Cut and run, p.14

Cut & Run, page 14

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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  Ty pulled out a new T-shirt from his seemingly endless supply, one with “ExFed” written across the front in purple and green letters, and he slid into it as he turned around and looked over Zane. “Sure you’re all right?” he asked, sounding almost self-conscious as he covered up.

  Zane refocused on the man in front of him, blinking a few times. Ty looked uncomfortable suddenly. Worried his partner wouldn’t be up to the task? He spent a short minute thinking of what he wanted to say. This slightly different side of Ty—the man who’d tended his wounds—made Zane feel like he could be a little more open. But the man now in front of him looked uneasy.

  “I will be,” he answered quietly.

  Ty raised an eyebrow dubiously and pursed his lips. He finally nodded and then looked back down at himself. “I was going to shower,” he muttered, almost talking to himself as he pulled the clean T-shirt off again and flushed slightly in embarrassment. He wasn’t used to being flustered.

  Raising an eyebrow, Zane watched the slight blush cross Ty’s cheeks.

  Seeing such a soft look on the other man stirred something inside Zane, something warm he had to swallow on. “Okay,” he murmured. “I’ll hold down the fort. ”

  Ty nodded and picked up a battered leather toiletry bag on his way to the bathroom. He couldn’t even produce a snappy response. Zane watched him disappear into the bathroom, still a little mystified. He certainly hadn’t said anything he thought could be construed as embarrassing. Sighing, he shook his head just slightly, winced as the back of his neck screamed, and tried to relax, eyes shuttering.

  Taking the minimum amount of time in the shower, Ty washed the blood off and made sure he was reasonably clean. He stepped out of the steamy bathroom with nothing but a towel around his waist, and he peered at Zane closely, trying to determine if he’d gone to sleep. He moved closer and knelt beside the bed, resting his chin on the mattress and looking into Zane’s face.

  Dimly, Zane sensed his partner close. “What?” he murmured softly.

  “Nothin’,” Ty answered in the same soft tone. “Just making sure you weren’t dead. ”

  The corner of Zane’s mouth curled up. “Would you miss me?” he asked sleepily, the drowsiness lulling him into the odd question.

  “Sure,” Ty answered in a gently placating tone as he reached up and petted Zane on the head to humor him.

  Zane’s soft chuckle was mostly muffled by the pillow. “Sure you would,” he said as he went to sleep, trusting Ty to keep watch.

  Ty squatted by the side of the bed for a long time, frowning at Zane’s sleeping face. Thinking hard about it, he realized that he just might miss the guy. Even if it was just because he was so fun to annoy. “Damn you,” he muttered softly.

  “HEY, Henny,” Mark Morrison greeted from the opening in the curtain around the emergency room cubicle. “Are you maimed for life?” He smirked at his fellow agent.

  Tim Henninger glared up at him and curled his lip into a sneer as the nurse finished his stitches. “I’m not in the mood for humor right now,” he warned seriously. “I almost lost my fucking eyes, man. ”

  “Aww. Those puppy-dog eyes you blink at the girls to get your way,”

  Morrison teased.

  Henninger glared at him balefully, wincing with the last of the stitches.

  Morrison rolled his eyes. “Geez. ” He glanced around. “So where’s Garrett?”

  Henninger blinked at him and stiffened. “What, he’s not here?” he asked in concern.

  The other agent’s eyes shifted from side to side before he stepped out of the small curtained area. A couple minutes later he rejoined Henninger. “I don’t see him. Could he have been released already?”

  “No fucking way; he was hit harder than I was,” Henninger answered, trying not to frown because it pulled at the stitches. “Was he killed?” he asked in a near whisper.

  Morrison stared at him for a moment, and his lips tightened. “I haven’t heard anything. The coroner wasn’t there,” he offered flatly. “Why wouldn’t he come to the hospital if he was hurt?” His eyes narrowed as he thought it over.

  “Maybe he’s got something to hide? I remember Grady being there awfully fast,” Henninger told Morrison in a hushed voice.

  “I don’t remember seeing Grady at all,” Morrison murmured. “But I got there after the medics. Was that before or after the thing blew up?”

  “After,” Henninger answered with a scowl. His eyes glazed over slightly as he tried to remember the events in sequence. He and Garrett had approached the computers, and he had sat down and typed in the pass code.

  Then he’d had time to do several short searches before the bomb inside the computer had gone off. He remembered he was still wallowing on the ground and bleeding, yelling for help, when Garrett’s asshole partner appeared out of nowhere and started barking orders. He’d been forced to sit through hours of doctoring and interviews while Garrett got away, damn him. Quietly Henninger related what he remembered to his partner.

  Morrison frowned as well. “If Grady got Garrett out, he couldn’t have been hurt that bad,” he said.

  “He was,” Henninger murmured. “Trust me. ”

  “So what are they hiding? Something’s off. ”

  “You’re saying you think they’re dirty?” Henninger asked dubiously.

  “I haven’t said anything,” Morrison objected sharply. He looked around them again. “But it looks bad, you know? Oversight is coming in to interview us. We’ll have to tell them what we saw. ”

  Henninger pursed his lips and glanced at the dividing curtain with a sigh. “I fucking hate Oversight,” he muttered.

  “Shit, Henny. You about got your face taken off. Don’t you want to know who did it?” Morrison asked, crossing his arms.

  Henninger looked up and narrowed his eyes. “Oversight is highly unlikely to make that discovery, wouldn’t you say?” he asked softly.

  “Besides, that’s supposed to be what Grady and Garrett are looking into. ”

  “You saying we should keep our mouths shut?” Morrison asked quietly.

  Henninger stared up at him for a long, silent moment, mulling over the decision. “Yeah,” he finally said with a slow nod. “If they find out Garrett was there, it won’t have come from us, got it?”

  “Yeah,” Morrison agreed softly. He stared at him for a long moment before turning his eyes away and shifting uncomfortably. “I hate Oversight, too,” he muttered. “Always picking around in your personal business. ”

  “Yeah, you should,” Henninger spat. “I swear to God, Mark, if I have to cover for you when you go missing one more time, I’m going to shoot you.

  In a fun place. One that bleeds a lot. ”

  “Christ, Henny, fine. I’ll be more careful with my fucking lunch dates. That work for you?” Morrison asked, looking a little put out.

  Henninger rolled his eyes and shook his head. “You could wait ’til you’re off the clock like normal people,” he grumbled in annoyance. “It’s so unprofessional, it’s—”

  “Enough! Jesus! You’re on your damn soapbox again. How come you have to be such a goody two-shoes?” Morrison muttered.

  “It’s called doing your job, man,” Henninger snapped. “Where the hell did that doctor go?” he asked with a near growl as he resisted the urge to poke at the stitches. “I want to get the fuck out of here. ”

  Ty wasn’t sure when he’d fallen asleep, but he woke with a little gasp and a flail of his arms, still sitting in the chair he’d dragged in front of T Zane’s map of the crime scenes that was pinned to the wall. When he glanced around the room, he saw that Zane was still asleep, having shifted only slightly, perhaps stopped from moving by any pain when his back flexed.

  Ty looked around the room with a frown. He’d been dreaming, but he couldn’t remember anything save for the waking. Had he heard a sound? He grunted and pushed himself out of the chair, wa
lking over silently to kneel next to Zane again.

  The agent’s face was softened as he slept, a little flushed, despite being totally uncovered in the room’s cool air. He slept silently, one arm curled around the pillow against his chest, the other under the pillow that was under his head—most likely wrapped around his gun, Ty figured. His short brown hair was mussed, and he was scruffy, a day’s and night’s worth of whiskers growing out. He looked like a different man.

  Ty reached up to feel the side of his face with the backs of his fingers.

  He didn’t feel fevered, at least.

  He had just pulled his hand back when the vibration at his hip caused him to jump guiltily, and he stood quickly and paced away from the bed as he answered his phone.

  “What?” he snapped in a low voice.

  “Special Agent Grady? What is your status?”

  “My status?” Ty asked, feigning confusion.

  “There was an explosion at Federal Plaza today. Several witnesses claim you and Special Agent Garrett were present and possibly injured in the—”

  “No, we’re both fine,” Ty answered, cutting the voice off. He resisted the urge to ask how Henninger was doing. “Special Agent Garrett and I were in the reading room when the explosion occurred,” he said firmly instead.

  “We left to follow a lead and get out of the way of the EMTs. ”

  “That’s not the information we were given, sir. We were told by several bystanders that Special Agent Garrett was present with an Agent Tim Henninger at the time of the incident, and that he sustained serious injuries. ”

  “Your information is wrong,” Ty answered matter-of-factly.

  There was a short silence and a rustling in the background. Ty assumed this desk jockey wasn’t accustomed to bald-faced lies, and she didn’t quite know what to do with it. “Very well, Special Agent Grady,” she finally said curtly. “We request that you submit observation reports as soon as possible, as we are, of course, investigating the incident. May we speak with Special Agent Garrett, please?”

  Ty turned to look down at Zane and raised an eyebrow. “I’ll have him call you as soon as he’s out of the bathroom,” he answered before hanging up.

  Zane woke while Ty was talking, and he’d figured out what it was about pretty quickly. When Ty ended the call, he opened his eyes to see the other man watching him. “Bathroom?” he asked, amusement in his sleep-laden rasp.

  “I could have said a number of other things that came to mind,” Ty pointed out. “If they know you were hurt, they’ll yank you. ”

  Zane scrunched up his nose as he slowly pushed himself up, only wincing a little. “Yeah, probably. ”

  “I figured you didn’t want that,” Ty added pointedly.

  “You figured right,” Zane answered, sliding to sit on the end of the bed, carefully shifting his shoulder and back, checking his range of motion.

  He was stiff at first, but soon was moving fairly fluidly, the pain a mere annoyance.

  “You’re moving better, anyway,” Ty observed. “Guess that stick up your ass helps posture, huh?”

  Reaching his arms up behind him to stretch, Zane yawned, still mostly asleep. “You’d be surprised what that stick up my ass helps with. ” He stood up, twisted a little and flinched, then started toward the bathroom, rubbing at his eyes.

  “Do I even want to know?” Ty called after him.

  Zane laughed as he shut the door behind him, but it died off quickly, and he leaned on the sink looking at himself. “Probably not,” he murmured before turning on the water. He stretched again carefully, grimacing, and looked over his shoulder at his back. While most of it looked okay, a couple of the deeper chunks were red and swollen-looking. He pulled open the door and stepped halfway out. “Hey, would you put some more of that stuff on my back? There’s a few. . . . ” Zane let the words trail off as he realized Ty was looking at the wall intently like he had heard something. “What?” he asked.

  “Nothing,” Ty answered with a shrug, his expression unreadable as he turned his head to look at Zane. He sat on the end of the bed, one eyebrow cocked curiously as he waited for Zane to continue what he had been saying.

  Zane tilted his head, frowning a little. “Help me out?” he asked, pointing his thumb over his own shoulder.

  “Sure thing,” Ty muttered as he stood and strolled over to grab the ointment. “Does it still hurt?”

  “If I move too quick or twist side to side, it’s sharp. Otherwise just a dull ache, a few spikes here and there,” Zane said.

  “Pansy,” Ty offered with a smirk.

  Zane sighed. “I’ll have to lose a limb before I get any respect from you, won’t I?” he said, deadpan.

  “Maybe not a whole limb,” Ty answered thoughtfully as he made a dainty little “turn around” gesture with his finger.

  Shaking his head, Zane spun slowly in place, presenting Ty with his back. He closed his eyes at the first touch of Ty’s fingers, telling himself to ignore the yank in his gut.

  “Relax,” Ty muttered as he placed his hands on Zane’s tight muscles.

  “You’re so damn tense, no wonder you still hurt. ” He huffed as he prodded at some of the tender spots gently. He dipped his fingers into the tin of salve and began dabbing it onto the open wounds, then massaging it into the areas around them carefully.

  “You try taking a sheet of glass in the back and not be tense,” Zane objected, though he had to admit to himself it was more than that. Something about Ty was digging at him; the attitude, the bullshit, the hard-ass style—
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