Characters: Don, David, Colby, Charlie, Alan, AD Wright
Rating: PG 13+
Warning: some violence
Spoilers: Black Swan 4.13, Backscatter 2.22, One Hour 3.17. Also mention of a character from my fic Wildfire, although it is not necessary to read that first.
Summary: He was bound, he was hooded and he was captive. Cold and sharp, a knife blade was laid against his throat.
Status: Chapter 14 of 15
Wordcount (this chapter): 2776
Total wordcount: ~37,400
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real places and organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
“What exactly did your informant tell you?” His boss demanded again.
David licked his lips in irritation as he looked around the all hours sidewalk café. It was Saturday night and the place was crowed. He faced Don. “He said that if we wanted to find Guerra we should come here at eleven o’clock.”
Don glanced pointedly at his watch. It was a good twenty minutes after that. It was also late and he was tired. Non-stop raids really took it out of a person, what with the early mornings followed by long days of paperwork. “Give it another ten then we’re out of here. Early start tomorrow.”
“Yeah.” David agreed, Don wasn’t the only one who was tired, they all were. Colby just sat nodding his agreement over his coffee, a double-shot espresso. Surely something would have to give soon. With all the pressure they were putting on the gangs, especially the 18th Street Mexicalis he had expected someone to give up Guerra long before now. This tip sounded good, especially coming from this particular informant. He was prepared to stay here all night if it resulted in something, but his comfortable bed also waited for him and he would leave without protest when his boss decided to call it a bust.
The screech of tires was close, too close. Looking up in alarm David saw the out of control car sliding sideways towards the tables and chairs near where they were sitting. There were shouts and screams as people started scattering, trying to clamber out of the vehicle’s path. The three agents were no different, scrambling to their feet and moving away. He saw Don stop momentarily to grab at a woman who had tangled her handbag in her chair. His boss sent the woman flying with a shove just as the car mounted the curb and ploughed into the chairs and tables close to where they’d just been.
Everything then stopped for a moment. All was silent except for the ticking of the car as it cooled and the clattering of plates and cups as they rolled to a stop on the sidewalk. Then the screams started, not everyone had been quick enough to escape the path of the car.
“David, Colby, get in there.” Don ordered. “I’ll call it in.”
Colby moved, but David hesitated a moment. He had another duty. “Don-“
“David, move it.”
Don already had his phone out and had pressed a speed dial. He was moving away a few yards to quieten the panicked screams and shouts as he made the call. There was to be no argument. David nodded and raced to help Colby.
Time ceased its regular flow. All David would ever remember of the next few minutes were the faces of the people he was trying to help and that every time he looked up there were more emergency services surrounding them. At first it was just them, then a pair of LAPD officers, then some EMTs and next a crew from the LA fire department using equipment to prise the car off the trapped man. At the end they were surrounded by emergency vehicles, strobe and spotlights illuminating the scene. He never heard a single siren.
Finally things calmed, time resumed its normal passage and sound returned. The trapped man had been pulled from under the car and was being loaded into an ambulance as he watched. The other seriously wounded were already on their way to the nearest hospital while others were being treated at the scene for minor scrapes and bruises. The driver of the car was being searched for by the LAPD, having run from the scene moments after the vehicle had come to rest. All they knew was that he was black or Hispanic and wearing dark clothes. Not a lot to go on in LA.
“Hey, David. You alright man?” Colby suddenly asked at his shoulder.
David realised he’d just zoned out. Snapping back to it he turned to his partner. “Yeah. You?”
At the familiar expression David suddenly realised something, someone, was missing. “Where’s Don?”
Colby looked a little bewildered. He turned back to where Don had been an eternity ago. “He’s over there…” His voice trailed off as he realised there was no-one ‘over there’. That patch of sidewalk was empty.
“Oh, no.” David ran the few yards to where he’d last seen Don. He started tossing chairs aside, working his way towards the plastic tape set up by the LAPD to prevent access to the scene. He spied something resting on the ground and picked it up.
Colby’s voice was quiet as he stared at the familiar object. “His cell.”
David flipped it over to check and saw the number engraved on the back, the internal FBI equipment number. “Yep.”
They were standing at the end of the alleyway they’d cleared on their arrival. It was obvious what had happened. David suddenly doubted that the accident was an accident. It could have been a diversion aimed at separating them from their boss. It was too late, Don and his attacker would be long gone, unless… He’d heard no shot, but with the auditory exclusion during the panic over the accident he might have missed it. There were also quieter ways to kill a man than using a firearm.
At David’s yell the LAPD supervisor came running over. After a quick explanation a number of uniforms followed the two agents down the alleyway, guns drawn, searching for the missing agent. Other units were called in to start sweeping the neighbourhood. The alley was cleared in short order, no agent, no blood or signs of struggle.
“Make the call.” David ordered. They were standing at the end of the alley on the next street over.
Colby nodded and dialled.
“Rolling EMTs and LAPD, Agent Eppes.” The Control operator responded.
Don snapped his phone closed and started to put it into the holder on his belt as he took a step towards the rapidly unfolding chaos of the accident scene. David and Colby were already in the thick of it, clearing debris from around the vehicle and attempting to organise bystanders to help.
He couldn’t fail to recognise that voice. The agent spun, right hand reaching for his holster. There was the flash of something moving rapidly towards his head. Automatically he reached upwards with his left arm, attempting to block whatever it was. The impact with his forearm was solid causing him to stagger back a half step, his arm dropping back to his side numbed by the blow. His right hand was on the grip of his Glock starting to draw it from the holster but it was too late, the baseball bat was swinging back. He tried to duck but this time the weapon connected with its intended target.
He’d been here before, was his first thought as he came to. The pounding in his head and the cold concrete under his body were only too familiar. This time he was face down, inhaling dust as his face was pressed against the floor. He sneezed and instantly regretted it, feeling like he’d blown the side of his head off. He groaned, his right hand coming up to rub at the side of his head. Abruptly memory returned and he saw the flash of the baseball bat as it swung at his unprotected head. He also remembered the face behind the bat, Guerra.
He got his right arm flat on the ground near his shoulder and was attempting to make his left do the same so he could push himself up when a sudden weight descended on his back between his shoulder blades. Another sudden increase in pressure forced some air from his lungs along with another grunt.
“Hello, Fed.” Guerra repeated. “Wakey, wakey.”
Something rocked him back and forth, rubbing painfully across his back. There was the sound of wood hitting concrete. Don managed to get his eyes open and saw the end of the baseball bat resting on the concrete inches from his face. There was last hard shove at his back before the weight was removed. He realised that Guerra had been leaning on him with a foot as it settled back to the floor next to the bat. Taking a breath he gave up on pushing himself up, his left arm was still numb below the elbow and useless. Instead he managed to roll over onto his back so that he could finally see his assailant.
Guerra was standing calmly, watching as the fed looked up at him from flat on his back. Once again he saw no fear in those dark eyes, just calculation as he tried to figure a way out of his situation. He smiled down at the helpless man at his feet, prodding him sharply in the chest with the bat. He was enjoying his moment of power, just as he would enjoy what he planned next.
“This worked so well for the kids, I thought I’d give it a go.”
Don held his tongue as Guerra poked him once more with the business end of the bat. So this was how the gang-banger planned to take him out, beat him to death with a lump of wood? But Guerra abruptly took a step back and made no further move, seeming to be waiting for something. The agent cautiously sat up and still there was no reaction. Knowing it was futile he swept his right hand over his holster anyway and found it empty as expected. All of their planning and contingencies had failed, he was here alone with the gang-banger. Unarmed and injured there would be only one likely outcome. He had to play for time. Gathering his feet under him he faced Guerra’s smile as he stood.
“You don’t think I’m that stupid, do you?” Guerra asked in amusement. As if he would forget the fed’s gun! He raised the hem of his loose overshirt revealing two weapons tucked into the waistband of his jeans. The fed’s Glock and his own trusty .45.
Ignoring the comment and the weapons Guerra was making no move to use Don looked around and recognised the warehouse he’d spent so many hours in a week or so ago. It was the same warehouse that Chief, real name Mark Carrera, and the other kids had held him at. The old sofas and skateboard ramps were gone but support pillar nearby looked very familiar and sure enough there was the ring in the concrete to which he’d been tethered. As expected there was no-one else in sight. He was surprised though at Guerra’s choice of killing ground, he would have expected somewhere deep inside Mexicali territory, not out here in Rialto. It gave him an angle.
“Couldn’t figure out how to do it yourself, huh?” Don taunted as he faced the gang-banger again. Satisfied with the tightening expression on the other’s face Don pushed. “Needed a bunch of kids to show you the way.”
Guerra swore and exploded into action. He charged at the agent, bat swinging wildly. Don ducked and sidestepped, landing a punch on Guerra’s ribs. He spun away but the bat struck him solidly between the shoulder blades sending him stumbling as his back arched in pain. Regaining his balance he turned back in time to duck a swing aimed at separating his head from his shoulders in what would have been a home run if it had connected. Guerra was not holding back, his face contorted in rage. Don managed another punch before the bat forced him away again.
Guerra pressed his advantage, forcing the agent back a few steps before winding up for another wild swing. Don ducked under it and moved in, this time reaching for the guns at the gang-banger’s belt. If he could reach one this would be all over. But Guerra twisted at the last moment and was able to shove the agent away.
“I thought they trained you lot better than that.” Guerra jeered, grinning as the agent scrambled back to his feet after having stumbled and fallen. He closed in jabbing at him with the baseball bat as if it were a fencing foil.
Don backed away and circled, the two men catching their breath while they had the opportunity. All this ducking and weaving was not helping Don’s concussion. Guerra had hit him somewhat harder than the kids had. His equilibrium was thrown off and he was feeling decidedly unwell. This last fall had badly jarred his left shoulder as he been unable to break his fall in time, his left arm effectively useless. But that was nothing compared to what would happen when Guerra got really serious. The rage was dissipating, which was not good for him. He had to keep the man off balance, keep him angry and not thinking.
It all came down to how long he’d been out and how long it was going to take. He could still feel the uncomfortable lump at the rear of his belt which gave him cause for hope.
“Who taught you to swing a bat like that, a two year old girl?”
Guerra growled and started to pull the bat back, ready to show exactly what he could do with the weapon when he noticed something in the other’s expression. He controlled himself, jabbing again at the fed to keep him back. He had suddenly twigged to the man’s ploy. His lips curled back from his teeth as he backed up a few steps to give himself some room. It was time to finish what he’d come to do. He was rewarded with the brief look of uncertainty that crossed the fed’s face; the agent was starting to suspect that his plan had gone south. Now Guerra might get to see what he wanted, what he’d hoped for last time he was here. He tossed the bat aside, well out of the fed’s reach and reached for a gun at his waist.
“How’s it feel, Fed? Gonna be shot with your own gun.” He levelled the Glock at his intended victim’s head.
And yes, there it was! An ever so brief flash of fear as the fed realised that everything was over. It was gone again so very quickly but he was sure he’d seen it. He decided he wanted to see it again before he put the man down for good. He held off pulling the trigger that was tantalisingly firm under his finger.
Don saw that the slack had been taken up on the trigger. He knew exactly how much pressure Guerra needed to apply to make the gun go off. Any move on his part now and it would all be over. He’d seen the result often enough to know what was about to happen. The law enforcement ammunition would make a mess of him, the rounds designed to fragment on entering a body. Time had run out. He braced himself.
“Your gun, my gun, not really gonna make a difference.”
“Oh, I think so.” The gang-banger smirked knowingly. He stepped closer, jerking the gun down. “On your knees.”
The fed’s eyes flicked around, desperately searching for a way out and finding nothing. Guerra’s grin widened as the man slowly lowered himself to his knees. He moved in, one step at a time so he could enjoy the emotions that flickered over the fed’s face as the moment of execution came closer. Abruptly he realised that he was almost in grabbing range and that the fed’s face had taken on a watchful air waiting for the time to strike.
“Uh, uh.” Guerra shook his head as he stopped out of range. He altered his aim slightly so the fed could look down the barrel from which his death was about to be dealt. “Hands behind your back.”
Another reward as the man’s breath caught and fear once again flashed over his face, his last hope gone. The hands moved slowly until they were clasped together behind his back. After one final look at the fed’s face to fix this last expression into his mind he stepped behind him. He was going to do this right, execution style. He jabbed the gun forward hard, pressing it firmly against the back of his victim’s head. He wanted the fed to feel everything.
“Arrio, this one is for you.” Guerra said his prayer, dedicating his kill as his finger started to tighten.
The next sound was a gunshot, echoing through the abandoned warehouse. A body fell lifeless to the cold concrete.
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