Cut and run, p.54

Cut & Run, page 54

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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  “How far is it?” Ty inquired as he took stock of his own injuries. He had failed to mention the possible cracked rib or sprained wrist to the EMT, and his chest was killing him where the seat belt had cut into him. But he could carry Zane if he had to.

  “About forty feet to the elevator, then another fifty to the apartment,”

  Henninger said, looking unsure. “Could be more. ”

  Ty groaned and shook his head. He wouldn’t make it that far, and there was no way he’d risk dropping Zane and causing further injury.

  “Garrett,” he murmured in Zane’s ear. “Wake up, man. We need you to walk. ”

  Zane stirred. “I’m awake,” he mumbled. “We there?”

  “Yes,” Ty answered with a flood of relief. He hadn’t relished the idea of dragging Zane’s heavy frame through the building. “Come on,” he murmured with a pat to Zane’s head, fighting back the urge to make a gesture more intimate in front of Henninger.

  The bigger man groaned and sat up. “I feel like I got hit by a truck, and it’s all your fault,” he accused weakly.

  “I know, it’s all my fault,” Ty murmured agreeably as he slid out the back of the car and pulled Zane carefully with him. “Technically, you should be feeling really good,” he corrected.

  “Too much pain negates the effects of happy juice,” Zane croaked as Ty got him out of the car. “Too much abuse negates the body’s reaction,” he added, all too familiar with the medical reasoning. He leaned on the door.

  “Where to?” he asked tiredly. His face was gray, and his shoulders hunched as he cradled his arm and babied his ribs.

  “Elevator,” Henninger said. “Come on. When we get upstairs, I’ll call Ross and Sears, fill them in. ”

  “What for?” Zane asked, voice sharpening in surprise.

  “Backup,” Ty answered in almost a whisper as he slid under Zane’s good arm and urged him to walk before he fell over.

  “What for?” Zane repeated as they made their way to the elevator. He wasn’t leaning on Ty as much, but he was still dizzy and wobbly.

  “They’re going to babysit you,” Henninger offered.

  Zane stopped dead in his tracks. “What!?” he barked.

  Ty winced and tightened his hold. “Thank you, Henninger,” he snapped in annoyance. “Garrett, come on before you fall over. ”

  “This conversation is not over,” Zane growled as he got to walking again.

  Henninger got to the elevator first and hit the up button. “Come on, Garrett, be realistic. You can’t go out in the field in this condition. You’re dead weight now,” he observed clinically.

  Ty winced again at the delivery of the logic, but he knew it was true.

  “I’m sorry,” he whispered to Zane. “It’s this or the hospital, either way with a guard detail. You ain’t going back in the field,” he declared with finality.

  Zane didn’t answer as they got into the elevator, and he didn’t say anything the rest of the way to the apartment. His face was strained and white as they went inside.

  Henninger pointed them toward the bedroom. “This is a restored building from the turn of the century, so the doorways are wide; that ought to help,” he said. “I love the architecture. ”

  Ty nodded disinterestedly.

  “The parking garage was the best perk,” Henninger rambled on. “Not many buildings like this have them. And they even kept the original tunnels below the building intact for storage units. Nobody uses them, though. They used to be—”

  “Fascinating,” Ty grunted as he guided Zane toward the bedroom.

  The bed was made neatly, with an almost military precision that even a Marine could appreciate. The room, like the rest of the apartment, was uncluttered, almost Spartan in its simplicity. Somehow, it didn’t fit the image he had of Henninger. “Garrett?” he breathed as he helped him to the bed.

  Lowering himself to the edge of the bed, Zane looked up slowly, not at Ty, but at the other agent. Henninger took a step back. “Uh. I’ll go call the others and get them over here,” he said before disappearing.

  Left alone with Zane, Ty was silent, waiting for either the blowup or—what he feared worse—complete silence. And that was what he got as Zane dropped his chin and stared at the floor. He raised his hand to rub his eyes. He looked like he was ready to fall over. Ty swallowed heavily and put a hand to Zane’s forehead. “Why don’t you lay back?” he said softly, his tone resigned.

  Zane reached up to take Ty’s wrist in a firm grip and pull his hand away, but he didn’t let go. Ty was still, holding his breath as he waited.

  Slowly, Zane looked up at him. His dark eyes watered with pain and emotion.

  “We can still cut and run,” he whispered.

  Ty’s chest tightened, and his insides seemed to lurch with the words.

  He nodded as he let his fingers curl over, trying to touch the hand that still gripped his wrist. “We will. But I need revenge first,” he said softly.

  Zane’s brow furrowed as he loosened his fingers. “What for?” he asked quietly.

  “You,” Ty answered simply.

  Zane exhaled painfully, and he tugged gently at Ty’s hand, trying to get him to lean over. Ty moved with the tug and licked his lips nervously.

  Zane merely looked him in the eye as he got closer. “You come back, you understand?” he rasped intently. “If I have to come after you there will be absolute hell to pay. ”

  Ty closed his eyes and butted his head against Zane’s forehead.

  “What could go wrong, hmm?” he asked softly, a small smile playing at his lips. “I’ve got the kid with me, we don’t know where we’re going, who we’re after, or what we’ll do when we find him. … It’s foolproof. ”

  Zane’s fingers gripped Ty’s chin, and he moved to kiss Ty desperately, palm sliding down to cup the nape of Ty’s neck as their lips moved against one another. Ty breathed out heavily into the kiss, almost losing his resolve not to do exactly what Zane had suggested: cut and run.

  Leave this all behind and just get the two of them to safety. He slid his hand across Zane’s cheek and kissed him as if it were the last time.

  All the pain and fear and upset and desire balled up in Zane’s gut, and his breath stopped as he gripped his lover’s shoulder. “Come back to me. ”

  “I will,” Ty assured him softly. From the outer room they heard the obvious crackle of a radio and Henninger’s muffled response. Ty pulled away and looked down into Zane’s eyes. He slipped him his backup sidearm.

  “Anyone comes too close, you blast ’em,” he murmured. “Badge or not,” he added pointedly, his voice so low it was a whisper.

  Letting out a shaky breath, Zane took the gun in his left hand, then slid it with a wince into his sling. “Yeah,” he agreed, eyes trained on Ty.

  Ty stood up and slid a plastic prescription bottle out of his back pocket, setting it by Zane’s side. The other agent blinked at it. “What’s this?”

  he asked suspiciously.

  “Pills I took from the EMT,” Ty murmured. “Should get you through. ” Zane looked at the bottle and then at Ty. He nodded slowly. Ty began backing away from the bed slowly. “See you soon,” he whispered before turning and exiting the room quickly.

  Zane drew a breath to speak, but Ty was gone, and Zane didn’t have the strength or ability to chase after him. He slowly lay down on his good side, head resting on a thin pillow. The words he’d wanted to say were stuck in his throat, and he squeezed his eyes shut tight, tiny drops sparkling in his eyelashes.

  IN the front room, Henninger turned as Ty reentered. “Got him settled?”

  “Settled as he’s gonna be, anyway,” Ty mumbled as he rubbed a spot of tension at the back of his neck.

  “I just got a call from a friend in the NYPD,” Henninger told him excitedly. “They located the cab that was used. ”

  Ty perked up and stared
at him expectantly. The buzzer beside the door rang, and Henninger started toward the intercom to answer it. “Well?”

  Ty demanded impatiently. “Where’d they find it?”

  “Not two blocks from here,” Henninger answered with a grin as he pushed the button that would let Sears and Ross in.

  Adrenaline began to pump through Ty’s body as the prospect of catching the man became more plausible. If they had the cab, then they could follow the trail. And Ty could track anything and anyone, whether it was in backwoods, desert, or the streets of New York City, he was confident of that fact. They had him.

  It was only a minute or so before Sears and Ross stepped through the door, but waiting for them to arrive was torturous. As they waited, Ty and Henninger stood at the large windows that lined the far side of the apartment, and Henninger explained to him what was around the neighborhood as they formed a plan of action.

  “Grady, I can’t say it’s good to see you again,” Special Agent Sears greeted, brushing her blonde hair over her shoulder. “How is he?” she asked with real concern.

  “He’s hurt bad,” Ty answered grimly.

  Ross stood at her side, looking annoyed. “We tried calling you,” he said to Henninger.

  “This building’s got shitty reception,” Henninger muttered uncomfortably as he looked at his phone that had never rung.

  Ty nodded at them both, suddenly very aware of the splatters of blood from the crash that spotted his rumpled clothing and the fact that he looked like he’d been tumbled on high spin for an hour. It seemed to him that it spoke of his failures so far, that he hadn’t even been able to protect his partner, much less catch the killer he’d been set on.

  “Thank you for coming,” he said to them both quietly, not a trace of apology or embarrassment in his tone. There was impatience, however, and he was practically vibrating in his shoes.

  Sears looked over him, but didn’t comment. “We can stay a couple hours before they start asking us where the hell we’ve disappeared to,” she said apologetically. “So you better get going unless we make this official. ”

  “I left our notes on the case in there with Garrett,” Ty told her gruffly.

  The unspoken reason—in case neither of them lived long enough to share what they’d found—wasn’t lost on anyone. “And there’s a stack of personnel files here that has the name of our killer in it somewhere,” he added as he pointed to the files Henninger had put on the coffee table.

  Henninger nodded and glanced between them uncomfortably. “You want to change your shirt, Grady?” he asked finally, eyes drifting over the small amount of blood.

  Ty glanced at him and then quietly shook his head. “There’ll be more on it when we’re done,” he said in a low, soft voice.

  Ross and Sears glanced at each other. “Don’t hesitate to call in backup,” Sears reminded disapprovingly.

  Henninger nodded, turned to grab a small bag, and led the way out the door and to the elevator.

  Neither man spoke as they headed out of the apartment. They rode down in the elevator in silence, Henninger glancing at Ty every few seconds as if wishing to say something. Finally, as the elevator came to a jolting stop at the parking deck floor, he cleared his throat and said, “Before we start this, I just want you to know, Special Agent Grady, it’s been a real pleasure working with you. Both of you. ”

  Ty glanced at him as the doors whooshed quietly open. “Likewise,”

  he said softly to the kid.

  He stepped out of the elevator as Henninger gave him an almost shy smile. He looked out into the dark parking deck and stepped forward, but his progress was halted as a hand suddenly covered the lower part of his face. He struggled as he breathed in the sickly sweet scent that covered the handkerchief, but he had already inhaled too much of the chloroform, and he sank helplessly to his knees, not able to reach his gun or even strike out at his attacker.

  The last sound he heard was a shout and struggle that seemed to be miles away and a distant thunk as his limp body hit the concrete floor.

  Zane laid on Henninger’s bed for a while, dozing, until he started hurting too much to rest. Dragging his eyes open, he spent a long Z minute looking at the bottle of pills Ty had left him. There was nothing more tempting than a bottle of painkillers when you had a legitimate reason to take them, but he didn’t pick them up. Instead, he lurched out of the bed and walked out to the main room to find Ross pacing and Sears sitting and watching her partner calmly.

  “Hey,” he rasped.

  They both looked at him as if they hadn’t expected to see him at all.

  “You shouldn’t be up,” Sears admonished as she stood and made her way over to him. “What do you need?”

  “A stiff drink,” Zane muttered, moving to sit in an armchair.

  “I would be more comfortable if you returned to the bed,” Sears said to him soothingly, looking over at her partner pointedly.

  “Let him sit there if he wants,” Ross replied with a wave of his hand.

  “Can I have a drink? Please?” Zane asked pitifully. “I don’t care what. Tap water, anything. ”

  Sears sighed, accepting the fact that Zane wasn’t planning on listening, and she headed to Henninger’s kitchen as her heels rapped on the wooden floors and echoed to the open ceilings. She began rummaging in the refrigerator as Ross came closer to Zane.

  “So, the Bureau sent you in under the radar,” he said to Zane with obvious disdain. “Because they thought we couldn’t handle it on our own?”
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