Cut & Run, page 58part #1 of Cut & Run Series
His head shot up at the sound of a voice echoing faintly on the other side of the wall. Was he hallucinating? He could have sworn that he’d heard a shout somewhere in the distance. He stared at the brick wall in front of him, shaking convulsively with cold and encroaching shock. At his feet, the tiny flame spit and flared violently, then sputtered one last time and died.
He tried to call out for help, but his voice was gone.
The desire to simply close his eyes and let sleep take him over was almost overwhelming. Ty cocked his head as he heard the sound again.
“Zane,” he whispered to the hallucination, the sound barely a word as his head spun and he gasped for the nearly nonexistent air.
ZANE emerged into the darkened basement, lit only by a couple of bare, hanging light bulbs. He was shaking again, this time with manic energy instead of pain and exhaustion. The drugs had taken hold quickly and adrenaline and chemicals shot through his body at warp speed. He walked past the large furnace, looking around quickly, gun in his hand. He had no idea if Henninger had an accomplice or not. He came upon a long, ill-lit hallway that had doorways covered by chain-link fence on each side. Storage units.
“Ty!” Zane yelled, his voice echoing through the large space as he moved down the hallway. The echo was the only thing that answered his calls.
Finally, he spotted a darker hole in the wall at the end of the hallway, one that wasn’t lit at all. Tunnels, Henninger had said.
Zane couldn’t see into the rough-hewn passageway, and he quickly started patting his jacket pockets and found his lighter. Thank God he’d talked Ty out of making him stop smoking. Annoyed with the restraining sling, he pulled his arm out of it and dropped it, then held up the flaming lighter and looked down at the dirt. It was gray, just like Henninger’s shoes.
“Ty!” he yelled again, heading into the catacombs, bypassing the insets filled merely with old crates and construction debris.
Walking in long strides, hurt arm raised to shelter the flame, Zane almost kept going before he noticed that he had passed a space of wall where an inset should have been. Backtracking, his heart plummeted as he saw a square of clearly new brick in the wall.
“Ty…. Ty!” he yelled, running to the inset and touching the wall. The mortar was wet. He pulled out his knife and started prying at a brick with one hand and pushed it in. He heard it thump to the ground inside the little alcove, accompanied by the rattle of plastic. Then he dislodged another, and another.
From inside there was a clank of chains and a soft groan.
Zane frantically started pulling at the bricks, easily ignoring how they scraped and cut into his hands. The bricks reluctantly pulled loose; the mortar was closer to setting than not. When he had a rough opening, Zane leaned over with the lighter.
“Ty?” he rasped, pulse pounding with adrenaline.
Ty was strapped to the wall of the tiny alcove, his hands stretched out to the sides and above his head, blood running down them and clotting at his wrists. His feet were spread shoulder-width apart, shackled to the wall so that he couldn’t even kick out, and a rope around his chest kept him from sagging forward. Everywhere the restraints touched him, there was blood. His head was bowed, his chin resting on his chest, and his fingers hung limply from his shackled hands. He didn’t move, but a small groan told Zane that he was still alive. Barely.
Glancing around inside the alcove, Zane saw the plastic and the bucket of mortar. He cursed under his breath before seeing the candle and a rusted set of iron keys. “That son of a bitch,” he breathed. Leaning over the bricks, he reached to light the candle so he could pocket the lighter and start digging at the bricks again. The drugs filtering through his system built up his manic concern, and he worked feverishly, heedless of the pain or his ever-increasing heart rate and lightheadedness. Once the hole was big enough that he could get a leg in and duck under, he did so, which put him right up against his partner. There wasn’t much room. There wouldn’t have been much air, either, and just standing there made him claustrophobic.
“Ty?” he whispered, gently cupping his chin and raising it, praying he wasn’t too far gone. Ty’s head was heavy in his hand. But another groan came from his cracked, dry lips and he stirred.
Breaths harsh, Zane carefully lowered Ty’s chin before moving to grasp for the keys he had seen lying on the ground. Fussing and cursing the locks, he started with Ty’s feet, then moved to unlock the shackles on one bloody and cut-up wrist.
He’d struggled, Zane noted with a lurch of his stomach. Oh, Lord, he’d struggled. Zane’s heart hurt with the mere idea of how hard Ty must have fought to cut into his wrists and chest like he had. When Ty’s body sagged, Zane draped the free arm over his shoulder and fought to unlock the last shackle. The other man collapsed against him. Trying to pull him free, though, Zane couldn’t get him away from the wall. He fingered the rope, and with a growl pulled out one of his knives and cut through it. Glancing to the uneven hole, he gathered Ty against him and turned them both toward it.
“Zane,” Ty breathed pitifully, the tortured sound barely audible.
The sound of his name almost tore Zane’s heart out. “I’m here, baby.
I’m getting you out of here,” he promised.
Ty seemed to be coming around, gasping at the stale air as if it were the sweetest thing he had ever tasted. “Are you real?” he asked Zane as he tightened his weak grip. His words were hardly recognizable.
Zane’s laugh was tinged with a little desperation. “Yeah. I’m as real as it gets, baby,” he answered, stopping at the bricks. He drew several fast breaths, gritted his teeth, and lifted Ty totally from the ground. He moved very slowly and cautiously to step over the broken wall, setting his feet amongst the tumbled bricks, where he stumbled.
Ty’s feet hit the uneven ground as Zane set him down, and he sank to his hands and knees. “Henninger,” he gasped as his head swam. “It’s Henninger,” he said urgently, his voice still hoarse and abused from the harsh chloroform and the desperate shouting for help.
Collapsing to his knees beside him, both of Zane’s hands hit the ground in an attempt to catch himself. The jarring didn’t hurt, and neither had the lifting. Instead, he felt hot, dizzy, and lightheaded. His pulse raced dangerously, and his gut burned with nausea. He was buzzing all over. He knew what was happening.
“Dead. He’s dead,” Zane bit out viciously as he tried to remember when he’d last eaten anything solid and how many of what kind of pills he’d taken. There had been a whole handful, but his memory seemed bright and fuzzy.
Ty blinked at the man, both of them on their hands and knees and looking as if they’d just lost the fight rather than won it. He swallowed and nodded, unable to think of anything to say as confused relief washed through him.
Zane curled his hand around Ty’s, looking up with glazed eyes. “I’ve got to get you out of here,” he said roughly as another strong swell of adrenaline and haze swamped him. He just barely quelled the impulse to laugh hysterically. “Running out of time. ”
“What’s wrong with you?” Ty asked. His head was clearing and he was beginning to actually function once more. “Did he hurt you?”
Zane managed to shake his head and climb awkwardly to his feet, helping Ty up as well, and they leaned heavily on each other as they started moving toward the dim light. Zane was sweating now, and his arms and hands were clammy and trembling even where he held Ty tightly. “After I took him out, I could hardly move. I took the pills you left me so I could find you. ”
“All of them?” Ty asked in horror.
Zane actually laughed; a high, thin noise totally unlike him.
“You’ve overdosed,” Ty murmured. “Fuck,” he groaned as he tried to gather his strength and take more of Zane’s weight. He stumbled with the attempt.
Managing a weak chuckle, Zane tried to hold on, but his entire body was shaking uncontrollably. “I’ve had
They stayed there wallowing for too many moments before Ty pushed himself up and grabbed Zane’s uninjured arm to pull him to his feet weakly. “Come on,” he murmured. “I thought I’d never see daylight again; I can’t die in here with you now. ”
Zane laughed again. “Daylight. I’ve already got stars in my eyes,” he drew out as he stumbled along beside Ty. He swallowed hard as they emerged into the basement. “Ty…,” he gasped weakly.
“Don’t,” Ty growled almost angrily, his knees weak and his hands numb from being without blood for too long. “Don’t you dare. ”
Jerking away, Zane turned and fell to his knees to retch violently, too far into the drugs to be embarrassed or concerned. All he could do was try to breathe. Behind him, Ty sagged to his knees again, unable to remain standing.
He bowed his head and shivered. After a moment he forced himself up again and pulled Zane to his feet with difficulty.
“I need you, Ty, more than anything,” Zane admitted hoarsely as the elevator came into sight.
Ty closed his eyes, leaning against Zane and rallying with the unexpected words. He took more of the other man’s weight on himself and practically dragged his gasping partner toward the doors of the service elevator. By the time he managed to get them inside and rising toward what he prayed would be help, Zane was no longer breathing.
y walked slowly down the sterile hallway of the hospital, watching his feet carefully so as not to think too hard about why he was here. After T traversing what he knew had to be the longest hallway in history, he found the room and stepped into the doorway, unconsciously biting his lip as he looked at the still figure on the bed.
He swallowed heavily and made his way slowly into the room, stopping at the bedside and looking down. Zane looked awful. His skin—what of it wasn’t mottled with ugly bruises—was an unhealthy gray color under the soft light of the hospital room. Ty fought back the urge to feel sorry for himself as he sat down beside the bed and looked at the myriad of tubes and IVs that attached to Zane’s hands and arms.
Hopped up, Zane hadn’t realized that he’d torn his hands all to hell on the bricks, and the further abuse to his broken arm had meant surgery to fix it.
The bandages around his palms and fingers glared white against his dark tan.
He’d been in the hospital for a week and still looked this bad; like death warmed over. And the cliché fit. The overdose had done a real number on him. By the time the EMTs had gotten to them, Zane had been in full cardiac arrest.
But he was alive, and that was all that Ty cared about. He sat silently, merely watching Zane as he slept. After a while, his vision unfocused and he was simply staring at the hospital blanket that covered Zane’s still body as he sat by his side.
Ty winced at the soft word.
He hadn’t had a chance to see Zane since they had taken him out of that service elevator. During the past week, no one would let him see his partner until he himself was officially discharged, and he had only just been released himself. They had merely told him that Zane was alive, and left it at that. During the time he’d been confined to his hospital bed, Ty’d had a lot of time to think about what he wanted to say to Zane. Ever aware of the prying ears and eyes around them, though, he bit back the more tender words he might have said. They didn’t feel right on his tongue, anyway.
“Hey,” he echoed hollowly.
Zane’s dark eyes were sunken, but they were open, mostly clear and focused. “How’re you?” he whispered.
“Horrible,” Ty managed to answer with a weak smile. “They tell me I’m not allowed to kick your ass yet. ”
One brow slowly edged up in question. “Kiss my ass, did you say?”
Zane’s eyes twinkled and the corners of his mouth turned up slightly.
Ty glanced over his shoulder quickly and then stood to press a kiss to Zane’s lips. “I thought we’d lost you,” he muttered accusingly.
Zane brightened a little after the kiss. “I’m too stubborn to die when I have a reason to live,” he murmured, watching Ty reverently.
“You damn well better be,” Ty murmured as he sat back down, wringing his hands together as if he wanted to do something else with them.
“’Cause I’m gonna beat the living shit out of you later. ”
“Promises, promises,” Zane said quietly. “I owe you a hell of a beating, too. ” He paused for a moment as they just stared at each other.
“Wanna call it even?”
Ty made a show of thinking over the offer and then smiled slightly.
The smile fell slowly, and he looked over Zane seriously. “You are getting out of here, right?” he asked softly.
“Yeah. You are waiting for me, right?” Zane asked.
Ty’s lips compressed into a thin line and he looked away, flushing guiltily. Zane tilted his head to the side, and his smile turned slightly sad.
After everything they’d been through, even after what he’d just said, it appeared that the military mind-set was far too ingrained for Ty to be comfortable admitting what he felt for his lover now that the dire situation had passed. Zane wondered if he even felt anything at all.
“Either way. ” Zane sighed tiredly, letting his eyes close. “Let me know. ”
“They’re not gonna let me stick around,” Ty said softly as he lowered his head.
Zane stilled for a long moment, then opened his eyes to see Ty at the bedside, head bowed. “ ‘They’ being the Bureau,” he said, not questioning.
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