“How’s the hand?”
Mike looked up at Bobby questioningly, then gave a lopsided shrug.
“It hurts, but it’s not so bad. I’ve had worse.”
Bobby looked doubtful.
“Can you move your fingers?”
Mike’s eyebrows went up at the question.
“Does it matter?”
“Just answer me, Logan.”
Mike squared his jaw and flexed his fingers. Or rather, tried to. After a moment’s effort, he looked up at Bobby with fresh fear in his eyes.
“I… I can’t move them, Bobby.”
“Okay, don’t panic on me,” Bobby warned him. “Now tell me, can you still feel them?”
Mike frowned a little, and then pinched lightly at the uncooperative digits with his uninjured hand. The pained wince on his face told Bobby that yes, he could still feel them at least.
“Yeah, I can feel them,” he confirmed. “But why the fuck can’t I move them?”
“Nerve damage,” Bobby answered. “You cut it deep, Mike.”
Mike let his breath out in a rush.
“Nerve damage. Shit. That could be permanent, couldn’t it?”
“Maybe,” Bobby admitted, “if it goes for too long without treatment. Just make sure you say something if you lose all sensation completely.”
“Yeah, for all the good it’ll do,” Mike muttered. He groaned softly and lay back down with a thud. “My hand… Your leg… Fucking brilliant. What a way to spend the weekend. And none of it’s going to matter if we don’t get out of here before the place gets blown to kingdom come. We don’t even know how far away that is. Bastards even took our watches.”
An amused smile found its way on Bobby’s face.
“You own a watch?”
“Yeah, of course I do. What kind of a dumb ass question is that?”
“Sorry,” Bobby apologised, though by then he couldn’t keep the grin off his face. “I just figured you didn’t, because you never seem to get into the squad room on time in the morning.”
Mike shrugged lopsidedly.
“And you always arrive about an hour and a half before you need to. I just balance the equation.”
Bobby grinned. He was really starting to like Mike’s ‘never say die’ attitude and sense of humour.
“Try convincing Deakins of that,” he shot back. Mike snorted derisively.
“Why should I bother trying? That’s what the squad has got you for. To convince Deakins of the impossible.”
Bobby laughed softly.
“I knew I had to be useful for something.”
“Well, there you go.”
Silence fell for a while before either man spoke again. Bobby shifted a little, trying to work himself into a more comfortable position – preferably one that wouldn’t leave him with an aching back and a numb ass.
He tried to shift around, only to cry out involuntarily as fiery pain flared through his leg. Mike started up, startled and concerned.
“Bobby? What is it?”
Bobby shuddered violently, tears filling his eyes even as he struggled to block the pain from his consciousness. It wasn’t working.
“What is it?” Mike asked again as he got awkwardly to his feet and limped over. “Talk to me, Bobby. Is it your leg?”
“Yes,” Bobby managed to whisper, at the same time choking back a strangled sob. Mike carefully lifted the blanket, and felt his stomach roll at the sight before him. Bobby’s left leg was black and blue around the area of the bullet wound, and down the rest of the length of his leg, the veins stood out painfully in ugly lines against the otherwise pale flesh.
“Fuck,” Mike whispered as he recognised the tell-tale signs of blood poisoning. Bobby’s need for medical attention had just been ramped up several notches and unless they got out of there soon, there was a chance that Bobby could lose his leg.
He grimaced. Assuming they got out of their grim predicament alive at all.
Shaking the bleak thought from his mind, Mike grabbed the nearest bottle of water and held it carefully to Bobby’s lips, encouraging him to sip freely.
“Drink,” Mike ordered him, and Bobby was too dazed to protest. “We’ve gotta get you re-hydrated. Since I don’t have any penicillin on me, we’ve gotta work with what we’ve got.” He paused, looking around grimly at their bleak surroundings. “Which isn’t a hell of a lot.”
Bobby coughed, and pushed the water away after several long sips.
“Enough… Gonna be sick…”
Mike took the bottle away and placed the blanket back over Bobby’s trembling form, for he still shivered violently with a chill. After a moment’s consideration, Mike then grabbed the second blanket and placed it over Bobby as well.
“Mike, don’t…” Bobby mumbled dazedly. Mike shook his head, and had no problems holding down Bobby’s hand when the big detective tried to push off the blankets.
“Leave it, Bobby,” Mike told him sternly. “You need them. We’ve got to keep you warm and hydrated, so don’t argue with me.”
Bobby finally gave up fighting, and let his hands drop back to his sides. Mike nodded in gratification.
“Good. Now, just rest easy, okay? I’ll keep an eye on you, I promise. And I bet Eames and Barek will find us in no time.”
Bobby looked around at Mike with eyes that were slightly glazed, and unfocused.
“You… You believe they’ll find us?”
Mike returned Bobby’s gaze with the surest look he could manage.
“I have to believe it. Otherwise, we might as well just up and die right here and now. I’m not going to give in. I’m not ready to die, and I’m not going to fucking die in this place. Neither are you. Do you hear me?”
Bobby shuddered as he looked away. He had heard, but he had no energy left to answer, and he wasn’t sure he could have answered positively even if he did. A hand closed gently over his own, and he looked back to see Mike watching him with a small, encouraging smile.
“We’ll get through this, Bobby,” Mike insisted. “We’ll live to fight another day.”
“Tacky, Logan,” Bobby mumbled.
The last thing he saw before he slipped into the painless relief of sleep was Mike’s grin as he settled down on the floor beside the cot.
Alex awoke to the sound of her cell phone ringing shrilly beside the bed. Groaning, she reached out for the offending device, in half a mind to throw it at the far wall.
“Damn you, Goren,” she grumped. “Can’t you let a girl sleep in…?”
Then she checked the caller ID, and snapped very abruptly back into awareness.
“Eames, it’s Captain Deakins. I’m sorry to call you like this on a Sunday, but I have a case for you, and it can’t wait.”
Alex bit back a sigh. Well, there went the weekend.
“Okay, sir. Let me have details, and I’ll pick Bobby up on the way.”
“All right. Do me a favour, and let Barek and Logan know as well? I want all four of you looking into this one.”
Alex decided to refrain from mentioning that Carolyn was at her apartment. All else aside, it was no one else’s business.
“All right, Captain. I’ll let them know.”
She ended the call just as Carolyn wandered in, dazed with sleep and a mild hangover.
“Was that Deakins?”
“Yeah,” Alex confirmed, trying to stifle a wide yawn. “We got a case.”
“Mm-hmm. Deakins wants all four of us on the case. C’mon, let’s throw some clothes on, and we’ll pick up the boys on the way.”
Carolyn grunted as she headed for the bathroom.
“You know they were going to some bar together on Friday night?”
Alex regarded her in surprise.
“How do you know that?”
“Mike sent me a text message. I think he saw it as some sort of victory that he convinced Bobby to go with him.”
“Must’ve been a rough day,” Alex mused with little sympathy. “Bobby’s not usually one for the bar scene. Especially not with a guy like Logan.” She shook her head, putting it from her mind with ease. “You want a shower, Carolyn?”
“Mm, yes, please.”
“Okay, go ahead. I’ll call Bobby, and tell him we’ll be around to pick him up in twenty.”
“Don’t call Mike,” Carolyn said as she paused in the doorway of the bathroom. “Leave that to me. He’s probably totally hung-over.”
Alex grinned, quickly catching on.
Carolyn only grinned in reply, and disappeared into the bathroom.
Carolyn came out of the bathroom ten minutes later looking more awake than she really felt. She accepted with gratitude the mug of coffee that Alex offered her, but it wasn’t until she’d taken a few mouthfuls that she finally noticed the worried look on Alex’s face.
“I can’t get a hold of Bobby. He’s not answering his cell phone, or his home phone.”
“Well, maybe he’s doing something where he can’t hear it ringing,” Carolyn suggested. “Maybe he’s in the shower, or something…”
“No, he’d have heard it ringing,” Alex said with a frown. “I tried three times just in case that was it. He would have answered it by the third time if he was in the shower. And if he’s not at home, he still should have his cell phone with him.”
“Maybe he’s with a friend?”
“At five-thirty in the morning?” Alex asked incredulously. Again, Carolyn shrugged.
“Female friend, maybe?”
“He still would have answered his cell. I’m going to try Lewis.”
Before Carolyn had a chance to ask who Lewis was, Alex had already dialled the number. It was answered on the fifth ring.
“Lewis, here. Whoever this is, you’d better have a damn good reason for calling so early.”
“Lewis, it’s Alex.”
Abruptly, the voice on the other end sounded considerably more perky.
“Hey, Detective Alex! Whassup?”
“Lewis, is Bobby there with you? I can’t reach him on his cell phone, and I know you guys were planning to catch up last night.”
Her question was answered with a long silence. She was about to try again when Lewis spoke tentatively.
“Well… Yeah, we were supposed to meet up last night, but he never showed. I… I figured it was work, or something, and I didn’t bother trying to reach him.”
Alex felt her stomach drop.
“So, he’s not there.”
“No, sorry. I don’t know where he is.”
“Okay, Lewis. Thanks.”
“Hey, Detective Alex, let me know when you find him, okay? I’d like to know that he’s okay.”
“So would I, Lewis,” she answered before ending the call. She looked around at Carolyn in growing worry.
“Lewis hasn’t seen him. He doesn’t know where Bobby is.”
“I just tried Mike’s cell and home phones,” Carolyn said as she slipped her own cell phone back into her pocket. “He’s not answering, either. I don’t know whether to be worried or not.”
Alex sighed as she grabbed her coat.
“Deakins is going to kill them both. C’mon, let’s go deal with a crime scene.”
Deakins was waiting for them when they arrived at One Police Plaza a couple of hours later. He did not look happy.
“Where the hell are your partners?” he demanded to know as they walked into the squad room. The two detectives exchanged grim looks. Here went everything.
“We don’t know,” Alex admitted. “We can’t reach either of them on their cell phones, and neither one is at home.”
Carolyn shook her head in irritation as she paused by Mike’s desk.
“Well, now I know why Mike didn’t answer his cell phone.”
Deakins looked over to see her holding up a cell phone.
“Yeah. It was on his desk. He must have left it there on Friday night.”
The anger that filled Deakins’ face was a sight to behold. Before he had a chance to speak, though, Alex got in first.
“Captain, I don’t know about Mike, but Bobby wouldn’t just not answer his phone. I called his buddy Lewis, but Lewis doesn’t know where he is either, and they were supposed to meet up last night to go out.”
The anger in Deakins’ eyes faded somewhat at that, to be replaced by a troubled look. He immediately understood what Alex wasn’t saying. Bobby was a reliable person, and he wouldn’t have simply not bothered to turn up to a planned get-together with as good a friend as Lewis. And he was never without his cell phone, even in those moments when he most felt like being alone. It just didn’t happen.
Deakins let his breath out in a long hiss. Something was very, very wrong.
“Okay,” he said finally. “Find something to do for the moment. I’m going to make a couple of calls.”
Ten minutes later, they were called into Deakins’ office. The captain no longer looked angry, but rather extremely worried. He handed Alex a single page that had a short list on it.
“That’s a list of who was working on Friday. Start calling them, and find out whether Goren or Logan mentioned their plans for Friday night to anyone. They left here together, and I’m assuming they were planning on hitting a bar together somewhere.”
Alex took the list, the first hints of genuine fear in her eyes.
“I just spoke to the staff at Carmel Ridge,” Deakins told them grimly. “Bobby never turned up yesterday for his weekly visit with his mother.”
Alex felt her stomach drop unpleasantly for the second time that morning. Deakins nodded, taking in her expression grimly.
“Since we all know that there’s no way in hell he’d miss visiting her, I think we can officially make this a Missing Persons investigation. I want you two to drop everything else on your plates, and find your partners. I think we can assume they’ve both been missing since Friday night, so do whatever you have to, but find them.”
Alex nodded, hoping she sounded steadier than she was feeling.
“I’m gonna kill Mike,” Carolyn growled as they left Deakins’ office. When Alex looked at her questioningly, she elaborated. “Whatever’s happened to them, I’m sure it’s probably his fault.”
“That’s a bit harsh,” Alex murmured. “Bobby can be as big an idiot when he tries hard enough.”
“That’s just it. Mike doesn’t have to try. He just is.”
Alex smiled faintly, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. All of a sudden, she felt afraid, acutely afraid for her partner’s wellbeing, and all she could hope was that wherever Bobby was, he was safe.
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