumes of stream rolled softly over his back and around his arms, warming him. Maybe he would sleep after all.
    Pushing himself back up, he slowly took off his belt and, out of habit emptied his pockets: wallet, spare change, pocket knife, extra apartment key, cell phone…

    The water was impossibly hot, his skin impossibly cold, but a sense of normalcy returned as it poured over him. Twenty minutes later he reluctantly turned it off and stepped out. Pulling on his oldest faded t-shirt and lounge pants, he collapsed onto his bed and fell instantly into an exhausted, fitful sleep.


    3 months earlier

    She paused outside the door as she heard the familiar sound of an electric bass riff float through. She smiled, it was a new one though. She listened for a few seconds before quietly turning the key and slipping inside. Setting her keys and purse down and sliding her shoes off, she snuck across the kitchen to the entrance of the living room. She peeked around the corner and saw him seated on the floor, his back leaned against the couch and dressed in nothing but his favorite tattered t-shirt and cargo shorts, one bare foot keeping time. The music line faltered and stuttered, and she grinned as several choice words immediately followed. Keeping a tight lid on the giggles that desperately tried to escape at his oblivious frustration, she advanced stealthily behind him.

    He had been so engrossed in figuring out the new chord progression, that he had never even heard her come into the apartment, let alone sneak up behind him. Continuing to mutter expletives, he directed a glare at the uncooperative, suspended D7 chord sequence. The damn thing had been giving him fits for the last hour. He instinctively tensed as a pair of hands suddenly covered his face. Then a low, amused voice sounded in his ear.

    "I have you now, Mr. Detective man! You're all mine!"

    He grinned broadly, and with one swift motion set aside his bass and gave an expert tug on one of the arms that had so suddenly appeared. With a little squeal, the owner came tumbling over the back of the couch towards him.

    "Mac!" she exclaimed with a giggle as she landed with a soft thwump on the cushions by his head. "Not fair! Now be nice!"

    "I'm always nice!" he replied, still grinning and not releasing his hold on her wrist. "Aren't I always nice?" he queried, pretending to be hurt.

    She just laughed and tried to twist her hand free.

    "Oh no you don't!" Mac exclaimed mischievously, grabbing her other wrist. "You decided to sneak up on me. Time to pay the consequences!"

    "Consequences?" she said, still laughing as she continued vainly to try to pull free of his grip. "What 'consequences?"

    Instead of answering, Mac simply leaned to one side and gave her wrists another quick tug, pulling her off the couch and onto the floor next to him. Grinning down at her and meeting the dancing eyes that were looking up at him through her hair that had now fallen all across her face, he smirked. "Who's got who now?"

    She tried to blow her hair from off her face, but only succeeded in making more of it to fall into her mouth. "Mac?" she spluttered, alternating between attempts to look sternly at him and fits of giggles. "Please?" Mac burst out laughing at her rapidly changing expression as she tried to decide whether to be annoyed or amused at him.

    "All right," he said, releasing her hands. "But since you interrupted me, you have to help me finish sorting this thing out."

    She propped herself up on her elbows, removing damp strands of hair from her mouth and smoothing it all back in place. She pouted at him, "And I just had it done special this morning!"

    "Awwww," Mac said with a totally un-sympathetic grin. "Here, let me help." He reached over before she could duck away, and rumpled it all backwards, making it into a worse mess than before.

    "Mac!" she squeaked, trying to evade his continued efforts to 'help'. He caught her as she attempted her escape.

    "Oh no you don't!" he said pulling her back towards him. "You have to stay here and help me figure this out, remember?"

    She landed laying, half-breathless from trying to laugh and scold him all at the same time, pinned securely and expertly against his chest. He smiled down at her. Her face was flushed, carrying a look of amused, hopeless exasperation, hair impossibly messed and falling everywhere. Her blue, feisty eyes bored straight into his. She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

    She squirmed around to face him as she pushed herself ever so slightly away so she could emphasize her sentence with several strategic pokes, "Only. if you. behave. yourself! Or else," she looked at him coyly with a shake of her finger, "The great Detective Mac Taylor might find himself without his muse. And then where would he be?"

    He pulled her back towards him so she was directly in front of him, her back against his chest and head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. The moment stilled and grew tangible. She could feel his heartbeat, strong and quick, as he leaned down and brushed her neck. His breath was warm and teasing as he gently kissed her, making his way from her shoulder up to her ear. Her own heartbeat quickened, and he spoke low, "He'd be lost."

    She turned in the close confines of his arms to face him. His eyes met hers with a warmth impossibly deep.
    "I love you Mac," she whispered, fingers entwining in his dark, wavy hair and around the back of his neck. His eyes closed and for a moment he didn't say anything, but his chest rose quicker and she could feel his body tense. When he opened his eyes, they were filled with a smoldering intensity that took her breath away. His hands snaked under her shirt and up her back as he pulled her even closer.

    "I love you Claire," he said huskily as he leaned forward to meet her lips, and kissed her with a passion matched in intensity only by the pounding of his racing heart.


    He lay on his side, head propped on his hand, quiet smile unable to be erased from his face and traced her perfect curves with his fingers, "Not that I'm complaining," he said, unable to keep his smile out of his voice, "But weren't you supposed to have some sort of big consulting meeting today at the Trade Center?"

    Claire grinned at him, "Yep, but I got a call asking if I would mind rescheduling for tomorrow. And since I'd already blocked out the rest of today think I'd be completely tied up, I figured there were worse things than spending the rest of my day off with you!"

    "Oh, worse things huh?" Mac laughed. "So I see how I rank now!"

    Claire punched his shoulder, "Hey, you know that's not what I meant."

    He smirked, "You said it though. I'm going to have to reconsider that homemade pasta I was going to make for dinner now that you'll be home."

    "Mac…!" she pouted. "Not fair!"

    He laughed.

    It was September 10, 2001.


    "Hey Mac!"

    Mac turned as he walked to his office. "Oh hey Stella," he replied.

    "Have a good day off?" she asked him.

    He smiled, "Yeah, I did."

    "Good, because after yesterday we're backed way up, and I'm fairly certain Jim dropped off a rather large stack of case files from yesterday on your desk. He says he split things equally with you, but I'm thinking not so much."

    Mac gave a little sigh, "Nothing says a nice hello like a pile of paperwork, results and photos to sift through." He snorted in disbelief, "And, I'm sure it was 'equal'!"

    "Yeah he did look rather shifty coming out of your office," Stella said with a grin that she tried to infuse with sympathy.

    Mac gave a another resigned sigh, "Anything in particular I need to watch out for?"

    Stella thought for a moment, "No there shouldn't be. We were crazy busy, but nothing complicated or overly weird or anything."

    "Well I suppose there is that," Mac said, "Hey, I'll catch up with you later."

    "Sure thing!" Stella said. "I've got mystery dirt to un-mystify."

    "Have fun with that," Mac replied with a smile.

    "Oh I will," Stella said as she headed down the hall, "But I'll take that over your paperwork any day!"

    Mac grimaced, "Yeah, me too." He turned and headed into his office. Sure enough, Jim had left him a not unsubstantial stack of folders and boxes. Mac sighed and settled in for what would most certainly prove to be a long morning.

    That morning ended abruptly only an hour later at 8:46am.

    New York City shook, and Mac Taylor's world crumbled in an instant.
  2. Jade_Nolan

    Jade_Nolan CSI Level One

    Nov 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 2

    He was seated on the couch and she was sitting over him, leaning in close, tantalizingly close, resting her weight on her hands so she came within millimeters of his body but never actually touched him. He tried to reach up and pull her close, but found he couldn’t move. She smiled at him, that devious little half-smile that drove him insane. His heart pounded and his breath caught, ragged in his throat.

    He needed her. He needed to hold her, to feel her close again. His whole being ached for her with an ache so deep it hurt and took his breath away. It twisted his insides, and he fought against the invisible force that was holding him down.

    But it was hopeless.

    “Claire,” he managed.

    She put her finger to his lips, “Shhh!”

    They burned where she touched him.

    All he could do was follow her with his eyes as she stood up, backing playfully away from him. And he realized with a sickening horror that there was nothing behind her. The room simply fell away into nothing, and she continued to back slowly towards it, seemingly oblivious to its existence. He tried to shout a warning but found his voice had stopped working.

    She smiled at him again.

    She was only a couple steps away from the emptiness.

    He fought with all his might against whatever was pinning him in place. Sweat rolled down his back and a horrible terror and panic filled him. He watched helplessly as she took a final step back and disappeared over the edge.

    “Claire!!!” he yelled.

    He sat bolt upright on the bed, heart racing, breath ragged, t-shirt damp with sweat and sticking to him, his body shaking almost uncontrollably.

    “Claire,” he whispered, the last vision of her disappearing and him being powerless to pull her back still filling his mind. His breathing was fast and shallow and he pulled his knees up, resting his arms and damp forehead on them as he tried to slow down his racing heart.

    The lingering stark reality of the dream and the resounding emptiness and silence of the apartment were crushing. As the adrenaline slowly left him, the ache that never left him filled every corner of his being. He was too tired to hold it at bay. He missed her with an intensity beyond description or thought; an intensity that wrenched his gut with physical pain. His eyes burned as he squeezed them closed and buried his head deeper in his arms, hot tears escaping down his face. His shoulders shook as he cried in silence.


    Damon gritted his teeth and gripped the edge of the table with his right hand so hard he couldn’t feel his fingers. He wished that were the case with his left. But those fingers had feeling, far too much of it. In fact it wasn’t just his fingers anymore that were screaming their protest at him. His whole arm up to his elbow was a mass of pain too.

    “Done,” Nick told him casually, releasing his hold on Damon’s wrist with one hand and tossing the car cigarette lighter into the trash with the other.

    Damon took a shuddering breath and dropped his left arm off the shop table which, despite Nick’s very firm grip, had taken every last ounce of his self-control not to pull away. He grasped his wrist and willed the horrible burning throbbing to subside. He desperately wanted to plunge his hand under cold water, but that would defeat the purpose of what he’d just put himself through.

    “FUCK!!” he managed. “Goddamn that fucking hurts!”

    Nick shrugged as he lit a cigarette, “Well what else did you expect from burning off your fingerprints? A nice fuzzy tingle or something? You want an owie band aid for them?” He laughed.

    Damon glowered fiercely at him, “I know you dumb fuck, you just did this hand last week!” He briefly waved his right one at Nick before returning it to grasp his left wrist.

    Nick leaned casually against the doorframe and widened his eyes as if he had just remembered, “Then what are you complaining for?”

    Damon felt a strong desire to knock Nick’s head into the doorframe at his amused grin. “You enjoyed it too didn’t you, you sick son of a bitch,” he shot at him.

    Nick chuckled as he drew on his cigarette. “I won’t lie,” he said, gesturing towards Damon, “I did get a certain sense of poetic satisfaction out of it. And now if you don’t mind,” he pushed himself away from the doorpost, “I’ve got a shop to run.” He opened the door of the back room, “Oh, and head out back would ya. I don’t want any potential customers scared off thinking I’ve got a complete imbecile working for me.” He glanced down at Damon’s burned fingers and chuckled again. He turned and walked out yelling as he did, “Hey, Tony, just what the hell do you think you’re doing with that front quarter panel?!”

    Damon watched as Nick marched over to one of the guys who was doing the paint job on one of the cars in the shop, apparently very wrongly, and proceed to berate him with a constant tirade of swear words for the next several minutes. Part of him felt a little sorry for whoever Tony was, but any such vaguely charitable feelings almost instantly vanished. Let Nick have his fun. The only reason he had come to him in the first place was because he knew there was no way he could have inflicted the injuries necessary on himself. He smiled tightly as he opened the back door to leave, giving one last look over his shoulder at the still yelling Nick. Yeah, let him enjoy his fun while he thought he had it.


    How long Mac sat there without moving he didn’t know. Although it had been a while since time actually meant anything. What was the point? He worked, ate occasionally, slept even less, because it was all for what? There was really no purpose to it all, unless it was the job itself. That at least had a meaning, a reason to do it beyond simply trying to forget. And so he worked. Worked constantly and sometimes around the clock. And for a few brief moments, he did manage to forget. But here, there was no meaning anymore, no purpose, no reason to do anything.

    Worse, everything around him reminded that she was no longer going to be walking through the front door, throwing her keys, coat, and whatever else she had with her, haphazardly everywhere. It used to drive him nuts. Whether it was his natural tendancy, a learned habit from the military, or most likely a combination of the two, he liked things neat and in their place. Certainly not obsessively, but the way Claire could manage to turn a room into a miniature tornado zone almost instantaneously caused him not a small amount of exasperation at times. But at the same time he loved it. It was her, it was her oblivious passion for the moment that countered his careful, calculating nature. He couldn’t remember the number of times he’d heard, “Oh don’t worry about it, Mac! We’ll take of that later!”, usually accompanied by a completely dismissive gesture before she’d enthusiastically forge ahead with whatever the main objective at hand was.

    Eventually a sort numbness crept into his mind, as if it was too exhausted to process anything else. His breathing finally slowed and evened. He looked up and gazed out the bedroom window at the thin, morning sunlight of winter. Claire’s face floated across his mind again, disappearing out into the city. He closed his eyes. God, he missed her.

    “What am I going to do?” he whispered after her. “What am I going to do now?”

    He slowly pushed himself off the bed. It was only 11 in the morning. And despite having slept only 4 hours, there was no way he was laying back down.

    Cleaning his gun with his left hand bandaged was difficult, but served to somewhat take his mind off the burning throb that was keeping time with his pulse. Damon Wilkins. He hated his last name actually. He’d contemplated changing it not a few times, but when it came right down to it he just couldn’t be arsed. Age 37. God, he was getting old. 37? Soon he’d be 40? He shook his head and decided not to think about that milestone until it stared him in the face. Job: security. He chuckled at this last thought. Yeah, ‘security’. That would be one way of putting it. He snapped the slide back in place, carefully braced the gun in the palm of his left hand and pulled back the slide with his right, peering down the newly barrel. Not a speck. He nodded, slid the magazine in, and ratcheted a bullet into the chamber.

    It was his ‘security’ job that had prompted his recent and very painful ‘change-of-identity’. There was a reason he hadn’t entered the realm of actual drug dealing itself. For the most part, the people were just plain stupid. Scratch that, he thought, people in general were stupid, but the level of petty, ego-driven stupid that saturated the majority of dealers and their gangs was really quite remarkable. Normally he steered well clear of that particular arena. The money was bad too. Not worth his time. But on occasion he’d be a ‘gun-for-hire’ for a high level deal or negotiation and while tensions always rode the edge of the envelope things typically never escalated into violence.

    Not this time. It wasn’t as significant of a deal that he was used to taking, but they paid well and in advance, so he took it. And almost instantly wished he hadn’t. When everything was over, there were two dead and four shot and he was lucky to have escaped with his life. He had been fairly certain nothing could be traced back to him as he had been meticulous as always in his preparation, but apparently not good enough.
    The cops had never been able to prove more than his presence at the scene and so got nothing more on him than conspiracy, which his lawyer managed to get pled down. He had served his 18 months, and here he was.

    Placing the gun in the holster that was concealed on the inside of the waistline of his jeans, he grabbed his coat, made a final double-check of the small room, smashed out his cigarette and headed out the door. He smiled. His short stint in lockup hadn’t damaged his reputation in the slightest. It had been all of 4 hours after he’d been released to get another call. Time to go to work.


    Comments anyone? I know it's been read, so do you guys like... dislike...? :/
  3. Jade_Nolan

    Jade_Nolan CSI Level One

    Nov 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Comments...? Anyone....? :confused:

    Chapter 3

    Damon was uneasy. Something about this whole thing wasn't sitting right with him, and although his outward demeanor remained relaxed, inside, he could feel a growing knot of tension. Thing was, so far it was all going according to plan. But if he had to admit it, that was part of what was making him nervous. Things never went according to plan. Even if it was a mundane detail, some little quirk that demanded making an obligatory fuss about it, something always got cocked up. He resisted the urge to double-check his gun. Not only did he already know it was securely snugged in its place and meticulously loaded and prepared, it would give away his unease. Which was the last thing he wanted to do. But the squirmy knot spread, and he'd been doing what he did for far too long and knew way better than not to trust his instincts. Something was definitely off, and he'd be damned if he let it get out of hand like last time.

    He stood easily, hands lightly clasped in front of him, the perfect picture of relaxed attention. But as all the formal and necessary introductory small talk and banter continued, Damon started to feel as tightly strung as a piano wire. He ran his eyes over the small group of people, all forcing themselves to be in the same room as each other. Well, he couldn't have cared less about it, but there was precious little love lost between anyone else. Especially between the two men who were making the most show about being friendly to each other…which was usually how it went, he thought.

    Then he spotted him. It wasn't that he'd never seen him before. Good god, in a city of millions there was no way he could keep track of all the players in his line of work. It wasn't that he oozed air of nervousness, that could be easily be chalked up to him being a newbie. No, it was the fact that he kept shrugging his right shoulder up to his ear every time he thought Damon wasn't looking at him. The movement was extraordinarily subtle. Damon glanced around and was fairly certain no one else had noticed it.

    "Who is that?" he asked the guy standing next to him. Ian Brunning was also an "independent" security personnel, and Damon used the term "independent" very loosely as Ian had been working specifically for Nikolo Gomez (one of the two major goons in the middle of the room) for a good while now. And although he didn't trust him father than he could throw a tank, Ian was up on who was who more than he was. And given that he had also just spent the last 18 months in prison, Damon figured he had a legitimate excuse for not knowing.

    Ian frowned, "That's Mike Vilencio. Yeah I know," he continued quickly at frown that had now appeared on Damon's face. "A false name if I ever heard one. But," he paused and nodded ever so slightly towards the second major goon in the room, "Delgado likes him, so…"

    Damon nodded. So he wasn't the only one eyeing the man with at least a certain level of suspicion. Although he still doubted anyone else had noticed the little shrug. The more he watched him, the more Damon became convinced that Mike (or whatever his real name was) was going to be trouble, and fast. There was only one reason he could think of why he kept shrugging his shoulder, and that was that he was wearing an earpiece. And since the rest of Delgado's men were clearly not, that left only one conclusion. Either Mike was genuinely hard of hearing (which Damon doubted very very much), or they were all going to be royally fucked in relatively short order.


    It was an odd feeling of being tired and yet having no desire to sleep, but Mac was getting used to it. Already no stranger to sleep deprivation, he had at least in the past missed his bed. And in a certain way he still did. He missed missing it. He missed looking forward to coming home to the woman he'd shared it with for 11 glorious years, trying to sneak in without waking her when he hadn't been able to come home until far too late. Or too early, depending which way you looked at when the "morning" started.

    She was never fooled though. She always knew when he came in no matter what time the clock read or how quiet and sneaky he tried to be. Pretending to stay asleep and with a single kiss on his neck, she'd slip an arm across his chest and stomach and lay close, her cheek warm against his bare shoulder.

    He'd kiss her forehead, and she'd smile, eyes still closed, and snuggle closer.

    It was the most comforting, safe feeling in the whole world. There was no more work, no more responsibility, no more ghosts.

    His body ached from the pain missing her. Ached from the pain of lack of sleep. Ached from desperation of wanting to not hurt so badly anymore.

    His phone rang. Again. It was Harris. Probably calling to check up on him. Intellectually he appreciated the sentiment, but it still rankled him. He hated being asked how he was doing. Was he ok? Was there anything someone could do? Did he need anything? etc, etc. What answer did they think they were going to get?

    Yeah, I'm fine, just fucking perfect!

    Besides, it was Harris who had ordered him off work in the first place, and he didn't feel like indulging his boss' guilty conscience over the act. He glared at his phone angrily as it buzzed on the coffee table.



    His lips tightened as the knot of seething frustration inside him grew with each ring. The sound grated against his raw nerves, and he snatched up the phone and threw it across the room.

    The battery exploded out the back of the phone as it hit the far wall, and the object of Mac's fury was instantly silenced.

    His anger wasn't abated though, and almost glad to feel something other than numbing grief, he grabbed his coat, slid his boots on, and without even bothering to tie them, headed back out, slamming his apartment door behind him.


    Damon's mind was working fast. If Vilencio was who he thought he was, his time was almost up to figure out what to do. If it wasn't already. The problem wasn't so much what to do, but how to do it. They would all be equally screwed if Vilencio knew that he knew. No, he had to think of a way to do it as discreetly and quietly and completely as possible.

    He set his jaw and walked slowly over to Delgado. He caught Ian's surprised look at the movement, but ignored him.
    Delgado also looked at him with some surprise and not a little disdain as he approached.

    "What the hell do you want?" he asked, looking Damon up and down, a dangerous glint in his eye at the intrusion.

    Damon didn't pause. He spoke very quietly next to Delgado's ear, but just loud enough for Gomez to hear as well.
    "What you are going to do is call this whole deal off. I don't care how. Make it sound like either one of you have a problem with the details or the delivery or something. I don't care. Call it off and get everyone out of here. Now."

    Delgado's face turned a distinct shade of red and he was lost for words at Damon's audacity. Gomez was more vocal.
    "What the hell are you talking about? And who the fuck do you think you are?" he all but exploded indignantly.

    Damon ignored him. He no time or patience for the pride and ego of crime bosses of any kind or any level. He turned and walked over to Vilencio.

    "Hey! I'm talking to you!" Gomez continued at Damon's back.

    So much for discreet and quiet. Oh well.

    Damon stared coldly and silently at Vilencio.

    "Who's on the other end?" he asked.

    Vilencio didn't answer.

    Damon snapped. He didn't have time to fool around. He grabbed Vilencio, twisting the man's arm into a lock behind his back and knocking him to his knees. Taken by surprise at the sudden, vicious movement, Vilencio dropped without effort. Damon nodded for Ian to come over.

    Fear crept into Vilencio's eyes as Ian held him securely and Damon yanked his his head to the side. Damon fished out the micro earpiece Vilencio was wearing and held it up.

    The silence that ensued was deafening.

    Damon dangled the earpiece so close to Vilencio's face, it brushed his eyelids. He leant in next to it.

    "Who the FUCK is on the other end?" he erupted, making Vilencio jump violently.

    The momentary spell broke. Gomez was the first to react.

    "You have got to be fucking shitting me!" he exclaimed. He gestured back towards the vehicles he and his men had arrived in. "You're fucking right any deal's off! Go, go, go!" There were screeches of tires as everyone involved didn't wait to find out who exactly it was that was going to show up next.

    Gomez paused half way to his vehicle and turned, pointing at Delgado, "He's your man. You better take care of this and hope nothing comes of it, because I'll be coming for you if it does."

    Delgado glared with palpable fury at Vilencio as Gomez jumped into his truck and screamed away. He turned away for a brief moment as if to gather himself. Wheeling back around suddenly, he struck Vilencio across the side of the head with his pistol. The man slumped forward, unconscious.

    Delgado took a deep breath. "Pick him up," he ordered Ian, who still held Vilencio somewhat upright and nodded towards Damon, "Let's go."


    Mac lay on the couch, eyes closed. He was tired. God was he tired. His right arm draped across his face, and his left hung off the side of the couch, his fingertips resting lightly against the top of the whiskey glass he'd been caressing the last hour since getting back.

    A knock on the door shook him out of his brooding reverie. He frowned. He certainly wasn't expecting anyone and had no desire to see anyone anyway. He didn't move, and chose to ignore whoever was out there. But the person knocked again, more insistently this time. Mac scowled. It was probably some solicitor. Annoying bastards. They knocked again. Quite loudly this time in fact. The scowl deepening on his face, he pushed himself off the couch, seething with frustration. He really did not want to deal with this right now.

    Opening the door ready to lay down some scathing remarks towards whoever was going to be attempting to foist something on him, he was brought up short by the person standing on the other side. She was definitely not a solicitor. Her hand was raised to knock again, and her face registered some surprise at his look of simmering annoyance he was unable to completely erase from his expression.

    "Aiden, what are you doing here?" Mac asked in a bit of bewilderment.

    "Hey Mac! Evening! Nice to see you too!" she responded with wry smile.

    He managed a ghost of a smile, "Yeah, sorry. I thought it was… never mind." Of the people it could have been, Mac found he was glad it was her. She was one of the very few people who didn't tiptoe their way around him in a sort of constant nervous pity. He hated that. Not only did it make everything seem worse than it already was, it only made whoever it was only more uncomfortable and uncertain with any interaction with him, and he invariably ended up more pissed off and depressed (if that were possible) than before. The reality of his situation stared him unblinkingly in the face every minute of every day. He didn't need someone reminding him of how he felt by timidly asking if he was okay every time he turned around. He ran his hand through his hair and took a deep breath, collecting his thoughts as he swung the door open farther. "Hi," he remedied, "Come in?"

    "Thanks," Aiden stepped through the door that Mac held open, taking in both him and the apartment. She hadn't really seen him outside of work before, and hadn't specifically worked a case with him in the last few months, well, since…since after Sept., she thought. But the belt to his jeans seemed pulled tighter than she remembered. His eyes were dark, and despite a sort of simmering edge that radiated off him, held a haunted weariness that he couldn't hide. His t-shirt hung a shade loose on him, and although she had obviously found him at home, his apartment looked as untouched and unlived in as if he never stepped foot inside. Nothing was out of place or disheveled, but neither did it have that carefully cleaned and cared for look. It simply seemed abandoned and deserted. She turned to look back at him as he closed the door behind her. They matched, she realized. And it was one of the saddest thoughts and revelations she'd had.

    "Harris sent me," Aiden said, mentally shaking herself.

    "What?" Mac asked somewhat confused.

    "The answer to your question, why I'm here," she continued.

    "Oh, right," Mac ran his hand through his hair again. "What does he want?" he asked with some bitterness.

    "An undercover cop was killed," Aiden told him.

    Mac stopped cold, and Aiden could see his jaw set.

    "Who?" he asked.

    Aiden shook her head, "I don't know exactly. We just got the call less than an hour ago. Harris sent me by to pick you up. Why? You know somebody?"

    Mac didn't reply. He pulled a sweatshirt that was draped across the back of a chair over his tshirt and grabbed his winter work coat out of the front closet. Clipping his gun and badge to his belt, he shoved his phone in his pocket. He'd replaced the battery, and aside from a small dent on one side, it was none the worse for wear after his impulsive assault on it earlier that day. There was a part of him that cringed at the memory. Not at his anger, but his complete lapse of maintaining control of it. However, he shoved the thought to the back of his head.

    Putting his boots back on for the third time in less than 24 hours, Mac grabbed his keys off the counter and turned to Aiden, "Let's go."
  4. mulder42

    mulder42 Corpse

    Jul 8, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Just finished all your posts. Well written, and I'm intrigued by the undercover cop's murder. I like the 9/11 storyline, since it's something we haven't seen on the show (well, we'll see it in September, but you know what I mean). When do we get a next chapter? You must finish this, and, "Anthem of Angels" as well. :)
  5. Jade_Nolan

    Jade_Nolan CSI Level One

    Nov 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Thank you! :D And yeah, it's been really fun but heartbreaking to write Mac so soon after 9/11 when everything about it and him is still so raw :( And not to worry, I'm working on both stories ;)

    Chapter 4

    Neither Mac nor Aiden said anything on the drive over to the crime scene. Mac sat in the passenger seat of the unmarked NYPD car that Aiden drove, and stared fixedly out the front window at the snow that swirled around their headlights as the last vague vestiges of daylight disappeared. It was night again, and Mac almost welcomed the lonely dark which, while torturing him with its solitude and emptiness, empathized with such feelings.

    The falling snow seemed to zoom towards the beams of their headlights, and the single-speaker siren sounded muffled as it became increasingly smothered. Aiden glanced over at Mac and noted the sharp change in him since they had worked last. He'd always been rather quiet, but that was just his personality. He had a wicked quick sense of sneaky humour with a spark and glint in his eye and smile that let on there was far more behind that quiet exterior than was immediately transparent. Aiden remembered with a bit of a vindictive grin, the occasional cocky or tough guy who stupidly mistook his calm, controlled approach as weakness. They rather quickly and thoroughly changed their minds.

    Now, she glanced back over at him, his jaw set rigid and eyes as hard as steel, his whole body both tense and worn down at the same time. His silence wasn't just a preliminary assessment of who he was with and his surroundings anymore. And god have mercy on the poor sod who managed to anger him.

    She recognized the look. Her kid brother had been hit by a car and killed right outside their apartment when he was 14 and she was 19, just after she started at the academy.

    "Radio?" she asked, returning her gaze out the front windshield.


    "The radio," Aiden replied matter-of-factly, glancing back over at Mac. "Do you mind if I turn it on?"

    "Yeah, sure," Mac answered somewhat distractedly.

    Aiden flipped to one of her more preferred rock stations, and soon Linkin Park was blasting out the car speakers.

    Mac's brooding reverie came to an abrupt end. He looked sideways at Aiden.

    "Linkin Park?" he asked skeptically with a raised eyebrow.

    "Yeah," Aiden replied belligerently. "You got a problem with that, Mac? You got a problem with my taste in music?"

    He just looked at her, deadpan.

    "Well tough!" Aiden replied. "I'm driving. Deal with it."

    He continued to look at her, silent and unmoving.

    Aiden shook her head emphatically, "I'm not changing it, Mac."

    The barest glimmer of a tight smile tugged at the corners of his mouth briefly as he turned back to the front. The snow continued to zoom towards them, and his thoughts once again flew out into the infinite darkness.


    They parked just outside the taped-off crime scene, and stepped out into the bitter cold. The wind had died off and the snow now fell gently, as if reverencing the tragedy that awaited them. Mac looked up at the overhead train trellis. Although the majority of New York's train system was underground, there was not an insignificant portion of it shaking its way through the neighborhoods outside the glitz of downtown Manhattan. He liked it, the crosshatched iron and steel support structure which framed narrow road lanes underneath and pockmarked with rust, reminded him of Chicago. He heard the familiar pre-rumblings that were the warnings of an approaching train. He and all his friends had grown up in a neighborhood with the L rattling and shaking its way past their windows, and a night or day didn't pass without the noise and racket of the train. He hadn't realized how accustomed he'd been to it until he moved to college and realized he kept waiting for the familiar, brain-rattling reverberations that never came.

    He also never thought he'd miss it.

    Shaking himself out of his brief reverie and the firmly closing off the further recollections that always came when he started thinking about his home city, Mac turned his attention to the crime scene ahead.

    A young, dark-haired, almost cheery looking detective scuffed over to him with an easy swagger. He stuffed his pen into his left hand that was already holding his notebook, and stuck out his right towards Mac.

    "Detective Flack," he introduced himself. He continued apologetically, "Sorry you had to get dragged out here in this weather on your day off."

    Mac shook the younger man's hand firmly. "Detective Taylor," he answered, "And don't worry about, I wasn't exactly doing anything anyway."

    Flack grinned, "Detective Taylor, eh? I hear you're the best."

    Mac raised one eyebrow in skeptical disbelief. "Where'd you hear that?"

    Flack nodded with a wink in Aiden's direction.

    Aiden shoved Flack in the shoulder. "Shut up!" she hissed at him.

    Mac turned to her, raising an eyebrow and resuming the grim, deadpan look he had given her in the car.

    Aiden opened and closed her mouth trying to come up with a response. "Mac…I…look…" she said, blushing furiously.

    Mac just shook his head slightly and looked back towards Flack who was bubbling barely contained humour, glanced sideways at Aiden one last time, and turned his full attention towards the scene at hand and the vast array of police presence milling around. Despite the weather, the fact that Maroth was one of their own meant that there was a far larger contingent of everybody, from uniformed cops to plain clothes officers to crime scene techs and soon, Mac surmised, all their respective bosses. He raised his voice so it cut through the barely contained energy that crackled through the scene, "Everybody, I understand this is one of our own and we all want to do something and get this solved, but we also all know what needs to be done and we won't treat this differently than any other crime scene. I appreciate you showing up and helping, but we need to start processing. So if you're not part of the assigned homicide squad or part of CSI, I'm going to have to ask you to get back to your other assignments. Thank you."
    He watched as people slowly filtered away. He turned. "What do we got?" he asked Flack.

    The young detective immediately became serious. "Patrick Maroth," he said, glancing at his notebook. "A passerby saw him lying under the bridge here and called it in. EMS got it as an 'unknown man down', and given the fact that he turned out to have been shot and then some, and not some poor homeless guy who froze to death, they called us."

    The distant intermittent sound of the approaching train grew louder and became a roar as it finally shook its way overhead. Mac turned away and covered the side of his face with his arm as a sudden blast of air and snow buffeted down. The train rattled its way into the distance. Mac shivered as the residual icy wind ate through his coat and stabbed its way down his neck.

    Flack led Mac and Aiden over to where Maroth was lying. The name Patrick Maroth sounded familiar, like he should know who it was, but he couldn't quite place it. The last faint rumbling of the train died into the distance.

    Mac gazed down at their victim. He was laying on his back, head tipped slightly up, arms spread out. His feet were bent underneath him as if he'd fallen backwards from a kneeling position, and one glance at the bullet hole in his forehead an inch above his nose indicated that that's exactly what had happened. And Mac also knew why the name sounded so familiar. They'd worked the same shift at the same precinct back when they were both beat cops. Their lockers were next to each other, and Mac had been sympathetically amused more than once with Moroth's groanings about his partner, who was close to retiring, fat and quite lazy. Mac had even met his wife a few times. But their paths had never crossed once Patrick transferred to the organized crime division and Mac made detective, moving over to the crime lab.

    Mac's heart sank. It was bad enough when any cop was killed, but it was especially hard when he actually knew who it was, and on top of it, he'd always rather liked Patrick. His wife's name was Julia, he remembered.

    Mac knelt down quietly and balanced his camera on his knee. The snow still fell in big flakes that gently accumulated on Patrick's still body in a sort of burial. He and Julia had had their first baby just before he transferred. Emily. He would take any excuse at the precinct to pull out her picture with a huge grin and show everybody, to the point where they'd groan good-naturedly with a "Yes, Pat! We've seen your kid, she's adorable!"

    Mac closed his eyes briefly at the thought of Patrick's wife receiving the news that her husband was dead. His chest ached with a stabbing, acute empathy.

    "Mac, you ok?" Aiden said quietly behind him.

    Mac took a deep breath. "Yeah," he said, "I just knew him, that's all."

    "Ah geez, Mac. I'm sorry," Aiden said.

    "Yeah," Mac said simply. "Me too."

    He brought his camera up and started the methodical process that was about the only thing anymore that brought him any sort of peace and temporary escape from his racing thoughts.


    As he took pictures of Moroth's body and took stock of his other injuries besides the shot to the head, Mac's blood began to boil. Maroth had not had an easy death. Whoever it was that had killed him had made sure he had suffered. His face was covered with bruises and cuts, and one eye had swollen shut. He'd also been forced in his final moments to kneel with his right knee obliterated from a close-range gunshot. There was also a frustrating lack of any sort of actual evidence at the scene. Any footprints or tire tracks been either obscured by the snow or obliterated by the hoard of police presence that had shown up. He propped his camera on his knee again and looked around. They were only about thirty yards off from the road and the train trestle. But the distance was wrong in both that it was too far and close.

    He stood up and walked back up to the road. He turned around and looked towards where Maroth lay in snow. Sure he was wearing a black coat that stood out against the snow, but it was still a pretty good distance to see from a car while driving past, in a snowstorm. He was genuinely surprised anyone had noticed Moroth. But by the same token, for how long the beating would have taken, there was no way that the event wouldn't have been seen by someone had it taken place there, particularly since it wasn't even that late yet and only recently gotten completely dark. Which brought him back full circle in his line of thought - how the hell had Moroth been both seen and/or unseen all at the same time?

    Mac caught Flack's eye and motioned him over. The detective joined Mac by the road.

    "When did the initial call come in?"

    Flack referenced his notebook again. "EMS reported they got the call at 5pm, and then the crew contacted us immediately after they got on scene, which was…" Flack glanced at the page, "…5:07pm."

    Mac nodded. So before it was completely dark but after sunset. He tightened his jaw and shook his head in frustrated bewilderment.

    "What?" Flack asked.

    Mac gestured back to the crime scene. "It doesn't make any sense," he said. "It would have been next to impossible for anyone to see him this far from the road at that time of day simply "down" like what EMS got called for. But I also find it equally impossible for the entire event to have taken place this close to the road even with complete darkness, let alone without and no one have seen it.

    Too close and too far. Too light and too dark. It doesn't fit."

    "Maybe someone did see the whole thing take place here and was too scared to call it in as anything more than a "man down" after it was all over?"

    "Maybe," Mac conceded reluctantly. "But what about the train? It goes past, what, every half hour or so? Whoever did this was obviously trying to get something out of Maroth, and I highly doubt the whole thing happened in under 30 minutes. Plus there's no way there were no cars going by that wouldn't have seen and called in a beating like the one he got."

    "So if all but the execution happened elsewhere, then how did anyone see him just lying there?" Flack finished Mac's train of thought.

    "Exactly," Mac said. "None of fits. And why wait to shoot him here at all? Why not just do a body dump?"

    "One last chance for him to reveal what they wanted?" Flack guessed.

    "Possibly," Mac mused.

    He walked back to where Maroth was lying, and motioned Aiden over.

    "What's up?" she asked.

    "I need to know if this is our complete crime scene, or if he was just shot here, and tortured somewhere else. Start
    from here and head back up to the road looking for any traces of blood in the snow."

    "There's been a lot of people here Mac," she said rather dubiously. "I don't know how much would be left."

    "I know," Mac said. "Just see what you can find."

    "On it," Aiden replied.

    She collected the crime scene techs and organized them into a careful sweep and 'de-layering' of the snow around their victim and back to the road.

    Mac looked back down at Moroth, slowly being covered in snow, staring sightlessly into the night sky. He beckoned the coroner techs over load the body into their van to take it to the morgue. He watched as they zipped the sturdy, black body bag over Patrick's battered face and swore that whoever did it to him and left his wife without a husband and little girl without a daddy, would pay dearly. He turned as the van lumbered off. He had blood to find in the snow of the streets of New York.


    Damon watched the scene from his vantage point, through his binoculars. Although there was nearly a morass of police personnel, the one CSI detective, despite looking as though he had been off duty, clearly took command as soon as he walked on scene. Damon watched him, intrigued, as he quickly sized up the implications of the where and when the undercover cop had been discovered, wandering back to the road and pointing out his dilemma to the young homicide detective.

    There was something extremely focused about how he worked and interacted with the rest of the personnel on scene, yet his initial pause when he got to the body and before he sent it off, indicated to Damon that there something more than just the fact that it was a cop. Because he would have known that fact before he ever got on scene. No, this detective would prove interesting.
  6. Jade_Nolan

    Jade_Nolan CSI Level One

    Nov 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 5

    “Hey Mac!”

    Mac looked up to where Aiden was calling him.

    “I got something.”

    Mac walked over to where she was kneeling.

    “Blood,” she said, pointing in the snow. “And it looks like there’s trace of it going all the way to the road. You were right, he was just shot here. We’ve got a crime scene somewhere else.”

    Mac nodded, a glint of triumph in his eye. Despite the complexity of the investigation having just multiplied exponentially, at least now he had started to piece together an idea of the events leading up to Maroth’s death. “Document and get samples of all the blood trace we have here,” he told Aiden, noting out of the corner of his eye another car approach and park. He recognized it instantly, and ignored it and its occupant who got out and walked towards them. Instead, he pretended he hadn’t noticed, and turned and headed back towards where Maroth had been found, laying on ground. He squatted down and silently surveyed the spot. The wind came in short, angry gusts now, numbing his face and make him start to shiver slightly inside his coat.


    Mac looked up and nodded acknowledgingly at Harris. There was a brief pause as the two exchanged an unspoken receipt of the confrontation of the day before. There was a stubborn streak in him that was still pissed off at the whole thing, but Mac knew by sheer virtue of Harris sending for him on this crime scene, he hadn’t held the argument against him. He felt the roiling anger that had started at Jim’s arrival subside to a simmer.
    “Jim,” he said. And he read nothing but understanding in his friend’s face. His anger reluctantly gave way to the tired grief that was his existence.

    Jim gratefully left everything unsaid. Instead, he indicated the spot where Maroth had been lying and Mac had been studying. “What have you found?” he asked.

    Mac cleared his throat, “More questions than answers I’m afraid. He was badly beaten elsewhere before he was shot here. We’ve got a blood trail leading from the road to this point, but any tire tracks have long been obliterated. There are no shell casings, and even the torture he was put through before being shot was almost clinical. This is definitely a professional job. Do we know what he’d been working on?”

    “Arms dealer,” Jim answered. “There was supposed to have been a deal going down earlier, but something tipped them off. All contact was lost with Maroth. And then this was called in a few hours later.”
    Mac stood up, and the two men stared across the road and past the overhead train trestle, into the depths of the city. The snow was frozen and hard and stung Mac’s face as the wind blasted it in gusts. There were rumblings of another train approaching.

    “I was on my way to tell his wife,” Jim said quietly.

    Mac felt a knife stab painfully just under his ribs as he envisioned all too well the impending scene.

    “Let me,” he said, even quieter.

    Jim looked sharply at him, “You sure, Mac?”

    Mac finally met his eyes, and Jim saw the unfiltered, haunted pain in them.

    “Yes,” Mac told him.

    Jim held his eyes for a long moment. “Okay,” he said.


    Mac left Aiden finishing collecting blood samples from the snow, and rode with Harris over to the Moroths’ house. They sat in silence, driving through the sharp, orange glow of street lights reflecting off the falling snow. Each had had to deliver the news of someone’s death to a victim’s loved ones more than either could count by this time; but this was different. Pat was one of their own. They all worked with the knowledge that such risk was part of the job; and the most feared dread of any of their families was the arrival of an NYPD car and that somber knock on the door. But it was also something specifically not thought about or dwelt on, as if by doing so, the possibility was somehow mitigated.

    Harris crunched the car to a slow stop in front of the Maroths’ small house in west Queens. He slowly pushed the shifter into park in an attempt to somehow delay the inevitable.

    “You sure you want to do this, Mac?” he asked.

    “Yeah,” Mac said. Although he wasn’t even remotely sure. His stomach twisted in knots. The absolute and utter raw pain, panic and desperation he had felt as he had essentially watched Claire die, utterly helpless and incapable to do anything about it, flooded back. His chest suddenly hurt so badly it made every rapid breath painful, and he shakily raised the back of his hand to his forehead,.

    It took every ounce of effort he had to shove the memory backwards. As he did so and looked back up to the silent house that awaited them, the memory of the last time he’d had to make a similar official visit floated forward. Although he’d worn a different uniform at the time, he remembered it as though it had happened yesterday. Sgt. Ridley. He’d been the front squad leader during a patrol on Mac’s last tour, when they’d taken enemy contact. Mac could still hear getting the initial report from the lead fire team on his radio, while himself pressed up against the wall of a building, flinching as tiny flying stone fragments from ricocheting bullets stung his face, and trying to figure out exactly where the bullets were coming from.

    But instead of Sgt. Ridley’s voice informing him in his usual, sarcastic voice what was going on, it was Sgt. Kemp who’d given the initial contact report that included, “One black!”. Sgt. Ridley had been shot in the neck, and bled out in less than a minute. By the time Mac and his team had been extracted, three were as ultimate casualties. It turned out to be a miracle any of them had made it out alive at all from that ambush. But that fact only made telling Ridley’s widow that much harder. He was alive, and her husband wasn’t. She hadn’t blamed him for Ridley’s death in the slightest, but Mac had never been able to be as forgiving to himself.

    Jim looked dubiously at him, “You ok, Mac?”

    Mac took a deep breath, shaking the remnants of ghosts from his vision. “Yeah,” he said. “Let’s go.” Somehow the memory of that distant day in the desert had paradoxically served to steady him.
    It was now quite late, and the house was completely dark. Mac rang the doorbell and waited, shivering, as the wind refused to let up. He’d forgotten to grab a hat on his way out, and his ears hurt. A light from inside came on. Then the one above them came to life, and the front door swung open.

    “Mrs. Maroth?” Mac asked.

    “Yes?” she asked, blinking, confused and still not fully awake.

    “I’m Detective Taylor,” he gestured behind him, “This is Detective Harris. May we come in?” He could see her take in his CSI jacket and Harris’ somber expression, and watched with an aching heart as fear and panic flooded her face. He softly stepped across the open doorway and Harris closed the door behind them.

    “No,” she breathed, “Oh god please no. Tell me he’s okay. Please tell me he’s okay!” she said, her voice rising as she saw nothing but confirmation of her worst fears at their silence.

    “I’m sorry,” Mac said gently.

    Julia backed up and shook her head, face moving in wordless emotion, and tears forming in her eyes. She brought her hands to her mouth. “No. No! You’re lying!” she finally managed, voice breaking with desperation. “He’s ok!” She
    started crying.

    “He’s okay…! Oh my god… this can’t be happening…” she said between gulping breaths. “He has… he has… TELL ME HE’S OKAY!” she all but yelled at them, her whole body shaking with indescribable and uncontainable emotion.

    Mac stepped forward and gently put his hands on her shoulders.

    “Tell me! TELL ME…HE’S…O…KAY!” she shouted at him, accenting her words with desperate blows to his chest with her fists, as though she could somehow change the awful answer she knew was true.

    “I’m so sorry, Julia,” Mac said quietly, his heart breaking for her. He pulled her close as she finally broke down sobbing. He closed his eyes, his own grief mixing with hers, and for the first time, as raw as it still was, found an expression that didn’t feel as if he was being shredded into a million pieces.


    The sound of persistent knocking on his front door, shook Ian grumpily awake. He rolled over and tried to ignore it. But it stubbornly persisted.

    “Fine! I’m coming, I’m coming!” he shouted in the direction of the front door. Pulling a shirt over his head and stuffing his gun in the back waistband of his pants, he shuffled his way to the front of the house. Opening the door, he was did not expect to see who it was.

    “Damon?!” he said in surprise, “What are you doing here?”

    “Can I come in?” Damon asked him in a hurried tone.

    “Yeah, sure,” Ian replied.

    Damon walked past him, glancing around in a nervous fashion.

    “What’s up?” Ian asked him, closing the door against the bitter cold that had blasted its way in.

    “Do you have your gun on you?” Damon asked.

    “Yeah. Why?” Ian asked.

    “It’s that cop,” Damon said, very unexplainably and still very fidgety. “Can I see it?”

    Mentally reminding himself of the second pistol he always kept on him, Ian dubiously pulled his gun from earlier that day from his back waistline. “What about that cop?” he asked, handing it to Damon. “I thought we took care of him.”

    “We did, we did,” Damon said, still edgy.

    “So? What’s going on then?” Ian said.

    “Loose ends,” Damon said.

    “What loose ends?” Ian asked, suddenly getting a very bad feeling.

    “These loose ends,” Damon replied quietly, coldly and calmly bringing Ian’s gun up and pointing it at his head.
    Ian had just enough time to register what was going on and start to reach for his other pistol before Damon quite coolly shot him between the eyes. He fell backwards, dead instantaneously.

    Damon looked disdainfully down at him. Dropping Ian’s gun on the ground next to him and the growing pool of blood from his blown-out skull, Damon turned on his heel, reopened the front door, and disappeared back out into the night. The whole visit had lasted less than three minutes.
  7. mulder42

    mulder42 Corpse

    Jul 8, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Wow--this Damon is a cold bastard. Still liking it...:)

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