Cut and run, p.31

Cut & Run, page 31

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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  All Ty could do to respond was close his eyes and let his head loll to the side. The thick leather of his jacket had saved his arm from a piece of smoldering shrapnel and it smelled like burning cow. He couldn’t seem to form words or thoughts.

  “Shit. Who decided we were taking turns?” Zane plucked the leather at Ty’s arm; it appeared to have survived, though it was scorched. He slid an arm under Ty’s back and helped him sit up. “I’m thinking the same disappearing act as the other day is a good idea,” he urged. “That was our car. ”

  Ty sat staring at the flaming vehicle as blood began to trickle down his neck. He shivered and lowered his head. “Help me up,” he requested hoarsely.

  Zane nodded and got to his feet before crouching to help Ty, and he caught sight of the blood. “Ty? You hit your head? Something hit you?”

  Ty turned his head obediently for Zane to look and closed his eyes, shivering again. The blood already matted his hair and covered the entire back of his neck.

  Zane’s lips compressed and he took Ty’s arm. “Come on,” he said, pulling Ty up and along toward the side stairwell, away from where anyone would appear as they came to investigate. The fact that Ty didn’t protest being led anywhere should have caused Zane more worry. The injured man practically kept his eyes closed as they moved. It was obvious his head was swimming, and the blood flowing down his neck was working its way under his collar and down his back.

  Getting them inside the stairwell, Zane held Ty up against the wall while looking back through the small window as agents swarmed into the garage, yelling and circling. Frowning, he got Ty’s arm over his shoulder and walked him down the steps to the ground floor. He helped Ty sit on the bottom step and touched his cheek, trying to get his attention. “Ty? Stay here.

  I’m going to get us a car, okay?”

  Ty cleared his throat and blinked up at Zane, narrowing his eyes. “I think I might need a doctor, man,” he rasped slowly.

  “I’ll take you to an emergency room, without other agents around.

  Stay here, okay?” Zane said intently, holding Ty’s chin.

  “Yeah,” Ty muttered, afraid to nod for fear of his head spinning faster.

  Zane moved quickly and with a purpose, making no pretense at hiding. The clerk in the key cage was gone, so Zane grabbed the first keys he saw. Once in the motor pool, he hit the unlock button and saw the flashing headlights of a mid-size SUV. Soon, he brought it to a halt at the stairwell and climbed out to get Ty. When he got back into the stairwell, he found Ty on the stairs where he’d left him, unconscious. Tim Henninger crouched next to him with his hand on his shoulder, supporting him. The younger agent was 186

  still bandaged from the explosion in the records room, his face and arms cut and stitched in places. His head was lowered, trying to look into Ty’s face as he slid his hand into his jacket, apparently reaching for a phone to call for help.

  Henninger turned and half-rose when the door opened, tensing, and then relaxed slightly when he saw Zane, who stopped in place, eyes narrowed.

  “Henninger. We’re getting out of here,” he said as he knelt in front of Ty and slid his arm under his partner’s. The movement seemed to rouse Ty slightly, and his hand clutched in the material of Zane’s jacket. “Keep your mouth shut about it. ”

  “What the hell?” Henninger questioned. “Look, he’s hurt. Why don’t we get the EMTs down here and—”

  “Because it’s too risky. I’ll take him to an emergency room. Now, are you going to help or not?” Zane asked in a flat, no-nonsense tone as he helped Ty to his feet, worried when the other man didn’t even look up at him.

  “Too risky?” Henninger asked as he followed them through the door.

  “What the fuck is wrong with you two? Let them take care of him!”

  “No,” Zane said as he got Ty to the passenger side. “You’re going up there and telling them we walked for coffee and were nowhere near that car, you got it?”

  Henninger opened the door, hand gripping the side of it until his knuckles turned white. “But why? They’re going to know it’s your car,” he said logically.

  “Yeah, and by then, we’ll be where no one can get at us,” Zane said as he practically lifted Ty into the backseat of the SUV.

  “You think someone in the Bureau is trying to kill you?” Henninger asked incredulously, brows nearly up into his hairline.

  “It might not be a bad idea for you to hide out for a while after this, too,” Zane said without answering the question. “You were too close to that computer. ”

  Henninger blanched and repeated himself. “You really think someone from inside’s trying to kill you? But that means they’d have to know why you were really sent here. ”

  “And now you see the problem,” Zane answered, shutting the door carefully. He turned to the other agent. “But right now, kid, you’re the only person I trust besides him,” he said with a jerk of his head at Ty, who had slumped in the backseat. “Look, call my cell phone once they pick apart that car and let me know what they find, okay? There’s obviously someone on the inside helping, if nothing else. ”

  Henninger’s face went hard as he followed Zane around the SUV.

  “Got it,” he murmured in a low voice.

  Zane nodded and climbed into the truck. Before closing the door, he stuck out his hand, which Henninger shook. “Take care of yourself. Get Morrison to watch your back. ”

  Henninger nodded. Zane shut the door and drove out of the garage, leaving Henninger behind to cover for them. By the time the SUV hit daylight, Ty was unconscious.

  Carrying his bloody partner into the emergency room didn’t even raise any eyebrows until Zane was able to flash his badge, and then everyone got busy, fast. Ty had a nice crack on the head; a long, thin gash that had bled badly but didn’t even need more than a few stitches, and some minor burns and bad bruising down his arm. Aside from the unpredictable head wound, the worst injury was to his rib cage. Nothing was broken, but he had pulled muscles and suffered deep, painful bruises along the intercostals that would impede his movement for quite some time. Weeks, definitely. Possibly months, the doctor had told Zane.

  Zane sat in a chair, leaning over with his elbows on his knees next to the bed where Ty sprawled, hooked up to an IV and all kinds of monitoring equipment. He needed to get them out of here soon. Since he’d used his badge to get in, word would get back to the office sooner rather than later. The admitting doctor had insisted on keeping Ty overnight, to watch the concussion and make certain it didn’t turn ugly. They had kept Ty awake most of the night, and it had made him very cranky, very sulky, and very difficult to deal with. Even more so than he usually was. Now he dozed as Zane waited impatiently for the doctor. He checked his watch yet again just as the doctor walked in.

  “He’s got a little internal damage, swelling in the skull that might bother him a few days, and a nice, big lump on the outside,” the doctor offered before Zane could even question him. “He got his bell rung, but he seems to be doing okay, other than the pain. Take him home, put an ice pack on it. Keep an eye on him, keep him up for an hour or two before you give him pain meds, just in case. If he doesn’t need the pills, don’t give them to him. I’m talking writhing in agony pain,” he said sternly. “And keep him in a nice quiet place for a few days until that swelling goes down. A head injury like this can turn bad quickly, though, so like I said, keep an eye on him. If 188

  there’s pronounced dizziness, blurring of vision, slurring, shakes, confusion, nausea and so on, call an ambulance. That swelling in his head is the worst problem, and it might cause some memory issues. Any questions?” he asked.

  Zane shook his head silently. “I’ll have an orderly in to help him out, then,”

  the doctor said.

  Zane stood, shaking his head. “No, just clear the hall, and I’ll get us out of here,” Zane said.

  The doctor scowled and inc
lined his head stubbornly. “Either he leaves here in a wheelchair attended by an orderly,” he said calmly, “or he doesn’t leave at all. ”

  Zane’s nostrils flared angrily. “I’ll make you a deal,” he grated. “I’ll push him, and your orderly can follow along behind. ”

  The doctor narrowed his eyes and nodded, removed Ty’s IV, and skirted around the curtain to start the paperwork.

  Figuring he’d try to make a quick escape, Zane shook Ty’s shoulder lightly, bending over close to the other man’s ear. “Ty? You want to wake up so we can get out of here?”

  Ty turned his head slightly, his temple nudging Zane’s chin as he groaned in answer. “Just leave me here with the drugs. ”

  Zane chuckled. He knew they hadn’t given Ty anything for the pain because of the concussion, but Ty wouldn’t know any different as out of it as he was. “I’ve got a couple pocketfuls of drugs to keep you happy,” Zane crooned to him. “Let’s get you up, big boy. ” He slid his arm under Ty’s shoulders and started to slowly lift him to a sitting position.

  Ty swatted at him, shivering as his head throbbed. “You sure it’s good to move me?” he asked dubiously as he swung his legs off the bed. He wasn’t typically too bothered with injuries, but getting conked on the head and losing time bothered him. He couldn’t remember a thing from the time he’d walked out of the doors of the Federal building until he woke in the hospital. “Quit touching me,” he muttered with a weak swat at Zane’s hands.

  “Isn’t there supposed to be a pretty little nurse getting me out of bed? I think you scared the doctors into releasing me,” he accused as an orderly wheeled in a wheelchair.

  “Sure I did. ‘‘Because I’m a big, scary guy,” Zane said with a note of pride.

  “That’s not entirely a good thing,” Ty grumbled as he stood carefully and shuffled over to the wheelchair. He had seen men try to refuse the wheelchair ride out of the hospital before. Most were macho idiots, and many of them wound up doing a face plant into the floor for their troubles. Ty had never seen the point. Even if he had been the type, though, he knew he couldn’t walk a straight line right now anyway.

  Zane chuckled as he walked out alongside the chair, his insistence on doing the pushing having dissolved as soon as Ty spoke again, though he kept a sharp eye on their surroundings, just in case. They walked out the entrance where he’d had the hospital valet pull up the SUV in anticipation of loading Ty into it. “It’s bed rest and an ice pack for you tonight,” he said as the orderly helped Ty into his seat.

  “Ice pack,” Ty sneered. “A fucking ice pack, that’s all I get?” he asked incredulously. “This is a serious head wound,” he insisted with a gesture to the back of his head and an insulted look. “It needs at least a sponge bath. ”

  “You barely even got stitches, you big baby,” Zane said as he reached over to help with the seat belt once the orderly shut the door.

  “Feels like my brains are leaking out my ears,” Ty grumbled as he watched Zane’s hands. “Do I really have to be buckled in?” he asked with some amusement.

  “Yes, you do,” Zane said doggedly. He buckled his own belt and drove away from the hospital, eventually bypassing their own hotel and moving into a slightly ritzier block.

  “New digs?” Ty asked distantly as he watched the scenery pass by.

  He winced and turned his head away from the window.

  “Sort of. I figure there’s a couple real nice, upscale rooms already waiting with our names on them that no one would think to look in,” Zane said.

  Ty nodded absently. “Good thinking,” he mumbled. “No new rooms with our names to give anyone a lead. ”

  Zane nodded, almost disappointed that his forethought hadn’t warranted more of a reaction from Ty. “I’ll go get our stuff after dark while you rest,” he said as he pulled into a parking spot in the hotel’s parking garage.

  “Shouldn’t go alone,” Ty reminded, though his voice still had the slightly detached tone to it.

  “I’ll be careful. Let’s go,” Zane said after he parked and shut off the 190

  engine. “You need to get horizontal. ”

  “Not the best pickup line I’ve ever heard, but it’ll do for now,” Ty responded, his voice lighter again, if not still slightly groggy.

  Zane made sure he followed along as he went to the front desk at the Tribeca Grand and checked in. The slow, distracted way Ty was moving and looking around at his surroundings as he trailed along behind made him look slightly like Rainman, and Zane had to fight hard not to laugh at the image.

  Soon he was leading Ty to the elevator. They zipped up several floors and moved down a richly appointed hallway, where Zane opened the door to an executive suite.

  “Nice digs,” Ty muttered as he stopped in the entryway of the minimalist guest room and narrowed his eyes. “Bureau went all out on us, huh?” he asked as he looked at the bedroom longingly.

  Zane dropped the key cards on the low wooden table in front of a swank white padded couch. “Why don’t you go lay down, and I’ll get you some ice for that bump. And some codeine, if you want. Doc said you were okay to take painkillers after a few hours. ”

  Ty swallowed as he looked around before finally meeting Zane’s eyes. “I’d rather be aware when we go back to get our things. ”

  Zane held his gaze for a long moment, and then nodded slowly. “All right. Go on,” he nodded toward the bedroom and grabbed the ice bucket, heading out the door with key card in hand. He made sure the door shut behind him.
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