It was a good few minutes before Deakins found he was finally able to tear his gaze away from his two detectives as the on-board medics treated their wounds as best as they could. Bishop sat next to him, also watching the proceedings in concern. Just along from them, though, sitting with his head back and his eyes shut, was Logan.
“How’s the arm?” Deakins asked. Logan looked across at Deakins, then down at his wounded arm. The arrow had been removed and the wound treated with antiseptic and firmly covered. It would be treated properly on arrival at the hospital back in New York.
“It’s okay,” Logan said dismissively. “Just a scratch.”
“Bullshit,” Bishop retorted. “You’re full of it, Mike. You could have bled out from that wound.”
Logan looked pointedly at Bobby and Alex, both of whom clearly still had a real fight ahead of them.
“Compared to what they’ve been through, this is just a scratch. But it is kind of nice to hear you call me Mike for once.”
She tried to scowl at him, but try as she might she couldn’t hide the smile that turned up the corners of her mouth. Logan grinned and settled back once more in his seat. Bishop shook her head, and then looked back at Deakins. He was watching his two rescued detectives once more but, most particularly, Bishop noticed his gaze was on Alex. She remembered Calleigh’s words when she and Mack got there. Deakins had gone off in search of Bobby, thinking that Alex was already dead when, in fact, she had still been hanging in there.
“You thought she was dead, didn’t you?” she asked in as soft a voice as she could manage and still be heard by him. Deakins glanced at her, then looked across at Bobby.
“So did he. We nearly lost him because of it.”
“What happened?” Bishop asked, wondering if he would even talk about it.
He was silent for nearly a minute before speaking.
“I got there first. Horatio and Calleigh were close behind me, but I got there first. She was just sitting there against the tree, slumped over… I didn’t see the arrow at first, not until I got closer. She… she was impaled on it. It was holding her up against the tree. There was blood everywhere, and she was so cold. I was certain she was dead. Bobby was nowhere to be seen. Then I saw blood on the ground. It led away to the trees on the other side of the clearing. I figured Bobby must have gone that way, and Mathers had probably gone after him. I didn’t think there was anything we could do for Alex, but Bobby might still be alive, so I went after them. I came over the hill to find Mathers standing over him. He was going to shoot him with another of those damned arrows. He had it aimed at Bobby’s head. I took my gun and I shot him. There was no other way. Mathers fell forward, over the cliff. As he went, his feet caught on Bobby, and they both went over. When I got there, Bobby was hanging on by just one hand. I managed to grab his wrist just as he lost his grip.” Deakins shook his head, distressed. “I kept telling him to reach up so I could take his other hand. I didn’t know then that his left arm was broken. Horatio got there, then, and I told him to reach up, and let Horatio take his hand, but he wouldn’t even look at us then. I knew that look on his face. He just wanted to quit by then. He thought Alex was dead, and he wanted to join her. Then Horatio told me Alex wasn’t dead… I don’t know how I managed to make Bobby understand that, but I did. Then he finally made the effort to get his hand up to Horatio, and we were able to pull him back up. Another few seconds, and I wouldn’t have been able to hang on any longer. If I’d dropped him…”
“You didn’t,” Bishop told him firmly. “You didn’t let go. You saved his life, Captain.”
Deakins stared at Bobby’s ashen face.
“Maybe. That remains to be seen, doesn’t it?”
Bishop sat back, feeling sick to her stomach as Deakins’ words thrust home the reality that neither Bobby nor Alex were guaranteed to survive. As Deakins had suggested, all they could do was wait and see.
Detective Aaron Jeffers hung up his phone and sat back in his chair with a thud. The news he’d just had was good, but after the events and trauma of the last four days, it was taking a moment to sink in.
“Jeffers? You okay, buddy?”
He looked up to find his partner, Zach Brolin, watching him in concern. Jeffers abruptly stood up, initially ignoring Brolin.
“Hey, everyone, listen up!”
Silence descended in the office at Jeffers’ hollered command, and everyone who had heard, detectives and staff members alike, all turned to listen. Jeffers waited until he was sure he had everyone’s attention, and then spoke loudly and clearly so everyone could hear.
“I just talked to David Ash. Goren and Eames are alive! They found them about half an hour ago.”
A near-deafening cheer went up, and Jeffers had to wait for it to die down before he could go on.
“They were airlifted off Gore Mountain about twenty minutes ago, and they’re being brought straight back home to New York.”
“What about the bastard that took them?” someone asked. “Did they get him, too?”
“Erik Mathers is dead,” Jeffers answered bluntly. “Deakins shot the son of a bitch himself. From what Ash told me, he saved Goren’s life. He stopped Mathers from killing Goren. I don’t know anything more than that. We’ll have to wait for them to get back from the Adirondacks.”
A murmur went through the gathered group and then, slowly, they began to disperse until only Jeffers’ partner remained.
“Is that really all?” Brolin asked softly. Jeffers looked grim as he dropped back into his chair.
“Ash wasn’t saying over the phone, but I got the feeling that it isn’t good. All he’d say was that they’re alive. He wouldn’t say that they’re okay.”
“Shit,” Brolin muttered. “Did he say when they’ll be arriving back in New York?”
“The air ambulance should be landing on St Clare’s helipad in half an hour or so. After that… We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Ron Carver strode down the corridor and into a private waiting room, pausing just long enough to knock quickly. Deakins and Bishop sat in there, both looking thoroughly exhausted.
“Ron,” Deakins greeted him tiredly.
“I was in court,” Carver said. “I got the news as soon as I got back to my office. How are they?”
“They’re alive,” Deakins answered. “Right at the moment, that’s all I can say.”
Carver sat down slowly in a chair opposite them.
“Is it that bad?”
“I can’t even start to describe the injuries they both have, Ron. Goren’s legs were both broken… so was his left arm. Eames’ left was arm broken as well. They’d both been shot with arrows, among other things… They’re both suffering from hypothermia. They’re probably severely dehydrated, and all that is just for starters. They’re in a very bad way.”
“And Erik Mathers… What about him?”
Deakins looked straight at Ron, his expression remorseless.
“I shot him to stop him from putting an arrow through Goren’s skull. They’ll recover the body eventually, from the bottom of the cliff where it fell.”
Carver nodded. “I can’t say I’m surprised. Please, Jim, don’t take this the wrong way… but did anyone else witness this?”
“Technically? Goren did, but I doubt he’ll remember it. Other than that, no. No one did. IA will just have to accept my account. I did what I did to save the life of one of my officers. I’m not apologising for it.”
“I wasn’t asking you to.” Carver looked across at Bishop. “Where is Detective Logan?”
“In Emergency,” Bishop answered wearily. “Mathers tried to stall us to keep us from getting to Goren and Eames in time. He shot Mike with an arrow, through his right forearm.”
“He’s okay,” Bishop murmured. “They’ll probably keep him here for a day or two to monitor possible infection, and because he lost a fair bit of blood, but he’ll be fine.”
Carver looked at both of them critically.
“Perhaps now you’ll all get some rest. Especially you, Jim.”
Deakins shook his head.
“Not until I know whether they’re going to pull through.”
“I take it they’re still in surgery?” Carver wondered.
“Yeah,” Bishop mumbled, her eyes closing and her head lolling back against the soft cushions of the sofa even as she spoke. Carver watched as she slipped into a light sleep, then looked at Deakins.
“You really should get some sleep too, Jim, even if it’s just an hour or so. There isn’t anything more you can do. Goren and Eames are getting the best care this city can afford now. They’ll be okay.”
“You didn’t see them, Ron. If you’d seen them, you wouldn’t say that.”
A slight chill went down Carver’s spine.
“It really is bad… isn’t it?”
“When we found Eames… I thought she was already dead. She wasn’t, but I thought she was. I can’t begin to explain how I felt when I saw her. And whatever I felt was probably only a fraction of how Goren must have felt. He was ready to let himself die, because he thought she was dead. I’m going to have nightmares tonight when I go to bed, Ron. We nearly lost them both.”
Carver let his breath out slowly. Before he had the opportunity to speak, though, the door opened and a doctor stepped in.
“Excuse me, Captain Deakins?”
Deakins stood up quickly, and Bishop awoke with a start at the new voice.
“Yes. You have news?”
The doctor nodded.
“My name is Ian Blake. Technically I only have Detective Eames in my care, but I can give you the news about Detective Goren as well. They both came through surgery okay, and they’ve just been moved from Recovery into rooms in the ICU. Now, I don’t want to jump the gun here, because the next twenty-four hours are going to be critical for both of them… But I think they’re going to be okay.”
Deakins shuddered a little.
“What about their injuries?” Carver asked. Blake indicated for them to sit back down.
“Please, sit. The list is pretty extensive for each of them. In all honesty, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before in my life. How they managed to survive four days suffering that kind of abuse is a miracle in itself. Firstly, Detective Eames has a severely broken left arm. Actually, broken is less the right word than shattered. It will heal, but it’s going to take a long time. It’s a similar situation with her right leg. The wound in her leg… I believe it was made by an arrow? It cracked the bone, and managed to tear the hamstring muscles as it went through. And to top that off, the wound is badly infected. I don’t suppose you know how it came to be cauterised?”
“We suspect that they cauterised each other’s wounds,” Deakins said softly. Blake nodded.
“I don’t doubt they saved each other’s lives in doing that, but the truth is that Detective Eames also nearly lost her leg because of it. There was severe internal bleeding. If she’d been any later getting medical attention, she would have lost it.”
Deakins drew in a steadying breath.
“Dr Blake, if she’d been any later getting medical attention, she would have been dead.”
“I’m not criticising your detectives’ actions, Captain Deakins,” Blake reassured him. “Far from it. What they did took incredible courage. I’m only trying to say that they were also incredibly lucky. Now, ironically, the least serious wound that Detective Eames suffered was the arrow through her stomach. Somehow, it missed all her organs and arteries. What it did do, though, was tear through her abdominal muscles. It’s going to take her considerable time to recover from that, and from the blood loss she suffered. She won’t be doing anything very quickly for several weeks.
“She was fortunate, though. Those were the most serious of her injuries. The only other thing we’ll need to continue monitoring is the head wound she suffered. Someone hit her very hard on the head. Detective Goren suffered a similar injury, as a matter of fact. Both of them are suffering fairly serious head trauma.
“Now, we seem to have the hypothermia under control for both of them, but we’ll also be monitoring that very carefully regardless. It could still develop into pneumonia, or other related illnesses. The last thing either of them needs right now is a dose of pneumonia, or influenza.
“The bottom line is that Detective Eames has a rather prolonged hospital stay to look forward to while she recovers. So does Detective Goren.”
“And what about Detective Goren’s injuries?” Carver asked.
“I’m afraid his situation is slightly more tenuous than that of Detective Eames,” Blake said quietly.
“How do you mean?” Deakins asked, feeling his heart rate start to pick up. “You said they would both be okay.”
“I know,” Blake conceded, “but I also said the next twenty-four hours will be critical. Detective Goren’s injuries... are grievous, to say the least.”
“Perhaps you should start at the top, Doctor Blake,” Carver suggested. Blake nodded.
“All right, I will, literally. I said they had similar head wounds. That wasn’t an entirely accurate assessment. Detective Goren suffered a blow to the head so severe that it fractured his skull. Now, it isn’t as bad as it could have been, but we will be keeping a close watch for any sign of excessive trauma, or pressure building within his skull.
“X-rays revealed two metal spikes embedded in his right shoulder blade, which had to be removed surgically. Both spikes were apparently leaking some sort of toxin into his body that we haven’t yet been able to identify. It’s obvious that whatever the poison is, it wasn’t meant to be fatal, and he might have been able to recover from its effects well enough, but with the added effects of the hypothermia, his immune system has taken a severe battering. We will eventually be able to flush out his system, but it’s going to take time. What hasn’t helped was the arrow wound to that same shoulder. I’m afraid the nerves were damaged, and it’s too early to know whether the repair job done during surgery was successful. Right at the moment, we have to consider the possibility that he could lose the use of his right arm.
“His left arm was broken, as you know, but that is one of his lesser injuries. It will heal properly. It’s nothing to worry about.
“Now, Detective Goren was wounded by another arrow. There were twin puncture wounds in his back and stomach, which had been cauterised the same as Detective Eames’ leg wound. Unlike Detective Eames, though, Detective Goren had no internal bleeding as a result of that wound. It appears to have been a clean through and through, fortunately affecting none of his vital organs. The wounds themselves have become infected, though, so again we’ll have to keep a close watch on that.
“Four of his ribs on the left side were quite badly broken, but fortunately there was no damage done as a result of that. He’s going to be very, very sore in that area for a few weeks, but that’s one of our least concerns.
“Detective Goren’s legs are one of our greatest concerns at the moment. The left leg is broken in two places below the knee, and there is a stress fracture in his left foot, but they are only minor fractures. The real problem is his right leg. All up… and keep in mind that this doesn’t include the greenstick fracture in his foot… Detective Goren’s right leg is broken in seven places.”
“Seven?” Bishop burst out, horrified. Blake nodded.
“I know, and I’m afraid it really is as bad as it sounds. There are three distinct breaks in the femur, two simple fractures and one greenstick. The tibia has a greenstick fracture and a simple fracture, and there are two simple fractures in the fibula. All I can say is thank God there were no compound fractures. Now, I got the impression from the descriptions his doctor gave me that Detective Goren must have walked a considerable distance after suffering those injuries to his legs.”
“We think so.”
Blake sighed a little. “Your detectives deserve medals for courage, Captain Deakins. The pain Detective Goren suffered had to have been horrendous.”
“Is that everything, Doctor?” Deakins asked, looking slightly green.
“As a matter of fact,” Blake answered grimly, “no. But that’s all you need to hear about for now.”
“Can we see them?” Bishop asked.
“I’m afraid not,” Blake answered apologetically. “For the time being, it’s strictly family only.”
“Eames’ father is with her, then?” Deakins wondered. Blake nodded.
“Yes. But perhaps you could tell me who from Detective Goren’s family we can expect?”
“No one,” Deakins answered grimly, drawing surprised looks from Bishop and Carver as well as Blake.
“Excuse me?” Blake asked, startled.
“Dr Blake,” Deakins said tiredly, “Detective Goren’s mother is a permanent resident at Carmel Ridge. She suffers from severe schizophrenia. Even if we were able to make her understand what’s happened to her son, she is hardly in the position to come and be with him. His father died approximately eight years ago, and he has no uncles or aunts. His only other living relation that we are aware of is an older brother. My detectives contacted him when we first became aware of what had happened to Goren and Eames, and he gave every indication that he didn’t care. So, no. No one from Detective Goren’s family will be coming.”
Blake sighed again, and stood up.
“All right. Come with me, and I’ll take you to him.”
“It isn’t a fact that he widely publicises,” Deakins answered. “I would appreciate it if both of you would refrain from mentioning it to anyone else. That includes Detective Goren himself.”
“And his brother really doesn’t care?” Carver asked incredulously. “That I do find difficult to believe.”
“David Ash contacted Goren’s brother as soon as we knew for certain that Goren and Eames had been abducted by Mathers. Ash said the brother’s words were, quote, ‘I haven’t seen my brother in nine years, what makes you think I give a damn now’. Unquote.”
“Son of a bitch,” Bishop growled.
“This way,” Blake said, ushering them through the door into ICU. He led them down a short hallway, and into a room with a single bed that was surrounded by machines.
“God Almighty,” Carver murmured. Blake watched them sympathetically.
“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t see the point in trying to forewarn you. Nothing I could have said would have prepared you for the sight of him.”
Deakins walked around slowly to the far side of the bed. Words could ill-describe the sight of Bobby, confined to a hospital bed for who knew how long, and hooked up to several different pieces of equipment.
“Is the ventilator really necessary?” Carver asked.
“It’s not vital,” Blake replied. “What we want right now, though, is to make things as easy on him as possible. His broken ribs will make even the normally simple task of breathing a fairly painful one. The ventilator will merely assist him by getting oxygen into his body with the least possible effort on his part.”
“Look at his legs,” Bishops whispered in dismay. Deakins and Carver both looked in silence, each man understanding the distress in Bishop’s voice. Both of Bobby’s legs were suspended a little off the bed. The left was encased in plaster from just below the knee and all the way down to cover most of his foot. The right leg, though, had metal pins inserted into the flesh, five all together running up the length of his leg.
“When the bones start to mend properly, we’ll remove the pins and replace them with a special cast,” Blake explained. “That won’t be for at least two or three weeks, though.”
“How long before he’ll be able to start rehab?” Deakins asked.
“You mean before the casts come off his legs? Absolute minimum of ten weeks. It will probably be longer, though.”
“He’ll go stir crazy,” Bishop said ruefully. “Stuck in his apartment on his own, with nowhere to go…”
“That’s another issue that we’re going to have deal with,” Blake said tentatively. Deakins looked up at him slowly.
“What are you talking about, Doctor?”
“Well, it’s going to be five or six weeks before either Detective Goren or Detective Eames will be ready to leave hospital, but if Detective Goren has no family to help look after him…”
“Yes?” Deakins growled. Blake sighed.
“Unless he’s willing to employ a carer to stay with him on a full time basis until he’s completed rehab, he isn’t going to be able to go home. When the time comes, he’ll be moved the rehabilitation wing of the hospital, and he’ll have to stay there until his rehab is complete.”
Deakins shut his eyes for a moment, drawing in a long, calming breath.
“Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it, all right?” He paused, looking around the room, then pulled a large armchair over to the bedside and sat down.
“Jim…” Carver started to say, only to be silenced by a threatening look from Deakins.
“I will not leave him alone. Bishop, why don’t you go and see how Logan is, and then go home and get some rest?”
Bishop stared at Deakins for a long moment before wheeling around and walking out of the room in silence.
“I suppose I can’t talk you into doing that yourself?” Carver asked.
“I told you,” Deakins said softly, “I’m not leaving him alone. If he woke up…”
“That is highly unlikely, Captain Deakins,” Blake interrupted gently. “The chances of him waking up within the next twenty-four hours are very slim. You really would be best to go home and get some rest.”
“I can’t do that,” Deakins whispered, his gaze falling on Bobby’s bruised face. “I just can’t.”
Blake nodded in understanding.
“I’ll have a nurse bring you a pillow and blankets. If you need anything else, just say.”
He headed out and, after a long moment, Carver followed him.
“You’re actually going to allow him to stay in there?” Carver asked Blake in a low voice once they were out of the room. Blake looked back at Carver.
“I treat injured cops all the time… Mr Carver, is it?”
“Okay. In every one of those situations, when a cop has come to me with critical injuries, I’ve had to deal with two more or less separate families; the cop’s literal, biological family and the wider family that includes their partner and commanding officer. In just about every instance, the commanding officer has displayed almost identical reactions to the situation as the parents of the injured cop, but they’ve backed off in favour of said parents. This case is no different in some ways, but very different in others. On one hand, we have Detective Eames whose father, brother and sister are with her right now. On the other hand we have Detective Goren who, by Captain Deakins’ own admission, has no family to support him. Now, Mr Carver, you look me in the eye and tell me it’s wrong to allow Captain Deakins to stay in that room with a critically injured officer who otherwise has no one to support him.”
Carver conceded with some reluctance.
“I understand… but do you realise that he has not slept since Detectives Goren and Eames first went missing?”
“I suspected as much. As I said, I’ll have a nurse take in a pillow and blankets for him and, if necessary, a mild dosage of sleeping pills. He’ll get the sleep he needs, I promise you.”
“I appreciate that,” Carver said. “Please understand, I’m just concerned about him.”
Blake smiled a little. “I know, Mr Carver. But you need to understand that he isn’t going to be able to rest easy until he knows that both of his detectives are going to be all right. And when I say all right, that means knowing that they will both fully recover and be able to return to work.”
“Is there any chance of that happening?” Carver asked. Blake hesitated in answering.
“Physically? Perhaps. Only time will tell, but right now our priority is keeping them alive. Once the danger period is past, then we’ll start looking at things from a long term perspective.”
“And what about mentally and emotionally?” Carver asked softly.
Blake looked less than positive, Carver thought grimly.
“Only time will tell, Mr Carver.”
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