Donny and Catherine.
Don Flack, one of the more decent detectives in New York City, favorite and beloved of the borough's CSI team, walked toward his desk, noticing his Lieutenant's office door was closed. That wasn't the normal way she started her day but every now and then meetings did happen. He sat down at his desk and looked at the things that had sprouted overnight. A few reports from the lab. A few case files. An email from someone that had been printed out. He read that and looked toward the office. Only one person in the whole city gave him a head's up when they were going to be nearby. Usually he found that kinda silly, he liked the girl, he always had, but this time he was sensing a deeper dread in the simple words. He got up and went to the office door, looking inside, and sure enough there she was. He knocked and walked in, giving her a hug. "Catherine, what're you doing here?"
She smiled at him. "Pain and misery, Donny. Why else would I be here?" she asked, sounding a bit grim. "They want me to retire due to my knees and my back and they can't force me to retire so they put me here with you." She pinched him on the cheek. "So now you're in deep shit."
He snorted and kissed her on the head. "Yeah, I'm sure. Whose pain and misery?"
"Mine. Taylor's maybe. I'm not sure yet," she said bitterly, looking at the lieutenant. "I will make this very clear. I can work with Taylor, I refuse to work with Taylor." She stood up with the aid of her cane and looked at her. "I have nothing against him professionally, but if I have to sit in the same room as him, he's going to be missing parts."
"I heard," the lieutenant offered. "I'm not sure why they didn't stick you up the food chain. Your record's impressive, Catherine."
"Yeah, and so's that assault a few years back," she said dryly. "So's the case against the department I helped in. I don't play politics, I don't play nicely, and I sure as hell do what has to be done. They don't like that downtown."
"Good point," she agreed with a smirk. "Fine. We've got two free desks."
"She'll want by the wall," Don told her, leading his friend out. He pointed at the pair of empty desks. "Take your pick, they're both bad. One's got stuff, she's on leave but she's not expected back really."
Catherine looked at the filing cabinets, then at him, and he nodded. "You still use 'em?"
"Yeah, a lot." He patted her on the back and looked around again. "I guess we could shift Morag's desk," he offered. "Turn it the other way."
"I don't wanna be that much of a bother."
He snorted and poked her on the side. "What bother? Less time for me to do paperwork. Guys," he called, waving a hand. The other detectives in the unit looked at him. "This is Catherine Cavanaugh, she just got stuck with us. I suggest you be polite. She may need the cane, but she'll still kick your asses with it." That got some smirks and one evil look. Don glared at him. "You gotta problem?"
"No. Not in the least."
She glared back. "I can still hold my own, little boy. Let's get it straight, the only help I need is when I need an extra hand, I'm feeling too lazy to lift shit, and when I need someone at my back, and I don't expect that to be you anyway. We good now?" He nodded, smirking. "Good." She looked back at the Lieutenant. "He said I can move one of the free desks around so where do I shove the other?"
"We can clean out Morag's," she agreed.
"I don't wanna poach a desk," she told her. "I got told that I wasn't coming back after the twins and I proved them wrong, she might too."
The Lieutenant smirked at that. "Sure. Flack, help her move the desks around and move Morag's back into the other corner. That way she can be paranoid and watch the guys coming up the hall." He nodded. "Get some of the idiot boys to help too. I'm sure there's a few who could use less of a hangover." She smirked at her people. "I don't wanna hear shit about the rumors. Her record's better than almost everyone in here. So get over it."
"Why did you get moved?" one guy asked.
"Easy, the guy who hit my sister transferred to my old precinct," she aid bitterly. "Hence them trying to get me to retire by being *mean*." That got some snorts. "Any other questions? And no, before you ask, I don't bake cookies for anyone but Donny." She went out to her car, coming back with two bags. One of the patrol guys held open the door for her. "Thanks, dear." She walked back that way, finding Don had already set up her desk just the way she liked, with her back to the wall and plenty of space to move. She sat down and had to adjust her chair a bit, but it was eventually fine. Then she laid out her laptop, pens and stuff, and then her desk stuff. She finally got settled in by the end of an hour and looked around, watching everyone watch her. "What?" she asked dryly.
"Most women fuss and decorate."
"I hire people to decorate for me," she shot back, smirking at him. "I find it easier and less stressful than painting. The last time I painted, I was pregnant." That got some laughs and she pulled out the two files she still had, going back to them. She looked up at the quiet cough, growling at the man in front of her desk. "Taylor," she said darkly. "What?"
"You're here now?"
"Very good observation skills," she noted dryly. "Yes, I am. I'm Donny's female counterpart. And, for the record, I'll be working with anyone but you." He nodded, accepting that calmly. "Do you have something for me to do?"
"No, just came to say I'm still here."
She carefully put her gun aside and stood up, bracing on her desk. "I noticed you're still here. I suggest you go hang on the *other* side of the room," she hissed, staring him down. "Comprende?"
"Agreed. I can abide by that." He walked over, going back to Don's desk. "You could've warned me."
"I just found out this morning," he said dryly, staring up at him. "Consider it as you're going to be seeing me a lot more often than you will her. That way she doesn't try it again." He got a nod. "Do we have a scene?"
"Not that I've heard. Can she work with Stella?"
"She can work with anyone but you," Don told him, sounding firm. "Because if you upset her, one of the kids will be here within hours." That got another nod. "Do you have any reports for me?" He handed over the files he was carrying. "Thanks. I'll call when I get something." He got back to work, glancing at her once the head of the CSI upstairs had left. "You good?" he asked as quietly as he could. She nodded and looked up as someone was drug in complaining and shouting. "I'm bored," he announced.
"It's my turn," she countered, standing up again. "Someone kick a chair over. I forgot one for my guests." One was kicked over and she changed her non-rolling desk chair for that one, leaving the non-rolling one for her new suspect. She sat down again, looking at the man now handcuffed to the chair in front of her. "Name?" she asked, opening the new arrest form.
"Blow me," he snorted.
She leaned closer and captured his chin, staring into his eyes. "First, I've got God's own gag reflex. Not even my former spouse got that treat. Secondly, try it again. I earned my tenure on the force in the bad old days. I'm the daughter of a cop and you're making my head hurt. Now, name?"
"Kessell," he said.
"Spell it." He mumbled it. "Two s's and two l's?" she demanded. He nodded. "First?"
"Full first name," she said dryly, giving him the look of death again. "Or, hey, I can frisk you and see what you got tattooed so you wouldn't have to sound it out." He glared and she glared back. "Full first name and middle initial?" He swallowed and said something quietly. "I'm not that great. I'm not Superman, nor do I wear ungodly, horribly colored tights. Try to speak clearly, okay?" He nodded and spoke again, sounding a bit less defiant. "Thank you. What'd you do?"
"Nothin'," he said automatically. She laughed and gave him another look. "They think I beat my girl for cheating on me."
She rolled her eyes. "Next time, learn oral sex. They don't leave if you give it to 'em." She put that on the form and went back to it. Then she looked at him. "How many hospital reports am I gonna find under her name?"
"None," he defended.
"Didn't let her go before?" she asked dryly, noting that as well. "Or did you just snap because she decided you were inadequate."
"Hey, it was the money."
"Oh, so she's a ho?"
"No!" He tried to move and she smirked at him. "Fine, she left me because he does pansy stuff like take her out to dinner and shit. No real woman wants that shit! I'm sure you don't!"
"Actually, dinners are nice events," she noted patiently, typing that. "It gives me a chance to relax and be a happier bitch." She looked at him again. "How badly did you beat her?"
"I'm not sayin' nothin' else without a lawyer," he sneered.
"Sure." She got up and grabbed her gun, putting it back on, then her cane and her handcuff keys. She released him and recuffed him, then brought him down with the stuff she was printing to hand over to the booking sergeant. "He beat his girl for liking nice things like dinners out and leaving him because he's a tight ass," she reported. The booking guy looked at her so she smirked. "Yes, they moved me back here." He visibly shuddered. "Yeah, I met with my old trainee too," she said dryly. "Take him. He wants his lawyer now. Let's hope she explains to him that all women like nice things. It makes them feel appreciated and wanted, which in turn makes us more susceptible to doing what he wants in bed." The guy looked heartbroken at that. "There's nothin' saying that she'd do it, but most women are more responsive in bed when we're treated better. Learn that while you're in your cell with your new roommate for the next few years." She handed over the paperwork and went back to her desk, the cane tapping lightly up the halls. She passed by Don. "My first real case?" she joked.
"No, Mac's the one open," he said, grinning at her. "You'll like Stella, she's another lady who speaks her mind." He hurried off, letting her get back to work. "Dinner tonight," he called back as he walked off. "Your place."
"Sure," she agreed, smiling all the way back to her desk. She found someone leaning on it and gave him the once-over. He was cute. Blond. Geeky looking. Glasses. Don had mentioned him by description a few times. "Danny," she said dryly, sitting down with a sigh of relief. "I hate those stairs."
He gave her an odd look. "Mac told me to come get you for the case I'm working on, that Don's handing it over," he offered.
"Yeah, that's because I don't work well with Mac Taylor," she admitted, standing up again. She grabbed her cellphone and waved it at the Lieutenant. "He's briefing me on one of Don's cases I'm taking over."
"That's fine. I've got your number. Messer, she's very good."
"So he said." He walked off, glancing at her. "I'm surprised they don't have you on a desk yet."
"They tried that. I have a knee brace for when I can't use the cane," she admitted quietly as they moved to the elevator. "I also threatened to sue their asses since this was job- related." She smirked as they got onto the elevator. "Which level? Trace? Ballistics? Break room?"
"Trace," he decided, pushing that button. "You've been here before?"
"Yeah, I helped build the lab," she said smugly. "I trained Mac. I don't like Mac because the Chief told him very blatantly that he was to watch me to keep me on the straight and narrow." She looked at him. "You get that?" He grimaced and nodded. "I don't do that shit. You prove to me who you are and what you can do. Hell, I'm a Cavanaugh." He smirked a bit at that. "Yeah, my dad was one of us and then he had to go back to the family business, so he changed my name and handed me to Donny's dad to help me be better than he was and escape. Thankfully he only had daughters." She grinned at him. "So I don't care what you used to do, Danny," she said as they got off. "All I care about is how good you are, if you know your shit, and that we get along."
He grinned at that. "Sure," he agreed, leading her to the lab he'd been working on. He stopped in one lab. "Stella, this is...."
Stella smirked. "Catherine. You hired me."
"I remember. I told you you'd have to be the mouthy one since I was leaving." Stella grinned at that. "I hope you still are?"
"All the time," Danny complained. He rolled his eyes. "Don said we're working with her and he's got Mac's cases."
"Sure," she agreed happily. "I remember her being good in here. Are you handing over that jumper case?" He nodded. "That's fine. Have fun with that and welcome home, Catherine."
"Not quite home. I'm Donny's cuter twin now," she shared with a wicked smirk. "Come on, Danny. Trace was never my thing. Fluids were my thing. I had the best luck coaxing semen to talk to me." He snickered, leading her off. "We good?" she asked.
"We're fine," he agreed happily. He paused while her cell rang.
"It's me. Talk." She listened. "No, that's Timmy. You leave Timmy alone. Yes, I know he's got a badge. His job, his only job, is my backup, bodyguard, and occasionally a driver. That's all he does, Lieutenant. If he wanted to, he knows he could come in and sit beside me and watch me work. He said he didn't want to. I'm going to respect that in the boy. So lay off Timmy. Thanks." She hung up and grinned at him. "He was the other part of the plan to keep me straight and narrow. Well, that and to keep me from shooting at traffic now and then. But mostly to keep me on the straight and narrow." She smiled as she followed him into the lab, looking at what he had laid out. She sniffed and relaxed, giving him a bright, happy smile. "I almost miss this place sometimes. The chemicals bring back some decent memories." He bounced a bit. "So, jumper or a pushee?"
"Pushee," he admitted, showing her something on the table, a photo of a handprint. "We have finger and palm prints, but no matches in AFIS."
"Have you tried the anti-kidnaping kits database?" she asked. "They uploaded all those fingerprints and DNA samples into one a few years back." He looked impressed. "Here." She moved to type in that name, searching for it. She registered the lab and handed him the keyboard. "Make up a user name and passcode. Most of us use our last names and badge numbers."
"Sure." He typed that in and then wrote it down before starting the search. It came up with a hit and he grinned at her. "You're good."
"No, but if I was any better, I'd be less than humble." She winked and looked at the screen. "Is that your vic?"
"It doesn't match her, but it's the same last name," he admitted, pulling up that file. It had a list of relatives as well. "Ah, cousins. It's something to look at." He printed that off and grinned at her again. "So, anything else we should know about you?"
"It's a long story and I don't feel like being depressed today," she pointed out. "So I'll leave it as you've seen him watching others, think about it up close for over ten years. Now, remember what happens when you don't have anything other than that every day." He grimaced and nodded. "He drove... talk to Donny, Danny. He knows. He was there. Hell, I've known him since I was ten and my father was called back so he sent me to Don's father to help me."
Don leaned in. "Since my dad did the same thing," he admitted. "She went from my dad to Mac doing it. And they still don't believe she's a good cop."
Danny nodded. "I understand."
"I thought you might," she agreed, giving him a slight grin. "But if you ever feel that need and the necessity to slip, know that you wouldn't be the first to show up on my doorstop at two in the morning." She nodded at Don. "He was."
"The guy gave my sister drugs," Don said, and that explained everything Danny needed to know. "There for a while it was kinda funny. My dad went from 'look, you could marry her' to 'use her and her ways to get out all of your wild urges now, son. That way you won't die and I don't have to watch it but you're still safe.'" He smirked at them. "How're the kids? You haven't bragged in a while."
"Gordon got the posting he wanted so I'm sure Horatio woke up with him sitting on the foot of his bed some night recently. Gwen's doing okay down in Texas, but I have the feeling she's going to be calling soon. The other twin's at home," she sighed. "The spoiled princess."
"We'll see if we can help with that tonight," Don assured her.
"You're how old?" Danny asked dryly, staring at her.
"Two years older'n Donny," she assured him with a smirk. "They're geniuses. Gordon's only sixteen. They allowed him to go to the academy early as a special favor as long as he got a very strong mentor. Another reason he went down to Horatio's lands. The guy's his favorite uncle and supported him when he went ahead and did his languages degree. Gwen's nineteen, the academy graduated her last year. She's in Texas. Her I have no idea how she got in early. She just did. Concurrent with her education really." She looked at Don. "And of course I got there earlier than he did because he was feigning being stupid."
"There wasn't any playing on my part about my grades," he reminded her. "I got way too many yells for that." He leaned on the doorframe. "You got stuff for me, Danny?"
"I thought you were giving this one to her."
"I just got told I now have a partner and it's her."
"Your father needs to quit with this fantasy of his," she said dryly. "Really." He smirked and nodded. "Why did I go back to suitable?"
"Because you've got the time and the record in for higher service plus he thinks you should've retired when you blew your knee on that case." He smirked at her. "You know he's begging for grandkids."
"Yeah, I'm aware of that," she sighed. "I've had my three."
"I pointed that out when he suggested it the other day." He walked in and closed the door. "So, what happened? The rumor mill has it that you got moved because they moved Tesser to your old point."
"Yeah, someone on high did that to get him away from Mirin. They moved him to my old precinct. Apparently they thought he needed reminded about how bad he was when he
beat her into a two-day coma. I thought for sure the torture and the tattoo would've been enough."
"Yeah, me too. But ya did make it so if he hadn't moved, he wouldn't have been shocked," he offered with a smirk. "Not like I didn't cheer when I heard it. I only got pissed that you didn't call for help. You know I would've come."
"Yeah, and you've got the former watcher on your back," she said bitterly. "They can excuse me and did when I put her picture in front of my review board. Plus the design for the chair he was in so they knew being tortured was his choice. I can't wait until his next girlfriend sees what I wrote on him."
"You...wrote on him?" Danny asked.
She looked at him. "This guy beat his wife, my only sister Mirin, into a coma for two days for the crime of getting pregnant and him having to meet his father-in-law again. So I casually kidnaped him, put him in a chair that had metal plates attached to a car battery, and put a nice tattoo on his chest that said 'I beat my second wife into a coma for two days' in four inch letters. There's no way for him to have it lasered off because the ink I used won't go for that. The metal plates were far enough away that he would've been fine as long as he didn't move. And I was nice enough to call and tell them where he was the next day."
"And she didn't call me ta come help," Don told him with a smirk. "We have a mutual aid pact about that stuff. The guy who gave my sister heroin when she was younger, she went with me to make sure my temper didn't get out of hand and I didn't kill him, then her rookie ass arrested him." He looked down at her, she only came to his shoulder. "You need to explain Timmy to them, Kate."
She sighed and nodded, looking at Danny. "Long ago and far away...."
"Meaning her fourth year," Don added.
"Yeah, what he said." She leaned against the table. "I was undercover. My people weren't exactly helpful and I didn't know I was going after some really dirty cops until they tried to kill me. Since no one likes me because of my father I always got the shit assignments and this one wasn't any different. They were going to let me die to expose which cops were bad. We're talking major underground ring here. Back at the end of the bad old days." She looked at Don. "Somehow his dad found out and called my dad. My dad sent me a bodyguard." She looked at Danny again, grimacing slightly. "He was the one who saved me. When my father called in his last favor with the chief, my bodyguard went to the academy. Technically he's one of us but his only job is to follow me around, protect my ass, and occasionally drive. He usually waits outside in the car because he feels really uncomfortable in here sitting beside my desk. Taylor sees him and has fits, he thinks Timmy's another point on my downfall, which he was ordered to prevent. Even when he heard why I have him. He got told my father went back to his father's life, but not why, and decided I'm in bad danger of joining him when he was ordered to watch out for me. There for a bit I was on medication for how paranoid I got. Donny walked into my apartment one night and nearly got shot. That's about when things started to change." Don nodded at that. "So, we're really tight, but I'm like his sister. Any rumors otherwise feel free to correct and/or laugh."
"I usually do," Don agreed with a grin for his buddy. "I respect Mac, I learned to like him when she finally got moved halfway across the city. I won't have him going back to his old shit with her. I will slug the bastard. She don't need this."
"You're not fine. Where's your knee brace?"
"Car." She smirked. "It's not like I'm going to bring it in. I'd never have it when I needed it." She stood up again. "So, while I *can* work with him, I *refuse* to work with him. You can tell the others that part. I'm sure he'll tell them how dangerous and slightly evil I am. I will warn you now that I have a temper and Donny's taken my gun before," she offered with a small smirk for him. She noticed Danny shuddered and tipped his face up. "You don't handle yours?" He shook his head. "Then we gotta talk, Messer. We'll work on that. Remember, your gun could save Donny's life some day. So we'll help. Got me here?" That got a small smirk and a nod. "Good. Don, go ahead and bring him over tonight if you want. Since Toni's out tonight." That got an amused look. "Oh, yes, she's got a date," she said dryly, rolling her eyes. "I have as of yet to meet this boy. Maybe we can fix this tonight." She punched him on the arm. "Tell me when you bring the cousin in, Danny. I'm going to go sit down. I've about reached my limit for the moment on standing."
"Need helped back?"
"No, I'll make it and then flop down with a sigh," she promised with a wicked smirk. She opened the door and walked out, heading for the nearer elevator. She'd have a bit more walking to do upstairs but that was fine.
Don closed the door again. "Three other things you should really know. Her first husband, Gwen's dad, beat the shit outta her one night after shift. She finally got discharged and her boss didn't let her call off. He claimed it was safer to have her here and riding a desk than at home. Which I kinda agree with. Fortunately my mom had Gwen that day. He came back and tried to finish her off outside and no one at that precinct moved ta help her. I went to her dad during a meeting with another of the local bigger guys in the family stuff and told him why she was in the hospital. That other guy got her divorce through within the week. He's getting out of jail next month. I'm not sure if she's counting or not. Second thing, the twin's daddy? Horvats. The jewel thief. She didn't realize but they do stay in touch and the twins do know their daddy. Toni got a lamborgini for her sixteenth. She doesn't want to go into the family business, but she's considering her father's line of work. Third, the son? Wellllll." He considered how to put it.
"Gordon's got a pretty neat genetic trick, just like his daddy. His daddy's got an extra 'y' chromosome." Danny nodded at that. "Gordon's got xyx. Technically he's a bothie really. He's vaguely got internal sex organs but he considers himself a guy. He's always been the son, always said he was the son. He lives as the son. He told the academy and they put him in the women's dorm due to his innie system, but he just used it as one of the guys to oogle. They had to move him to the guy's dorm after a few complaints. He's straight and narrow. Caine, the guy from Miami that came up on that case? Kate and me had to go down there to work a cross-jurisdiction thing. We spent nearly a half-year down there working with him and Gordon was pretty young. Gordon's had about two male influences in his life, me and Horatio, and he likes Horatio better because he's subtle. So he considers Horatio to be his favorite uncle and I'm basically the dad to her kids since I helped her raise 'em now and then. Changed my first diaper on Gordon actually." He grinned at him. "So the pretty thing in the skimpy clothes is my daughter, and she's hellaciously smart. Like decided against doing accelerated learning and letting her brother do it instead. She's an information person and a hacker, but she's a neat kid. Even if she is just the tiniest bit more evil than her ma. But she's a bad tease," he said, shaking his head.
"I'll keep that in mind for when I see her," Danny promised. "You sure I should come out?"
"She invited you," he said with a smirk. "If you refuse she'll expect me ta handcuff ya and put ya in the trunk." He grinned at him. "So, who do we need on this case?"
"She got me into the registry for those kidnaping kits to search their database." He handed over the printout. "That's her cousin but it was her handprint on the railing."
"Interesting. Let's go talk to her."
"I can take her."
"Nope, still my case. She'll have plenty soon enough. Oh, she's got four bottom drawer cases. She's pretty sure who did them but she can't prove 'em. So if you ever get bored, ask ta look. I'm told if I'm still here when she leaves, I'm getting 'em." He nodded. "Shall we?"
"We should," Danny agreed, bundling everything back up and following him out. "Only four?"
"My girl's an amazing cop, Danny. You'll see her in action soon but she's good. Like trained Taylor good." That got a nod and a grin. "Seriously."
"Stella said she had hired her. Do I call her Catherine?"
"Yup. I'm not even supposed ta call her Kate but I've got little brother status," he said with a shit-eating grin. "Just remember that if you two try ta hook up. She only goes for brains anymore." He pushed the button on the elevator. "She gave up dating pretty guys after Hovarts. Well, after I did a background check and found out that he was suspected of being a jewel thief but no arrests had ever been made. She had this bad habit of pretty bad boys for the longest time." He got onto the elevator and Danny joined him. "Fortunately now she goes for brains and prettiness."
"That's a good combination. She get weird if she is dating?"
"Nah. A few years back she slept with her last partner so they could have some sort of working relationship. All very quiet but I knew. The guys in her life would mostly kill to protect her." He looked at him. "Including me and my dad. She's been at our place most of the time since she was ten. Her dad called mine the day he had ta leave the force and told him to come meet him in public. He handed over the name change stuff to be filed, guardianship papers just in case, and told my dad to make sure she stayed straight. Taylor was his idea." He rolled his eyes as they came out and headed outside to his car. "Dad misjudged her badly but it happens. I know she's not perfect." He got in and waited for Danny to buckle up before starting the car and doing the same. "Gwen hates my dad. He said something about her being as close to a grandchild as he'd ever get, even if it wasn't mine and it offended her. She doesn't talk to my dad since then. The twins are socially polite because they follow her lead." He pulled into traffic. "Just remember, Toni's a bad tease and it'll be fine. Even if she does dress like a stripper sometimes."
"Good ta know," Danny agreed with a grin. "She have aspirations that way?"
"No, she's cute. She hides her brains behind being cute and being socially climbing. Goes to a good Catholic school downtown. She has some problems with the nuns, but otherwise she's good. One of the nuns keeps calling her a harlot the last time I knew. She about decked her for it. She's got her daddy's temper and her momma's smarts. Some day she will drive some man nuts." He changed lanes and turned a corner. "Where we headed again?"
"Great, call that in for me, 'kay?"
Danny pulled out his phone to call Mac. "Hey, me. I got a break in that pushing case. No, the handprint. No, the anti-kidnaping/child identification kits have a database and I searched through there. It came up with her cousin so we're heading to talk to her. No, me and Don. He insisted it's still his case. Sure, Mac," he said, rolling his eyes. "Nah, I got invited out for dinner tonight by Catherine and Don." He hung up on the shocked silence. "How many people think you two are serious but you're scared of commitment?"
"Most of the people who've seen how tight we are. My dad wanted her to be my first, my prom date, and show me the evils of liquor and drugs so I'd get it out of my system long before I graduated. She refused the first two and well... let's just say there's still some stuff I can't admit to," he said dryly. Danny gaped at him. "Yeah, I wasn't the perfect teenager by any means, and he knew about it. He said to get that out of the way so anything with charges would be on a juvie record and could be erased. He figured she'd know and be doing it herself, therefore she could watch my back and we'd be tied closer together so I'd have a ready-made wife who knew what the cop's life was like." He turned another corner and took the onramp. The freeway was faster in this case.
"Man! Your dad seriously wanted grandkids, didn't he?"
"Oh, yeah. Preferably just about two years after I got my first shield and then one a few years later so he had time to savor them. His words. Her getting knocked up her first year on the force kinda broke his heart in a lot of ways."
"Hold on. If Gwen's nineteen and she's two years older than you...."
"I'm thirty-five, Danny."
"Oh." He gave him an odd look. "No you're not."
"Yeah I am and she's way smarter than me. She got in a year early because of her grades in school."
"Oh." He considered it. If she was thirty-seven.... then the math added up for him. "She was still pretty young."
"Yeah," he sighed. "Too young. God, Gwen's a kicker though. She's just like her mom, the same as Toni is. Mouthy, loud, strong. She's down somewhere in Texas. Found a mentor in that PD and she's doing okay from what he reports to Catherine, but I didn't find out about her until she was about six months old. Catherine was part of that undercover at the time and her husband hated me. He always saw me as competition. If I knew then what I know now, I would've known he'd be bad ta her and get my dad to break 'em up sooner. Or hell, made her cheat with me so he'd have stomped off before she got pregnant. That's why he beat her, because she was pregnant," he said quietly. "He was a cop too. That's why they didn't stop him according to the Internal Affairs investigation. Didn't help him much in prison and the judge used his badge against him, giving him the max and finding a few new charges to add on when he found out she was pregnant. She's so damn lucky she didn't lose Gwen. Then they sent her immediately back under to cover up not helping her and I found out about Gwen after she was born. From the trial."
"But she's fine now," Danny reminded him.
"She's still got crappy taste in men," he snorted. "Bad, bad taste in men with one exception and they're on an 'outs' moment again. So if you wanna step up, I wouldn't mind. You'd be the most decent of any of the guys she's ever dated. After Hovarts, there were a few serious guys, but she might as well paid for it most of the time. And probably did on occasion. Now that she's closer, I gotta work on that for her. The one guy I approve of can't do it since he's not here. If he were, no one would have a chance and she'd be happy. Unfortunately he's in another state and neither one wants to move at the moment."
"Maybe she'd like Stella?" Danny joked.
"She tried it once or twice but couldn't stand it when the crankiness matched her own some days. Oh, she and PMS? Bestest chocolate ice cream eating buddies. Beware of the chocolate ice cream demon. I knew how to calm my little sister down when she started her monthlies and it made my dad laugh his ass off, but it saved my life. I have no shame buying her midol and handing it over. When I was in the academy and crashed on her couch most of the time, I used ta try to keep track of it for her. Didn't work, her body don't know regular anything, but I tried really hard." He grinned suddenly. "Mac's probably forgotten about that stuff."
Danny laughed. "Did his wife know her?"
"Oh, yeah. Claire apologized for her husband a few times. They were actually friends, kinda. Not good ones but every now and then Mac'd go home pissed at something and Claire would invite her to lunch to apologize for her husband's stupidity and paranoia. Catherine pointed out it never changed anything but Claire was a decent lady. I met her once or twice after those lunches."
"So, what happened to her knee and back?"
"Knee? Well, it kinda bends the wrong way now and then. Perp got rough with her when she found him. Kicked it and did something to the muscles. Back? It just kinda comes and goes and has for years. Age and experience are catching up with her so it aches more often than not. You won't catch her running after someone anymore. That's Timmy's job. One he seems ta enjoy. You'll probably like Timmy. We all used ta bounce ideas off him for cases and stuff. He's got a good mind and a good heart. He's just stuck in a crappy assignment. His old man was a dirty cop and her daddy busted him but took the kid in when he wanted to go to the academy. Sicced him on his daughter to protect her since she can't seem to get backup outside'a me and occasionally Taylor." He glanced at his buddy. "She meant what she said, Danny. She's been where you are now with Mac. She still is. You can talk ta her about it and she'll understand. She's mentored a few kids who used ta be gang members and all that. She's even mentored one who came in with a serious past addiction and kept 'em straight until they went into Vice and got hit again by a suspect. Hell, she tried really hard to save him, but it didn't work. She'll help you with that stuff if you need it. Everyone probably expects it anyway with the way she is. She likes to butt in."
"If it gets too bad, I'll go to her," he agreed quietly, shifting to look at him. "She's really good in the labs?"
"Oh, yeah," Don said dryly. "She built the lab. When we had that remodel a few years back? That was her idea. Her vision. The special sealed lab for things like a virus attack? Her idea. She's also the only one who can get in up there. She filed for the grants, she had the people go in for the updated training classes. She ran the lab for ten years, Danny. Then the shit with Mac got onto her last nerve and she went to talk to the Chief about it, and he liked the idea, so she threatened to sue. They moved her to Homicide and then SVU for a few years. Until one of the guys got on her last nerve and she about beat him in the interrogation room. He was smirking and pointing out what he was going to do to her, including attacking her, making her pregnant, and then torturing her through it until she delivered or miscarried. It was close to an admission but he was dancing around it. She grabbed him by the back of the head, slammed his face into the table, then started again. That's why she's not a lieutenant herself at the moment."
Danny smirked. "Then she'll fit right in," he agreed happily. "Next exit."
"That's not...." Danny held up the address. "Fine. Why?"
"They're repaving the next one up. It was on the news, Flack. You should try watching it at night."
"I've got better things to do than watch the news."
"I didn't know you were dating."
"I'm not, but I've still got better things to do with my time than watch the news."
Danny giggled. "I agree, but I keep track of the traffic stuff so we can get where we're going faster."
"What's the matter," some guy in the hallway of the precinct called. "You think you're better'n my right hand?"
"Baby, I'm ambidextrous and both my hands are better than you," a female voice shot back. "Get over yourself. You're slimy and not worth the effort to shave my legs." The young woman walked into the office and over to Catherine's desk, earning a long stare. "Hey, not my fault I had to change," she said dryly, holding up a hand. "Some of the kids pulled a Carrie on me at school. I had to change, mom, and I had to put this on since it's the only thing I had in my locker." She pushed down the belly-showing white t-shirt over her catholic uniform skirt. "By the way, the headmistress and the cranky nun started in on me after that again. Called me a bitch and a pro. I kindly reminded them that they chose how short the skirts were, not me, and then I made a complaint to the diocese on my way here. We went back to talk about it and they started on me in front of him. He had my folder in his hand when she started on how I was a harlot this time." She smirked. "So I'm the cause of two nuns being fired from their positions and us getting a headmaster."
"Good. I'm glad I didn't have to beat the nun for that." She looked her daughter over, then took off her jacket and handed it to her. "Put that on."
"Yes, mother," she sighed. She slid into it, looking around, then back at her. "Doesn't Uncle Donny work here?"
"Yup, and he's due back at any minute. You can wait. Are we giving you a ride home today?" She got back to work.
"I wouldn't mind. I don't have any homework, the priest who's taking over was appalled at the skirt length she chose, and I probably should shop instead."
"Wait until he's called in the orders, dear."
"True, but I could use a new outfit for my date tonight."
Her mother gave her an amused look. "When am I meeting this boy?"
"The day I marry him. You scared off the last two." She heard a familiar voice and squealed, running over to pounce her favorite uncle. "Uncle Donny!"
"Toni," he said, grinning at her and looking at her. "I see the sisters haven't relented on their way of raising money for the new roof."
"Oh, no, I got two of them fired today. A few of the other girls pulled a Carrie on me and I had to file a complaint when I was blamed for it and they went off on me being a pro again. So we're getting an older priest, who was appalled at the length of skirt the old bitch chose, and I've got a date tonight."
"When do I meet this guy?" he asked, leading her back to his desk.
"Um, the day I marry him, the same as Mom? You helped her scare off my last two boyfriends."
He pinched her on the cheek. "Always happy to help, Toni. Now, go put on real clothes."
"I can't, I don't have any more in my locker." She shrugged. "Mom, can I go shopping?" A wallet hit her in the head. "Thanks, mom." She handed back the jacket and winked at her uncle. "Dinner to celebrate my mother being somewhere sane and...." She trailed off when she saw Mac. "Oh, really?"
"We've already had that talk," he said, getting into her face, making her back down. "You can't scream at him where everyone can hear," he said quietly.
"Fine," she agreed, staring into his eyes. "But he hurts her, he's mine. I mean it." He grinned at that. "Hey, mom'll get stressed. She doesn't need that. Oh, mom, Gwen left a message earlier saying she'd be calling tonight and she didn't sound happy. I'm not sure why, she didn't say." She looked at her uncle again, then glanced at the very stiff Taylor who was behind him. "Bother my mother," she encouraged him snidely. "Remember, I'm not the nice one. She's in Texas and can't save you this time." She turned and walked out.
Don looked at Mac. "Got something for me?"
"They let her wear that?"
"No, the old headmistress made her wear that so she could call all the girls harlots." He shrugged. "She just got fired. You got something on a case for me?"
"Maybe. We tracked an email on the Hessafi case to her boyfriend. He didn't sound pleased and threatened her." He handed over the copy. "We've already looked him up and that's his address."
"Thanks, Mac. Anything else to go on?"
"Not yet. I'm still waiting on the tox screen." He glanced at Catherine. "Don...."
"It's been years and she proved herself time and again," he said quietly. "Drop it, Mac, and get off Danny's ass while you're at it. Before he turns into her." He went to his desk to pull up that case file and read it over before going to find his suspect. He watched Mac walk off looking indignant but he didn't care. Not too many people were close enough for him to protect them.
She cleared her throat and hit him with a balled up piece of paper. "Your armor needs shined again, sir knight." She stared at him. "I can kick his ass if I need to."
"I'm sure you can but you gotta let me help sometimes. That way you can spare your back." He grinned at her. "If and when he deserves it, you tell me."
She snorted. "I'm a big girl, Don....."
"You're not fat, Kate. Get over it." He got up and went to find his suspect. It was the only way he ever won an argument with her, walking away while she was still trying.
She rolled her eyes. "Idiot," she said fondly, getting back to work.
Don used his keys to walk into her house. She had pulled the last crime scene of the shift so he and Danny had gotten there first. "This is the Barton house. She's got a hideyhole somewhere else I can't tell you about." He walked in and let Danny get the door behind him. "Toni, you in yet?" he called. "Your mom said we're having dinner."
"I've still got a date and clothing issues."
"Only because you go out dressed like one of the bimbos on that animated porn stuff," he called. "What's your mom making for dinner so I can pull stuff down for her?"
"Like I know. I'm going out to eat." She came out and he gave her a long look, then turned her around and spanked her to get her moving. "It's not that bad!"
"Change, now. Your mother would not be amused if you got arrested for prostitution." He went into the kitchen. "And I mean it, young lady."
"You know, I actually have a father," she called, coming to the doorway.
"Yeah, and he's still a jewel thief and he hangs out with sluts who dress like you are," he said firmly, glaring at her. "I may not be your real father but I'm as damn close as you're coming so therefore I can paddle your ass if you walk out the door wearing that. Your mother said so." She huffed and walked off. "Some day you'll thank me for you not having a criminal record," he called after her.
"Yeah, I'm sure I will, Don."
He looked up, praying for patience from teenagers.
Danny snickered quietly. "This happen often?"
"Yeah, her image issues are years ahead of her body. I know she's a good girl and she'll never put out, yet, but I don't wanna let her give the guys the wrong idea. Ya know?" Danny nodded, smirking at him. "You, wipe it," he ordered. "I might as well be their dad, it's my job to make sure she doesn't look like a five buck blow."
"True," Danny agreed, grinning at the woman and bodyguard coming in. "Your daughter got ordered to change."
"I figure she did."
"Can I take that blue skirt she was wearing and just tuck it into my jacket pocket as a handkerchief the next time I need one?" Don asked, pulling out sodas for them. "Sorry, Danny, no beer."
"I'm good with soda."
Catherine smiled. "Good to know. I live on the stuff." She took hers and went back to check on her daughter. "Ain't no way in hell you're wearing that out of here!" she yelled from the doorway.
"Remember when I had to go undercover as a domme? I still got the shit in my room and I will tie you to a wall and beat your ass, young lady. Now change!"
"Yes, mother," she sighed, slamming her bedroom door in her mother's face. "Grumpy bitch."
"I heard that, apologize!" Don yelled. "Now, Antonia!"
"Sorry!" she called, not opening the door.
"God, teenagers," she muttered as she came back. "Gwen didn't have these problems."
"I was around more often for her than I could be for Toni and Gordon," he reminded her quietly, giving her a hug. "You were off having bad assignments and I couldn't be there. If I had been, she'd be just as stable and Gordon would still be working on his degree." He kissed her on the forehead, looking at her as she came back out. A sparkly top, a mid-thigh skirt that dangled farther down in the back. "Where are you going tonight?" Someone knocked on the door and Timmy went to get it. "If you're going higher class places, I'd change the shirt." She sighed. "Sorry, but it doesn't fit you anyway. It hangs too loose, Toni."
"Like you're an expert on fashion?" she snorted. Her mother glared at her and she slumped, shrugging. "Timmy, is that my date?"
"It is," he called, letting the boy in.
He looked at her and had to wipe the drool off. "Not that I mind, but we're going to La Circe."
She nodded. "I'll change my top."
"Wear the light blue silk," Don called. "It'll go with that skirt." She nodded as she walked past the kitchen. He nodded the boy inside, who got a helping hand from the bodyguard. "So, you're seriously about her daughter?"
"Yes, sir, I think I am," he said timidly.
Catherine looked at him. "I've seen you at the school. You ride a moped." He beamed and nodded. "At least it's mostly safe." She stepped forward, looking him over. "I will tell you this once. If you ever disrespect my daughter," she said in her most calm, reasonable voice, "I will make sure that no CSI, of which I used to be one, can or will ever find your body, piece it together again, or be able to identify you even if they do find crucial parts. Do you understand?"
"I'd never disrespect her, ma'am. I think I love her. That's why I won't do anything more than hold her hand and kiss her until she tells me she's ready."
"Good, I like that," Don agreed, staring him down. "Because her mom's a cop, I'm a cop, and all our friends are cops. I'll cover her back when she disposes of you."
"Uncle Don!" she whined as she came back.
"You, quit. We'll be talking later since we should've met this boy long before now."
"Yeah, well, you aren't here as much as you used to be," she said smartly. Her mother glared and she backed down again. "Sorry, I know you've got a life."
He pulled her over to kiss her on the forehead. "You're still as close as I come to having a kid," he reminded her quietly. "You could've visited when cases wore me down and I couldn't get out." She nodded, accepting that. "Now, be safe, have fun, and she'd better come home wearing all the same clothes, young man. Even the pantyhose."
"Oh, no, sir, it won't be tonight. We'll have a nice night in a good hotel whenever she's ready." He smiled at him. "I'll be very careful with her, but we've got reservations in an hour."
"Then we're taking my car," she told him, walking him out with a wave over her shoulder. "I'll be home just after curfew, mom, that way I can drop him off to pick up his moped and then make sure he makes it home." She put on the shoes at the door. "I'm taking your black pumps, even though they're too big."
"Get into my closet and into the trunk," she sighed. "The old stuff would fit you." Her daughter squealed and ran up the curved stairs to her mother's bedroom, finding shoes for tonight. "No speeding," she yelled when she heard her coming back down.
"Yes, mom." She walked her boyfriend out to the garage, letting him get into the passenger's seat. No one drove her birthday present but her. She backed it down the driveway and headed off, careful where her mother might hear or see her, then speeding up a bit more. After all, you didn't drive a lamborghini for going slow.
Don sighed and shook his head. "Some day, she'll make you a grandmother."
"Yeah, and I'll laugh my ass off when her kid pulls the same shit," she said dryly, heading to the freezer. She looked, she stared - head tipped off to the side - then she slammed it closed. "Fuck it. Southern Texan, Chinese, Pizza, or Greek?" she called, heading up to change, slow on the stairs.
Danny noticed she wasn't using the cane and looked at Don, who smirked. "It's something she doesn't use around the house. Claims she can easily grab a wall if her knee or back give." He shrugged. "Southern," he called. "That good?" Danny shrugged and nodded. "You'll like this place, it's damn good." Someone knocked and he noticed Timmy going to answer the door. "Since when did you become the butler?" he teased, following him. He found Stella on the doorstep and nodded her inside. "Break on a case?"
"Mac's pouting and moping. I nearly beat him for it." She looked at Catherine as she came down wearing a funny light blue suit. "Is that one of those aquamassage suits?"
"Yup, I do it for my knee and back for half an hour every day," she said dryly. "Did he send you?"
"No, I wanted to know what was going on. I figured I'd come to the source and then hear his side since yours is probably more detailed. He did say it was his fault. I never did hear the reason he was watching you like you were a suspect. I figured I could get that now."
"That's nice'a him," Don admitted, closing the door. "Stella, this is Timmy, the bodyguard and helper for Catherine," he introduced. Timmy smiled and waved. "He is a cop officially and carries a badge, but he's her helper and only her helper."
"But I let you guys bounce ideas off me," he admitted in a quiet, deep voice. He grinned at her shiver. "I'm a nice guy but I'm her backup."
"That's fine," she agreed, smiling at him. "I've heard horror stories about her driving."
Timmy laughed and shook his head. "All false unfortunately. I drive so she can't shoot someone in heavy traffic and so she can get some stuff done so she's not doing it at home." He heard the groan and looked at his boss. "Knee?"
"Yeah, it hit that part of the cycle. Don, go ahead and call it in, then tell Stella everything? I'm sure you told Danny." Danny nodded, grinning at her. "Then I'm good mentoring you too, dear. I'm surprised no one suggested you come talk to me before."
"A few guys in the unit asked me if I should," Don admitted. "That's about when I started going off on the 'he's a good cop' rants myself." Stella looked at him. "Kitchen. Southern good, Kate?"
"Fine with me. Chicken?"
"Decent. It's been a while." He led Danny in there to talk with her. He also called in dinner, adding a few extra people to the order for leftovers for breakfast and lunch. By the time they were done, dinner was there, she was back in normal clothes, and Timmy had headed out for his own date.
A few days later, Catherine walked straight to the CSI labs, finding Danny coming in. "I heard it was a friend of yours," she said quietly, stopping him at the elevator. "What happened?"
"A friend got attacked," he said, looking depressed. "She's fine, as you can be anyway, but I'm doin' it myself so no one else knows until we've got the guy. Too many here remember her."
She nodded. "Okay." She looked around, catching the new girl's eye. "Tell Stella I'm taking him upstairs to give him a private spot to work on a difficult case." She led him to the back elevator and up, using the key from around her neck in the lock. "When I left I gave Stella the code," she admitted as the elevator moved. "Mac never got the code unless he had it reprogrammed and I was to be notified by email if that happened. Sometimes bribing the company that put stuff in can be handy." They got off at the top floor, which was the unused bio-hazard lab. She thought back then input a code, unsealing the front door, then the airlock sealed door instead of the one that led to the office area. "Come on. It's got full setups in here." He nodded, carrying in the boxes. She checked the elevator, finding a swab that had fallen out of his pocket, then released the elevator for others' use by taking the key. She followed him in, hitting the button for the sanitizing heat to be used on her before walking in. "What can I do to help, Danny?" He gave her a sideways look. "I did fluid stuff."
He handed over the sexual assault kit with a nod. "Thanks."
"Not an issue. I hate rapists and child molesters. If I ever go bad, I'm killing them all." She got to work at another work station. "Did you need computer help?"
"No, it's up and it took my password," he admitted. He heard a phone ring and groaned, pulling his out. "Not mine."
She pulled hers out and looked at it. "Don. Should I tell him?"
"They're friends," he admitted quietly, getting back to work.
She answered, well, called him back. "Donny?" She listened to him rant. "We know. Danny's got the stuff to process, we're up in the virus lab so we've got absolute silence on our end. No, I'm doing the fluid samples." She heard the elevator move and shrugged. "Stella has the key if you need up and the code." She hung up and got back to work, looking over as Stella came in. "Absolute quiet."
"Why?" She looked at the name on the package Danny held up. "What happened?" He held up a swab case and she went pale. "Is she all right?"
"Probably," he said grimly. "Crying. I dropped her off at my place so she'd have somewhere safe ta rest." He got back to work and a quiet jazz station came on, making him give the other woman a grin. "Thanks. I needed it."
"I'm not surprised. I hate silence. It's the only bad thing about this lab, all the soundproofing." She looked at Stella. "Don knows."
"I'll send him up in a few hours." She walked over to watch her work. "You didn't forget anything."
"I practice on the kids," she said dryly. She put the machines to work processing the samples then sat down and looked at her. "I've got to call the oldest kid. It's going to be at least an hour before we can match it to the system." That got a nod. "Try to keep Don quiet and not ranting about it, okay? I'm not sure who it was."
"She said it wasn't someone she knew," Danny admitted, sitting down to start his second test. "Give us an hour, Stella, okay?" She nodded and left, closing the lab's door behind her. He felt the air come on and looked up. "Vented away from the tables?"
"Yup and purified as well," she said dryly. "I'm going to head into what would normally be my office to call the brat. You okay for ten more?" He nodded. She got up and gave him a hug. "If you had known, you would've stopped him, but you didn't know. Ache for her and make it as easy on her as you can," she ordered quietly. "But you can't blame anyone but the sick bastard." He nodded. "Any primary crime scene?"
"I already did it," he admitted, looking at her. "She called me at four. I just got done."
"Next time, wake my ass up and I'll come run the kit as soon as it's done." He nodded and swallowed. "You need another hug?"
"I'll be fine." She nodded and headed into the office area, closing the door most of the way. Danny checked his first test and sent the results to the nearest printer, which was downstairs. He called Stella from the desk phone. "Grab the printed stuff for me. It's coming out down by DNA." He hung up and got back to it after a few calming breaths. Otherwise he'd be throwing things and screaming in a few minutes. She came out of the office and he heard a glass window break. "You okay?"
"My daughter is pregnant. Her boyfriend heard her out, then walked out. She got his keys last night with a nice post-it with his new address on it. Her boss just put her on injury leave for four weeks and said if she didn't get rid of the disability, she couldn't come back." She looked in her purse, finding what she needed and went to call an older friend. A former cop buddy of hers that went to law school and was now one of the scarier lawyers in the city.
Stella looked up as Mac came in waving a test result. "Who's running tests without putting names on it? That's against protocol and we can get mixed-up results."
"Danny," she said, taking it from him and adding it to her pile after a quick look.
"Where is he?"
"Upstairs." Mac looked stunned. She looked at him. "Mac, it's a sexual assault case," she said quietly. "And a friend of his. He's running it by himself to keep it quiet for her."
"Who's doing the fluid samples? He's not qualified to run DNA that way."
"Catherine. Who do you think let him into the bio-hazard lab?" He groaned and rubbed his face. "She's still got it, Mac, and she's helping. So climb off this one. She doesn't want you to know."
"An officer?" She shrugged but nodded. "Present one?" She shook her head. His face tightened. "That's fine. Who else knows?"
"Those two, me, and Don. I'm going up to give them results in a few."
"That's fine. I remember her giving you the spare set of keys and the access code. Tell him from now on I need told if he's going to do this. Not who but that he's doing it this way."
She nodded. "I will. That's reasonable enough, as long as you listen to him and his reasons." She stood up and went to check the printer, taking the others from their ME turned field tech's hands. "Danny's case."
"I'm wondering who didn't put the name on it."
"That's because it's being kept quiet."
He looked at her. "Tell him she needs those antibiotics. The smear came up positive for an STD," he said quietly. She nodded, taking that one as well. "Is Danny okay?"
"Nope." She went back to get the rest, taking it from Mac's hands. "Quit." She found one that had slid under her keyboard and headed back up, finding Don in front of the elevator. "Time's up?" He nodded. "Good." She handed him the key. "I'm the only one with the spare." He stuck it in and they headed up, letting her input the code to get into the lab. "Danny, Catherine?" They looked at her so she waved the stack of reports. "Danny, Sheldon saw them, he said to make sure she's got an antibiotic already," she said quietly, handing them to him. She pointed at one line and his face tightened up. "We can match the strains. She ran that test too." He nodded. "Do we have an ID?"
"Running through CODIS now," Catherine admitted, staring at her monitor. "Stella, I'm going to print this and the CDC strain report." She printed that. "Ah, a match," she said fondly, smirking as she printed that. "Go for it," she told Danny, smirking at him. "We've got an addy on him and he's known for it." He smirked and nodded, taking everything down there to get those last few things then heading out. He knew she could put everything back into secure storage. Stella followed him. She looked at Don as she started to clean up and shut down. "I need a hug."
He hugged her, then kissed her on the temple. "This case?"
"Excuse me?" he demanded, stepping back to look at her. "You called?" She nodded. "What the hell happened?"
"Birth control failure. An overnight stakeout and she forgot her pills she thinks. Her boyfriend heard the magical words and left. Last night she got an envelope with his keys and a post-it with his new addy so she could send his stuff to him. She talked to Al, her mentor, and he warned her that her new CO wasn't going to be happy. So she got it on tape when he told her she was going on four weeks of injury leave and that she had better come back with her disability fixed." His face tightened. "I called Frankie for her. She was meeting with the Chief about that with a copy of the tape." She gave him another look. "Don, I want my baby back up here. Especially since I don't wanna tell my dad."
He nodded. "I'll figure out how we're telling your dad without causing an explosion." He kissed her on the forehead, putting on some gloves to help her clean up and shut down things. "Aiden okay?"
"He said she's as okay as she can be and she's at his place. Timmy got a call from the nurse at the ER. Apparently he's already called and added him and Stella to the list of people he's supposed to be called about if they show up, like you are. She called him when Danny showed up to gather the stuff and it looked personal to him. I'm going to let him volunteer to escort her to any court dates and to protect her."
"Thank you. You'd have liked her, she's a lot like you. Mouthy, that bit of steel, but still fun." He gave her a weak smile. "I'll go see her during lunch with Danny. I'm sure he'll want to tell her the good news. I'll suggest she find a good lawyer to help her with the prosecuting attorney's office too." She handed over the card from earlier. "He does this stuff?"
"No, but his girlfriend does. I warned him I might be sending her his way. He said he'd warn his lady."
"Cool." He bagged the last one, letting her seal the bag and then find a box for all the evidence. "I told the Lieutenant you were up here helping on a case. She smiled and said it was good to know you still knew your shit."
"I kept up with my continuing ed stuff too," she noted dryly. "It's hard to believe this stuff was cutting edge and beyond eight years ago. At least it's not too far out of date."
"It'll do what's needed and we can link into the CDC if we need more help," he reminded her. She nodded, letting herself be hugged. "I can't believe we're going to be grandparents."
"Yeah, and just think, if your dad hadn't fucked up so badly with Gwen, he'd be dancing around right now." He snorted and gave her an extra squeeze. "Don, would you start dating my little sister?"
"Mirin? Is she ready for that?" She looked at him and nodded. "You sure?" She nodded again. "Does she like me?"
"She said I was to find a guy like you for her. She thought you were mine and I had to abuse that notion a few times before she understood, but she wants a guy who'll treat her like you do me."
"I'll call her later and ask her out then." He kissed her on the forehead again. "Come on. Let's head back down." She nodded, letting him carry the evidence box. It went to Mac's office and got put in a corner, with his nod. "You heard?"
"Stella said it was a recent officer."
"Try Aiden," he said quietly. Mac looked horrified. "She's at Danny's and we're doing what we can to minimize the exposure. They got a hit off CODIS."
"Good. I'll keep it in here. Is everything sealed?"
"Yeah, and Danny had all the reports." That got another nod so he left, going back to his desk to wait on the important call. He wanted to be there when Danny questioned this guy. Catherine came in and sat down. "You good?"
"No, I'm still pissed at her ex. Fortunately he's in Texas and she said he's transferring out of Austin. Apparently her meeting with the Chief down there went about the same and he pointed out they didn't like unmarried mothers." He let out a bitter snort. "So she's got the whole department and her former CO."
"Good. When's she coming up?"
"Tonight. She's already had someone packing her shit and she handed over her badge during it before stomping out. She said not to pick her up, that she'll be on the first flight back."
"Good! I still can't believe....." He shook his head, smirking at her. "That's gonna be one spoiled damn brat."
"You're pregnant?" another cop asked. "Good job, Flack!"
"Shut up, moron! She's like my sister! We're not like that to each other."
Catherine smirked at him. "My daughter is pregnant. She was on the force down in Austin until they tried to force her to terminate it." He shuddered. "So she's on her way up. I will expect respect for the eldest daughter. She can and will kick your ass and smile happily and hum while doing it. I taught my babies well." That got some laughs and that detective left it there with a smirk. "So yes, I'm going to be a grandmother, which is a scary damn thought."
"I figured out how ta tell your dad," Flack offered. "I'll tell mine, he'll tell yours."
"Yeah, that'll go over real well," she said dryly. "Your father hates my father."
"So? It'll give them a reason to quit fighting for a bit longer." He smirked and called his father's number. "Dad, come take me to a late lunch so we can talk. Yeah it's important and I'm asking for a favor. No, dad, if I was getting evicted, I'd go crash on Catherine's couch again." He rolled his eyes. "Dad, I'm asking Mirin out next week. Get over it already. Just show up," he said dryly, hanging up on his protests that it was the wrong one to be asking. "He's still stuck on that thought."
"Yeah, well, you knew he was stubborn when he forced you to learn how to ice skate in ten minutes."
"Good point." He pulled over a file to get back to work. The Lieutenant came out and said something quietly in his ear, getting a nod. "We'll need a clear hallway outside." He got up. "Danny's just called, he's on his way back and we should've done a background check," he said dryly. "He's from the Thirty-First." She growled and he smirked. "So, beware of IAD," he announced. "We're bringing a guy in for questioning." Half of everyone left, just in case the guys from Internal Affairs started to snoop around. Catherine just got back to work on some paperwork. "You take the next two scenes until we're done?"
"Sure," she agreed happily, smirking at him. "Have fun with that. Hit him once for me." Don smirked and headed down to meet Danny and walk the guy inside. The guy was unbruised, he was impressed. Catherine looked down the hall and shared a look with Danny, getting a mean smirk back. "I got news when you're done." He nodded and headed back there.
The Lieutenant came out to look at her. "Do you need some personal time?"
"Not yet. When she gets here, I'll go to lunch with her. I'll need it for her appointments and stuff plus when she delivers."
"Just let me know when. I'm not looking forward to that milestone anytime in the near future."
"Hell, Gwen's only nineteen," she said bitterly. "First year on the force down there." The Lieutenant shuddered. "Yeah, they didn't like the fact that he left and penalized her for forcing her to work five doubles in a week for a stakeout." She handed over the folder she had just proofread. "Here, the first of many today. I'm on for any scenes."
"I'll have them call me." She went back into her office.
"Hey, boss, I gotta call my son to warn him."
"Sure, have fun with that. Use your cell please."
She dialed her son's cellphone, getting him. "Dear," she said dryly. "No, family news. Sit. Please." He said something smart. "It's about Gwen, son. Sit. Tell him I said so. Son." He said something to someone and left the room, then said he was sitting. "Your sister is coming back up here to work and live. She's pregnant and Austin tried to force her to abort." She heard the silence. "Hey, I told you to sit. It's not like I say that often. Sure, go ahead and tell your Uncle Horatio. Tell him that the shitbag left and mailed his keys and new addy to her. No, she was warned and got it on tape, Gordon. She's on her way up and she did mange to get it on tape because Al told her he wasn't going to be happy. She went in prepared. Really?" She beamed. "Tell him he's got a room. Both of you do. That'll make his superiors happy and you can promise to be a native guide. Sure! Thanks, dear, I'll tell her you said that." She hung up and called the school.
"This is Detective Cavanaugh and I need to talk to my daughter and she's going to throw a fit." Her boss came to the doorway. "Case?" She shook her head. "Toni, honey, mom. Sit. No, not Gordon, but they're having a case crossover and I offered him and your Uncle Horatio a room. No, Gwen." She heard her daughter sigh and sit down. "She's pregnant and they tried to force her to abort. She's flying up today." Her daughter let loose with a set of swears that made her laugh. "If you get into trouble go ahead and tell them. Sure! Laters." She hung up and smirked at her boss. "Oh, they're so going to be sorry. I told Frankie and he's helping her pro bono. Austin is fucked for their dislike of unmarried mothers."
"Good! What case is coming from Miami?"
"Not a clue. But Gordon got on down there and transferred into Horatio's precinct so he could have his mentor closer. They liked that idea since he's a baby genius and went so young."
"What's his thing?"
"Languages. He gets it from his father." She shrugged. "His twin sister gets the slut tendencies from the same source." That got a smirk. "Oh, you'd be surprised and he gave her a lamborghini for her sixteenth a few months back."
"What does he do?"
"Jewel thief, suspected and never captured. Don said I have bad taste," she offered with a smirk. "Hovarts."
"I remember his picture in the paper a few years back. He was pretty."
"He was, and smart. That's why Gordon got his Masters at fifteen." That got a grin and her boss went back into her office. Don came back whistling. "It go okay?"
"Oh, yeah," he said with a smirk. "You're going to kick his ass if he didn't confess."
"Cool with me. I told Toni and she's going to be doing penance for the swearing and Horatio and Gordon are coming up on a case."
"I haven't seen him in a while," he said with a bright smirk. He called Danny's apartment. "It's me, babe. Yeah, I helped. No, we kept it as quiet as we could and Catherine Cavanaugh helped him run the samples. She used to run the lab and she trained Mac. No, it's in a box in the corner of his office." She held up the card and he nodded. "Yeah, she's even got a lawyer friend whose girlfriend handles cases like yours. She didn't tell him anything but he said he'd pass you to her if you needed one for a civil thing or to make the prosecutor stand up and take notice and protect you." He sat down, smiling a bit. "You're on an antibiotic, right?" Her smart answer wasn't as feisty as usual but it made him feel safer. "No, she just transferred in. Babe, I trust her with my life. Her dad gave her to my dad to raise when he got tainted. Yeah, yeah her," he agreed with a grin for her.
"Not an issue. Yeah, and she worked SVU for a bit. Really not an issue. No, we got 'im, IAD has him, and Danny said she'd kick his ass if he didn't confess. He looked ready to cry. Full match on forensics. You're covered there. Of course. Hey, if you need me, I'm here. Remember that. Nothing and no one gets between me and my buddies. Since you're one....." He grinned at her new smart remark. "Well, I've got lunch with my dad today but I'll be over after shift for dinner with you and Danny. Good for you?" He nodded and smirked. "Good girl. Call if you need me, even in the middle of the night. I'm told by Catherine I give good post-nightmare cuddles. Nah, she's still like my sister and her little sister Mirin likes me. Yup, same family. So you rest and relax. Watch the tube. I'll see you tonight. Don't worry about him. If he gets bail....."
"If he gets bail, I'm siccing Timmy to follow him," Catherine ordered.
"She said she'd sic her bodyguard to tail him if he made bail. No, don't worry, he won't be coming anywhere near you and if I have to stomp on the DA, I'm sending her. She scares them all." He grinned again. "Good. You nap. Yeah, you. Nap. Good girl. Love you. See you tonight." He hung up and looked at her. "You sure?"
"Yup. I'm very sure. I can do without him for a few days." She got back to work on her next case. "I don't really scare them. They just like to pretend," she told him dryly as she worked.
He laughed. "Yeah, pull the other one, Catherine. I've seen you make an ADA cry."
"She retired, she doesn't count, she was pregnant at the time. You can cry at tunafish commercials when you're pregnant."
"Yeah, suck it up, Grandpa Donny. Remember, you're as close as those kids got to a dad."
"Eww. Don't call me that!" She smirked at him. "Evil bitch," he muttered. She just cackled and gave him her 'so' look. "Meany." He got back to work, shaking his head. At least until his dad got there a few hours later.
"Donny," he said, walking in and looking at Catherine. "They moved you here?"
"They moved Mirin's ex to my old precinct. This way they can try again to make me retire."
"Wonderful. At least you've got Donny closer." He heard a wolf whistle and shook his head. "In my day that wouldn't have been tolerated."
"Dad, I remember you doing that," Don said dryly. A pretty blonde young woman walked in. "Gwen!" He jumped up to give her a hug. "Are you okay?"
"Just pissed." She looked at him then at the old man, then back at him. "Getting the news around the family?"
"Your sister is doing penance for the swearing she did," Catherine admitted, grinning at her. "Gwen. Can't I have a hug?" She got one and smiled at Don. "How far?" she whispered.
"Unlike you, I get normal morning sickness, mom."
"You're pregnant?" Don's father asked, his whole face lighting up. "Baby!" He hugged her. "I'm so happy! When's the wedding?"
"When I find the bastard and kill him," she said dryly, sniffling a bit. "He left me. And you don't like me."
He tipped her face up. "I was a stupid old man then and mad at my son for not taking my many pointed hints to marry your mother," he said quietly. "Please forgive me, Gwen?" She caved and nodded. "I'm so sorry. I wanted to tell you sooner. I was so dumb."
"I can tell." She gave him a hug. "So, Grandpa Donny...." He groaned and grabbed his chest dramatically. "Yeah, suck it up. Give it a few years to learn how to speak."
"How far along are you? Your mother didn't get morning sickness until her fifth month."
"Just into my third month," she said bitterly. "And I've already filed papers against Austin for the shit they pulled." He beamed hugged her again. "Mom, dinner?"
"Sure. I was going to take you to lunch."
"I called before I got on the plane and the Chief said he'd see me at three to talk about me getting on here."
"Good! I want you closer!" She gave her a kiss on the cheek, then a gentle swat. "Go clean up. You wanna make a better impression than I did the last time he saw me." Her daughter smirked and headed for the outside again. She had rented a car and had a bag in it. She came back and Catherine led her to the changing area so she could get cleaned up and get sick again. "Ah, the sweet sounds of motherhood. Remember, it stops about the same time you'll start getting kicked."
"Don't remind me." She came out putting her hair up. "Will I do?"
"You look professional and responsible and older than you are. You'll do." She grinned and walked her out, taking her arm to walk her. "Where do you want to be?"
"Anywhere. Well, except Texas or Miami. Uncle Horatio would fuss me to death."
"He's coming up on a crossover case with your brother."
"Cool. I guess I'll see them when they get in. How's Toni?"
"Looking like a ho, like usual, but she got a nun and the headmistress at her school fired for calling her a harlot again."
"Wonderful!" She grinned at her mother. "You're so bad."
"I know, and I enjoy every minute of it," she quipped back. "Have fun and let me know. Need Timmy?"
"No, I'm good without Timmy. I'll say hi." She smiled at the woman coming toward them. "Hi."
"You must be the older daughter," she said, shaking her hand. "Stella Bonasera, CSI level 3."
"Gwen Cavanaugh-Richards. Pregnant daughter coming back here to work."
Stella smiled. "Wonderful. Are you a CSI like your mom was?"
"No, I'm a normal cop. I have a flair for business stuff but I hate corporate crimes." She shrugged. "I'm still a rookie too." She smiled and checked her watch. "Gotta go. The Chief agreed to see me." She hurried out, heading out to head downtown. There was always bad traffic going that way.
Catherine sighed. "I'm going to be a grandmother."
"What about the father?"
"Took off and in hiding if he's a smart man." She went back to her desk, moving kinda slowly today. Her boss handed her an assignment when she got in range so she headed out to deal with it. Once there, she called in a CSI person and got to work taking statements.
Catherine flung open the door at the casual knock, hugging her son. "I left it unlocked!"
"I didn't want to surprise Gwen too much, she might cry on us." He walked in and the redheaded man behind him just smiled. "Yes, I brought home the stray," he sighed, heading for the kitchen. "Gwen!" She squealed and came out to pounce him. "Damn, the baby weighs a ton," he joked.
"Fat jokes will get you slapped," his mother called, smiling at Horatio. "Hi." She gave him a hug. "You can have our guest room." She kissed him on the cheek and led him into the living room so she could sit down again. "We're ordering dinner. I'm too tired to cook." That got a long look over her body. "A lot of standing today at the scenes. They took me from SVU and put me in Don's precinct."
"Taylor's still there."
"Ah." He nodded and smiled. "Are you okay?"
"Just tired." She grinned back. "Did you hear the good news?"
"I did." He smiled as Gwen came back, standing up to hug her. "I'm not sure if I should congratulate you or offer one of my people to help you find the father," he said quietly in her ear.
"Oh, he'll be found," she said dryly, smirking at him. "Then Mom and Uncle Don get him." He chuckled at that. "They make a good tag team beating group." She forced him to sit so she could curl up with him. "So, has our brother been good?"
"Mostly. He did break into my house at two in the morning to tell me he was working with me." Gordon chuckled at that. "He did also find my nephew when he almost ran away." He smoothed down her hair. "How are you?"
"Good enough. Morning sickness sucks but I don't get it after mid-afternoon. So apparently the kid's going to like teatime." He smiled at that. "Any luck on your end of the dating pool, Uncle Horatio?"
"No," he sighed. "There's many pretty women but most of the ones I see are suspects." She nodded, relaxing against his side. "You could come work with me. Yelina and Ray Jr. would love to see you again."
"I would but I missed snow while I was in Austin. Besides, the Chief up here put me on in SVU and you guys only wanted me in corporate crimes. I'd be miserable there." He nodded, going back to stroking her hair for her. She yawned. "Sorry, it's been a long two days."
"Nap if you need to. You made me nap a lot," Catheine promised. Her daughter nodded and fell asleep right there against her other favorite uncle. "Toni would be here but she went to monitor the carnage when my father found out," she said quietly. "Don's dad is telling him."
"That's probably better," he agreed, smiling at her. "You could come down and retire."
"I could but I'd be miserable in all that heat. I turn into the world's biggest cranky person during our summers. You guys are like that all year round." He smiled at that. "You could stay."
"I'd miss the beach." She nodded, it was an old argument. They probably would have seriously dated if not for the fact that he was in Miami and she loathed heat.
Her son came out and looked at his sister. "What'm I ordering for dinner, mom?"
"Food," she told him. "You and Horatio find something." He nodded and got the usual menus for him. "Get her something for later. Toni will be back late probably."
"Sure." He sat down on his uncle's other side.
Don came in just after the food got there, slamming the door. "Your father just promised vengeance on anyone who hurt Gwen, and that the cop down there should run for his life," he announced. "Hey, Horatio."
"Don," he said with a fond smirk. "Will he carry through?"
"With as pissed as he is now? My dad's getting him drunk tonight and Toni's curled up against his side. You know he can't resist her anything since she's the closest he'll ever to an heir." He sat down and looked at Gwen, who was still napping. "Poor girl." He looked at Catherine. "Aiden wanted to be left alone so I may be heading out suddenly." He looked at his goddaughter again. "She'll be fine right, this is normal?"
"She'll be fine," Catherine reminded him. "I was through all three of them. She's got support and she's home. She'll be fine." The men in her life all nodded, smiling at her. "Oh, your dad called this afternoon. He wanted me to have another one so you could have one heir since he knows now you're never going to marry anyone. He even suggested we do it by doctor, as he put it, so your gay boy sensibilities weren't offended."
"Is he still on that? I'm not gay! I do date," he complained, getting comfortable. Gordon handed him a basket of fries. "Thanks, son."
"Welcome, dad." He grinned at him. "You'd be impressed. Someone did Korean over the phone with me the other day."
"How many languages does that make?"
"I'm still working on Korean, but six." He grinned at him. "I got my daddy's brains somehow."
"You got your mother's brains. She's the smart one. Your father's a fucking moron."
"No swearing in front of Morgan," Gwen complained, sitting up and pushing her hair back. She smiled at her uncle. "Thank you, you're a very nice pillow."
"I always was your favorite pillow," he teased back, smiling at her. "Eat something." She groaned and held her stomach. Her mother tossed her something. "Pita bread?" Horatio asked.
"It worked for me," she agreed dryly. "Even with the twins." Her daughter nibbled, then grabbed a fajita and dug in. "Good girl. Make it big, strong, and manly, just like your brother."
"When I talk to my new OB sometime soon, should I have her test for that?"
"It's from my biological dad," Gordon assured her. "He has the same problem, but an extra 'y' chromosome."
"Oooh, okay." She nodded. "Good to know." She ate another bite and got comfortable again.
"You'll probably get that same needle in the tummy exam she got anyway," Don assured her. "Want me to ask Stella for a good recommendation? She used to date a doctor."
"No, Uncle Munch gave me the name of one he knows but he's a guy so I'm going to call his office and say I was referred but ask if there's a female doc in the office. Maybe they'll be able to help since he trusts him." She shrugged and ate another bite. "I'm starved," she complained, finishing that one and eating another one.
"That's what happens when can't eat for half the day due to the baby," Don said dryly.
"Morgan?" Gordon asked.
"Good name, strong name, nothing at all like its daddy. He hated that name." She grinned at them. "Possibly Morgana if it's a girl, but probably Morgan."
"Just don't traumatize the baby by reading it _Artemis Fowl_," Gordon teased. "Then it might turn into Toni."
"I saw what she came out of school in. The sister's a ho," she agreed dryly, eating another bite. Horatio handed her a napkin so she grinned and cleaned up her hands, getting another one. "Sorry."
"We ordered you extra," Gordon promised. "I still live by the rule of leftovers." Horatio nodded at that, cracking up everyone else. "It's not like I cook!"
"You should cook, sprout," Don said, cuffing him lightly. "It's a good skill to learn so you can get a girl of your own."
"Hey, at least I won't be making anyone a grandmother again," Gordon joked.
"Adopt, make us all happy," Gwen taunted. "You and your twin appendage both."
"Toni will make a very good society wife," Don assured her smugly. "She doesn't like to use her brains and doesn't wanna be a cop. I'll let my dad hand her to someone to marry like he wanted your mom to do to me."
"That's a scary thought," Horatio agreed dryly. He knew about their history, she had explained it to him when he had gotten jealous. "Then these three would be little Flacks."
"Yeah, and much more normal," he agreed. Gordon pinched him, making him yelp. "Cut the claws, kid!" He rubbed the sore spot, only getting a smirk for it. "Brat."
"Yes, but I enjoy it," Gordon said fondly, smirking at Horatio. "Don't you and Auntie Yelina enjoy it when I'm mean?"
He nodded. "She does. You make her suspects beg very nicely for her." He beamed at that praise. "If you were a CSI it'd be much easier."
"No thanks, I like my languages," he said quietly. "I couldn't stand chem," he offered. Horatio smiled and nodded. "They didn't seem impressed that I'm on language six."
"They were, but you came in saying you wanted to work with me. I don't do much work with the translators."
"Point. I'd hate to be the suit there anyway. They're all so stuffy."
"They are," he agreed. "Plus you don't get much beyond Spanish in Miami. We're lower on the other ethnicities. Up here you'd never be bored."
"Yeah, but I'd have to deal with grandfather."
"Good point," he agreed calmly. Gordon hugged him, making him smile. "I don't mind, but next time call before coming over. You could've really shocked someone if I had someone over."
"I watched you for a few hours, there wasn't anyone with you." The door slammed and he winced. "We're here, Toni."
She squealed and came in to hug him and Horatio, then her sister. "Hi. Grandfather's presently really drunk and still swearing he's going to call our father and have him do in the jerk. By the way, the new headmaster said it was an acceptable reason to swear so I don't have anything other than a detention." She beamed at them. "Where's mine?"
"Fridge," Gordon said, smirking at her. "We figured you'd take the time to play."
"I would've but he had me driven home. Timmy was very uneasy at that meeting. Mom, Grandfather's mind is starting to go again. He thought I was you for most of it until he started to drink. He told me a few times I was in the wrong uniform for my school." She nodded. "You knew?"
"Timmy said he's starting to have memory issues but he won't see anyone." She ate another bite of dinner. "Did he have another date?" She nodded. "That's fine then. He could even have tomorrow off if Aiden doesn't need him. I'll be good enough without him."
Catherine looked up as she walked onto her fifth crime scene of the afternoon. "Someone was a bit happy last night," she said in greeting.
"Yeah and I'm not sure you should be here," Mac said from his spot. "I'm sorry, Catherine, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave this one before you contaminate it."
"You'd better have a damn good reason," she noted. He pointed at the nearest body and she looked, then gagged. "That's Timmy's brother."
"Which is fine. Where is he?"
"Guarding someone for me. She's more important. Fine, I'll go back to the last one. I'll be with Danny." She carefully backed out and headed to her car, finding her phone in there. She called Timmy's. "It's me. No, I'm good, but I just saw your brother, Timmy. I'm sorry," she said quietly. "Yeah, no, Mac's got the case. He ordered me off and away from it in case I tainted it. I don't know. No, you come up later. No sooner. Yeah, well, I still need you to guard her. We'll figure it out. Thanks, man." She hung up and started the car, making the person next to her tap on the window. She rolled it down and looked at him. "What? I was just telling my helper about his brother."
"That's fine. I do need you here to identify something." She got out and followed him carefully back onto the scene. He led her to the back and stopped, pointing at the sheet- covered body. "I'm sorry, Catherine, but I think you know this one as well. And I think you know what's written on his body."
She frowned and carefully moved closer, checking the ground before kneeling next to the body. She slowly moved the sheet and gasped, then took a deep breath. "Fuck." She moved the sheet further back, exposing his chest. The message wasn't anything unusual for this sort of case: 'bad, dead pigs 2, me 10'. It was bragging. She moved the sheet lower, then nodded and put it back. "That looks like the Michael's case from when you were a rookie." He started to move closer and she pushed him away so she could stand up. "I'll have that file pulled and sent to Stella for you." She looked at the gun next to him. "That was placed there specifically," she noted, pointing at it. "Look at the positioning." She walked off, going back to the car. She got in to drive back to the station, going to put herself on desk duty. She called the Lieutenant. "I need the Michael's case pulled from when Taylor was a rookie," she said calmly. "No, the one he's on now I can only identify on but it's leading me back there. Lots of stuff, including the words on the body. Yeah, have Don if you can't find it. It was his first serial, he remembers it. No, but if Timmy comes in today, he's got to identify his brother and we've got a dead cop, Lieutenant. And the writing said IAD was about to bother him. It said bad, dead pigs." She nodded. "Of course. Can I have ten to sit when I get back?" She smiled. "Thanks. No, Timmy's guarding someone at the moment. Yeah." She hung up and drove a bit faster.
Don looked up as someone came up to his desk and sat down next to him, smiling at Aiden. "You good?"
"No, but Timmy had to come identify his brother," she said quietly. "Since I don't have the right to hang out in the breakroom...."
"I'm not sure Mac's back from that scene yet," he admitted. "I can call."
"Please." She looked around, noticing the empty desk. "She sits with her back to the wall?"
"Yeah, she has for quite a while." He called down to the morgue. "Is Timmy down there yet? Yeah, Catherine's helper. His brother was on Mac's last case. Please. Thanks." He hung up. "The bodies are back," he admitted. "Should I call Stella?"
"Does she know?" she asked quietly.
"She ended up picking up something with your name on it. So, at this moment, it's him, me, her, Catherine, and Mac."
"I'm sure he's not impressed."
"So? It's not your fault and he can kiss my ass if he says anything," he assured her firmly, making her smile a bit. Catherine walked in and he winced at the pain she was in. "The Michael's case got sent to Stella why?"
"Lots of similarities," she admitted. She looked at his guest and walked over, holding out a hand. "I'm Catherine."
"Aiden," she said, shaking it. "Thank you," she said quietly.
She smiled back. "It's what I do. Just ask Donny." That got a nod. "You did get the lawyer's number, right?" She nodded. "Good. Don't hesitate to call him. Remember it's an election year over there." That got a shudder. "Exactly. So if you need it, call it." She brushed a piece of hair out of the young woman's face. "My oldest isn't that much younger than you." She went back to her desk, sighing in relief when she sat down.
"Knee hurt?" Don called.
"Yeah, too much standing again." Timmy came back and she looked at him. "I'm sorry," she told him.
"Not your fault. Whose case?"
"Not mine, I got taken off it because I knew him." Her guard nodded. "I'm guessing that makes it Don's."
"The other one that it looked like was too," he agreed. "I've already taken custody and Mac taped everything for me, Timmy. Let me handle it." That got another nod. He looked at Aiden. "Since we couldn't do dinner last night, you wanna tonight so he can go tell his folks?"
"Sure. How long before you get off?"
"Probably about another three hours. I'll wait for the autopsy results."
"He said they're going to be tomorrow," Timmy said dryly. Danny came in and he nodded at him. "Danny."
"Timmy, man, I heard. I'm sorry." He clapped him on the side. "Mac would like to talk to ya about him. See if you might have a clue how those two are connected."
"Of course. I want my brother's killer to see justice one way or the other." That got a smirk. "I'll let him try his way first," he assured him. He nodded at Aiden.
"I've got her," Catherine promised. "She can come help me."
"I can go home," Aiden promised. "I'm not that bad."
Catherine looked at her. "I've got to pick out baby furniture for the upcoming grandchild or else Donny'll pick cutesy white stuff with baby animals."
"There's nothing wrong with that," Don said, smirking at her. "It's sweet and innocent, what kids should be."
"Yeah, well, we all know this kid'll be my clone so let's get over the sweet and innocent part now," she retorted. "Besides, white won't go anywhere in the house. So come help me, Aiden. You can look while I finish my daily report backlog then we'll see." She nodded, coming over to help. Catherine finished her last few scene reports and printed them off, getting up with a groan to get them and sign them, then hand them in. "Here, I'm picking baby furniture and Timmy's talking to Mac about his brother," she said quietly.
"Good. That's fine. Get something cutesy. That's what babies are for."
"The baby's going to have a baby sized baton," she smirked. She went back to her desk and sat down with a sigh of relief. Aiden gave her a sideways look. "Eight scenes."
"Ow. Hell that'd be hard on a good knee and back." She showed her one. "What color room is it going in?"
"I don't know, that depends on who loses their bedroom in the house. Unless the baby gets the guest room." She looked at that set, then grimaced. "That's really cutesy."
"Yeah, but that's what babies are for," she agreed, smirking at her, moving on. She felt someone come in and stare at her, looking back. "Horatio," she said with a smile. "Why are you up here?"
"A case crossing over, yet again," he said calmly, smiling at her. "Why are you here?"
"Catherine sicced her guard on me to watch over me and his brother ended up dead earlier."
"I'm sorry to hear that, I like Timmy." He came in and looked at the catalog, shaking his head and finding what she'd want, pointing at it. "That one and take the guest room." He smirked at her. "No one else uses it but me." And technically he wasn't using it at the moment, he was staying with her. He smiled at Aiden again. "What're you doing now?"
"Lab tech," she admitted. "I work in a research lab." She gave him a weak smile. "I'm about to have to go back soon."
"That happens," he admitted, stroking over her cheek. "It hasn't been the same this trip since you weren't down there mouthing off at Danny. It's been almost quiet." Someone coughed and he looked back at the new girl. "Did you have something on my case, Lindsey?"
"No, one for Catherine," she admitted, handing over the paperwork. "From the one where you had Stella and I instead of just her." Catherine moaned and paged back through the reports. "The Bronze one."
"Thank you," she offered with a smile. "That was scene number six for the day." She went to it and compared it to her notes, pointing at something. "Lindsey, what's that?"
"We found some debris under the eyelid. That's what it is but we're still considering a source for it," she admitted. "We're going back out before we head home or early tomorrow if Stella can't get free of the test she's running now. We'll let you know what we find."
"Thank you. Creosote usually comes off railroad tracks or ties."
"I know, but we'll look."
"Just thinking out loud, dear. Call me when you've got it." She nodded and left them alone. She waited until she was gone and grimaced a bit. "She's not really easy in the job," she said quietly.
"I thought she had a crush on Flack earlier," he admitted quietly.
Aiden smirked at him. "He's pretty but not that pretty. He's big brother material."
"In some cases, little brother material," Catherine joked. One of the desk guys came in with flowers and came toward her. "Are they poisoned?"
"No, Detective." He put them down and found the card so she wouldn't have to stand up. "Here you go." He smiled. "It's been a long day. Should we unblock your car since you parked in the bad spot?"
"I've got the sticker, junior."
"True, but two of the squads are blocking you at the moment."
She nodded. "It'll be at least a few more, I'll call to make sure I'm unblocked first." He nodded and left. She looked at the card and spluttered. "Mother fucker," she muttered, hitting the button on her phone. "Taylor, here, now," she ordered. Then she hung up and showed Horatio the card. "Did your case have dead bodies too?"
"It did," he admitted, going to get the file. Don and Mac both came running back. He took the case file from Don's hand to look it over, comparing it with his. "It's the same."
"That's an earlier one," Don admitted, looking at it. He looked at the card, then groaned. "When did that get here?"
"The nice desk sergeant, the young one, came and dropped it off just now," Aiden told him. "Offered to have her car unblocked too."
Don snorted. "Yeah, they like to block the handi spot outside. Claim it's closer." He reread the card and nodded. "So we've got some good crossover. Mac, what about the current one?"
"So far we're still processing the bodies. I had a spare body off toward the alley that I can't be sure was part of this. It was further away," he admitted, leaning against the front of the desk. She stabbed him in the ass with her letter opener. "Hey!" He glared at her.
"Don't stick your ass in people's faces. That's rude if you're not sleeping with them. And take the flowers to dust in case he delivered 'em."
"I'll check the security tapes," Don agreed, heading to do that. Mac took the flowers with him, giving her an odd look before he left.
She growled, a low, deep noise. Aiden gave her an odd look. "I'm calm."
Horatio smiled. "I'll give you a backrub later."
"My leg could use it more," she offered with a smile for him.
"I can do that too."
She looked at the picture of the furniture and pointed at it for Aiden's benefit. "That you think?"
"It's pretty but it's kinda dark. Will it go in the spare room?"
"It'll go anywhere but the younger daughter's room," she admitted dryly. "That would have to be neon pink." That got a giggle and she nodded. "Exactly. Which would suck, really." Timmy came back and whispered in her ear. "I know, babe. Just calm it down." He nodded and stood back up. "If you think he knows, you can ask for information. You might have to cite your source though."
"I'll talk to his people tonight once I've got Aiden home." He looked at her. "Ready?"
"I can get myself home, Timmy. You've got to be there for your family."
"I'll be the one notifying his father," Catherine admitted. "Just to keep him out of the line of fire." Aiden nodded at that. "Go ahead, you can hog him for a few more days." That got another nod and she smiled as he led her out. She looked at Horatio. "I'm going to do that so I'll see you at home?"
"Do you need backup?"
"No. Not at the moment." She smirked at him. "I can't get in where he is so I'm going to call once I'm on my way and he'll come out to talk to me. Do you have Gordon's keys?" He nodded, patting his pocket. "Good. See you later." She stood up with a moan and called the desk. "Okay, I'm wobbling out." That got a laugh so she cleaned up and grabbed stuff, heading out to her car. It was fully unblocked by the time she got there. She slid in and relaxed again once the door was closed. She found the other cellphone in her glovebox and pulled it out, finding the number and hitting 'send' before she turned over the engine and backed out. "Hey, it's Catherine. I need to see Timmy's dad outside. No, man, bad fucking news. Really bad news. Not Timmy." She hung up and drove that way, finding him waiting when she paused. He came over and got in, closing the door while she drove around the block. "Terry, I'm sorry. There was a scene today with a body."
"I heard a rumor he might be," he said stiffly. "Yours?"
"No, Taylor refused to let me work it since I knew the body." She parked and looked at him. "It wasn't just him. You remember the Michael's case so long ago I was young?"
He snorted. "You're still young, but yeah."
"It looked just like it," she said quietly. "Don Flack has it as the lead detective and Taylor's the CSI on it. Timmy already identified him." She covered his hand with hers. "I'm sorry, Terry."
"He lived in a hard world," he said quietly. "I'll call Don tonight to tell him about my other son." He looked at her. "You look rough."
"Eight scenes today," she admitted. "Plus that one. Five this afternoon including that one." He winced. "Yeah, even before I ached, I'd be aching." She shrugged. "I have your other son guarding an assault victim since her attacker was a cop and I helped on the case."
"That's fine. Should we assign another of the sons that went straight?" he joked.
She hit him on the arm. "I'm fine."
"I hear Messer's there." She nodded. "He any good?"
"He's got it in him to be one of the best, but now Taylor knows about him too." He groaned and rubbed his forehead. "So yeah. I'm watching over the kid when I can. He needs some encouragement to stand up to the idiot." That got a small smirk. "He's a good criminalist, a good cop, but a lousy human at times."
"You know he lost his wife That Day, right?" She nodded. "I figured you did."
"Doesn't excuse his behavior while she was alive and it mirrors it. This isn't grief on his part. This is him being the morality monitor for the world." She patted him on the hand again. "You'll let me know if you need me?"
"I will. Your dad would like a visit."
"My father couldn't tell me and Toni apart last night. I need one of you guys to force him to the doc's and make him go."
"Sure. I'll get on that tonight," he promised, smiling at her. "Go ahead and drop me off so I can call a toast to my boy." She nodded and finished driving around the block, dropping him off in front. He watched her head off, smiling sadly. She had escaped and helped so many of their sons. He heard the gunshot and let go of the door, heading after her car. It was still near the corner. She got out, gun already drawn. "Get back in there!"
"Bite me," she called, looking around. "Besides, he got the engine. It blew the radiator." She scanned again, then walked him back to the sidewalk and heading back toward the bar. Halfway there, another shot came at them so she ducked them between buildings, watching more carefully. She saw the guy and smirked, aiming at him. "NYPD, freeze!" she yelled. He took off running. "Of course you'd have to do that." She took off more slowly, it's not like she could run with her knee brace on. But she did call it in. "Officer in pursuit of suspect who shot her car and at her. Mallory and tenth." She kept on, finding where he had been. Another patrol unit pulled up and she nodded. "Blue hoodie, dark hair, round face. Had a rifle. Headed that way," she panted. They nodded and took off. She holstered her gun and leaned against the front of the nearest building, looking around to watch for him. She thought she saw him but that was a suit instead of a hoodie. The patrol car came back and she got in. "Can you guys get me towed back to the station so they can pull the bullet out and I can have someone do the radiator?"
"Sure," they agreed. "Which precinct, Detective?"
"Gotcha." The one not driving looked back at her. "Oh, shit, Cavanaugh," he said, blinking hard. "What happened?"
"I was down telling Timmy's father that his other son died," she admitted. "Since I can't go in, we went around the block a few times. I dropped him off, headed off, and the radiator got shot. And I'm not as fast as I should be with my knee and back."
"You've got to be in pain." They pulled up beside her car and he got her cane and briefcase, plus the phones he found, bringing them back to her. Another unit came to handle the car until the CSI guys could show up, and they drug her back to the station. "There you go, detective."
"Thanks, guys. It's good to know some of you guys still like me."
"You're good for some of us," the one driving offered with a grin. "Go rest, detective."
"Oh, I have a bath with my name on it and jets for my knee." She got out and headed inside, putting both phones into her bag. She waved and they took off. She headed back inside and right to her desk. Don jumped up. "You didn't get called?"
"I heard you were involved," he admitted. "What happened?"
"Some asshole with a rifle hit my radiator after I got done telling Terry about his son."
"Damn," he said, shaking his head. "You okay?"
"More sore now. Anyone still here?"
"No. Horatio already left. I can drop you off."
She swatted him. "You've got dinner with Aiden. If you come out, you're not going home. I can pay for a cab. Go." He nodded and she went to call a cab and take off her knee brace, sitting down for a few minutes. One of the patrol guys handed her a piece of peppermint candy. "Thanks, man."
"Welcome, detective. I can't believe you tried to chase him."
"Better than nothing and it is the training," she said dryly, smirking at him. "I'm a stubborn bitch. That's why I did so well in SVU." That got a smile and a nod. "Okay, let's go." He helped her up and handed her the briefcase, then out to the cab. "Thank you, officer."
"Welcome, Detective. If anyone asks, I'll have them call you at home."
"Sure. Thank you." She slid into the back, putting the cane and briefcase beside her. "Hey, I'm going far out today. But I need to stop at the drivethru ATM at 25th."
"Sure thing." He took off. "How far out?"
"Barton." He winced. "I know, but my car just got shot by a suspect," she said dryly. "No other way home tonight. Hence the ATM visit." He nodded and sped up. She called the house. "Before you hear anything, I'm fine. Just sore. No, the radiator. So it's there and I'm coming home. No, I'm on my way. Don't stress. Sure, make dinner, spoil me," she teased. "Thanks, dear." She hung up and relaxed. She liked how Horatio spoiled her. Now if only he'd move to New York she'd be one happy camper with life.
Catherine limped in the next morning, finding Danny sitting on the front of her desk. "If you tell me you've been up all night, I'm spanking you."
"No, not quite." He grinned and her and held up the folder. "Ballistics and I dropped your car off at the garage Don said you use."
"Thanks." She kissed him on the cheek and sat down, looking at the picture someone had done a composite of. "His face was a bit rounder and he looked more Hispanic," she noted, handing it back. "Otherwise it looks like how I remember it. Just a bit fuller cheeks, like baby cheeks." He made a note of that. "Anything yet?"
"Not yet." He turned to look at her. "You okay?"
"Sore." He nodded, smirking at that. "I know, it was dumb to try to follow him. But you never know where the patrol guys are. They could all be at a scene." She shrugged. "I'm a stubborn bitch." Her lieutenant came in and backtracked to look at her. "What?"
"It's barely eight," she noted dryly. "You're early."
"I had to take the train in. My car got shot out from under me last night." Danny handed over the report.
"Why were you there?"
"Telling Timmy's father about his brother," she said more quietly. That got a nod and the folder was handed back. The Lieutenant went into her office. "Who got it?"
"Peterson," he said dryly. "He's a good guy most of the time from what I hear." He grinned at her. "You behave today. No running or anything. Don let out this low moan when he heard you tried ta chase the guy." He smirked and walked off.
"Nark," she called.
"Yeah, yeah," he shot back, smirking harder.
"Excuse me, you did *what*?" the Lieutenant called from her office.
"I chased. I was there alone, dear. I called it in first but I lost him. I'm not twenty anymore. That's what I rely on Timmy for. To fetch." Don walked in and stared at her. "What?"
"I'm surprised you made it in today."
"It's just pain, Don. I came in while I had labor pains with the twins. That's why they were delivered by the ME at a scene. I can work through the pain in my knee. I just won't be walking as much as I did yesterday. Hopefully." She grimaced and got down to work, finding the note to call Peterson, and she did that first. "It's Cavanaugh, you wanted me?" she asked dryly. "No, I was notifying someone that their son had died at that bar. Yeah, there. Because Timmy's brother died and his father hangs out there," she admitted. "I can't go inside so we were circling the block while we talked. Yeah, he came to try ta help but he's older than I am and nearly as sore." She smiled. "I'm fine. Messer had a ballistics report and a composite if you needed them. Thanks. Let me know." She hung up and looked at the man lurking in front of her desk. "Yes, Detective Flack? May I help you?" she asked smartly.
"Yeah, take off the knee brace and stay in today. Someone shot at you." She tapped something and he heard the sweet sound of body armor. "Do I care?" he asked dryly. "You're staying in today, Kate," he said quietly.
She looked at him. "I may be a bit more disabled, Don, but I'm not that handicapped. I'll be fine to work scenes."
"It doesn't cover heads."
"And if I hid every time someone threatened me, I'd never have made it through ninth grade with the bullies." He groaned. "So therefore I'm going to do my job and I'm going to let one of the rookies I hear we've got be my helper today."
"Good." He looked her over. "Is that the new slimline vest?" She smiled and nodded. "I heard they're crap."
"They are not!" She glared at him, shaking her head. "Relax, little brother."
"If you were really my sister, you'd be locked in a damn closet by now," he reminded her. "Dad and I'd have already locked you in there and taken the keys. If you get hurt here, I'm gonna let him fuss." He went back to his desk, sitting down and getting back to work. Her phone rang first and he stood back up. "I've got it."
"I doubt it since that was Bonasera about a case yesterday," she noted dryly. She got up and grabbed her cane, heading to the CSI unit to talk to her. She sat down with a sigh in the lab, looking at her. "What'cha got for me?" she asked sweetly.
"Seats are only for lab personnel," one tech noted.
She glared at the tech. "I used to run the lab and now I'm one of the lead detectives, brat. I'd shut it before I kick your ass." She looked at Stella again. "What's up? You called?"
"I did. Are you okay?"
"I tried to chase down the guy who shot at my car. It was a long day yesterday. Now, what's my goodie quotient for the day?"
"Well, I have a suspect," she offered. "So you can threaten someone," she offered with a grin. "And I've got bad news because they might know Danny."
"Danny's under my protection," she pointed out. "No questions asked." That got a nod so the paper was handed over. She whistled. "Oooh, that's pretty." She smirked at her and got one back. "Okay, you have someone fetch and bring, I'll tell Messer, and you tell me when they get here. What sort of evidence do we have?" The folder was handed over. The tech left. She glared at the doorway he had used. "Snot-nosed brat." She got back to work.
"I'd never tolerate that in here. Neither will Mac," she assured her. She closed the door. "What's between you two?"
"You know who I am, right?" she asked as she continued reading. Stella made an assenting noise. "He was told to keep me on the straight and narrow. So I'm the one he perfected the watching he's doing on Danny on. You only got to see the end of it, he started the day he started working here." She changed reports and held up something. "They can challenge this. How did he get creosote on him?"
"He works next to a set of tracks. They take their breaks on the fence. We can test his usual jacket for it," she admitted. "I talked to his boss and he said anyone who goes out there comes in covered in it."
"Okay, good." She smiled. "It's fine. I was forced to work with him but I don't tolerate him and I don't like him. If I have to, I can cover him in the field. Then I'll swear at myself later." She got back to looking. "Looks good to me." She handed it back. "Have someone fetch him for me, dear." She smirked. "You wanna tag with me or are you the calm and reasonable sort?"
"I'm more calm and reasonable but I do a mean impersonation of 'good cop'."
"Cool. I love being the bad one," she promised with a smirk. "Got a second copy of that?"
"I've got the information in the file. Danny's back in Trace."
"Cool beans as the daughter says." She headed that way with only a small moan for standing up. She walked into Trace and looked at the others. "Can I have Danny for a minute?" They all looked at her. "Yes, as in....." They left and shut the doors behind them. She held up the information sheet. "He's coming in. He's a suspect."
He groaned and took it to look at. "You knew?"
"Of course I knew. Someone told me so I'd mentor you." She smiled at him. "Like I give a damn." She shrugged. "You were young and dumb. I mentored a Crypt a few years back. This is just fair warning so you can hide."
"Thanks." He smiled at her. "He's watching us."
"He does that a lot. Learn to ignore him. He's an asshole." She patted him on the cheek. "We're doing lunch this weekend sometime. You can bring Aiden if you want but warn her about Gordon so she doesn't stare."
"Sure." He watched her walk out then got back to work. Mac came in and closed the door. "She was warning me someone I went to school with was coming in."
"That was nice of her. Is she mentoring you?"
"Ya know, it's nice to be counted on what I can do now, Mac, not what I used ta do and be. That's what's nice about her." He didn't even look up. "So yeah, I'm getting all the mentoring and supervision I need from someone who still trusts and likes me."
"I trust you."
"If you trusted me you wouldn't watch me that way," he shot back, looking at him now. "We both know that, Mac. It says something that even Montana's noticed." Mac flinched at that. "So get off your high horse. I'm sure you weren't perfect when you were younger. I just made a bad decision." He got back to work. "When he's brought I'm I'm staying in here. That way no one can say a damn thing and I'm still under surveillance."
"You're not, Danny," he said quietly.
"Bullshit. Feels like it ta me. Now, I've got work to do so I can catch another idiot."
"Fine. I'm sorry." He walked out.
"Yeah, and that came way too easily," he snorted quietly. "You never admit you're wrong like that, Mac." The others came back. "Sorry, former school buddy is being brought in." That got some nods.
One of the techs coughed. "Who was that woman?"
"Detective Cavanaugh. She's splitting with Flack. Why?"
"Terrance is throwing a fit because she sat in his lab when she came in."
Danny looked at her. "She had this lab built and designed. She mentored Mac when he got here," he said dryly. "That's not his lab, it's hers. She was a fluids person." That got some smiles. "You can tell him I said that and to get off his ass and move on already." She giggled and he smirked, getting back to work. "By the way, she's not supposed to stand that long. It makes her ache."
"Sure, Danny. What happened?"
"Perp kicked her knee the wrong direction one too many times so now it's more flexible than it should be. Too many backaches too." She nodded and let it drop there.
Catherine looked up as Horatio put coffee in front of her. "You're a saint." She took a sip and smiled. "Even with sugar. I'm blessed." She took another long drink. "Thanks for fixing me lunch."
"You could eat."
"I can't eat. I've got six open scenes and the guy who tried to kill me."
"Are you sure you weren't a diversion to draw Timmy's father out?" he asked quietly.
"No, he could've gotten him when he got out of the car. Or when he was standing there and I pulled away." She looked at him. "That was about me somehow. Any luck on your case?"
"Not much. He had a past history but nothing that pointed at him being dirty. It was more like his family was."
"So then most of mentorees and I are in danger?" she suggested dryly. He nodded. "I'm fine, Horatio. Watch over Danny for that."
"Flack's got him. I have you." She smiled at that and he smirked back. "I wish you'd retire sooner."
"Yeah, well, I'd be bored," she said dryly. "Maybe if Gwen can't handle it and I end up raising the baby," she admitted quietly. "But I still doubt it." He nodded, leaving it there and moving off. "Let me know if you need my mentoree list."
"I could use it," he admitted. She pulled out a diskette and tossed it to him. "Thank you. Gordon's taking statements with Don." He got back to work, watching her work. Her phone rang and he tensed. "Want company?"
"No, I'm fine," she promised as she stood up and put on her jacket. "I promise I'm good and wearing armor." She grabbed her cane and headed out with her phone on her hip. "Have fun with that." He nodded, watching her go. He rookie helper came running at the sight of her. "Dead jumper it looks like, Financial Row." He nodded and they headed out together. "You wanna make detective, kid?"
"I wouldn't mind, detective. I'm taking this as a learning opportunity to watch you work."
"I noticed, that's why I asked." She looked at him. "As you learn, you'll start to realize when something is and isn't fitting right. Trust that instinct most of the time. It's the best advice I can give you. That and don't take shit from anyone." She climbed into the passenger's side and he got in to drive. "Let's go." He nodded and pulled out, heading for their next call. "You can go faster. We're on our way to a crime scene and you can even use the lights." He smiled at that and turned them on. "I'll drive on the way back," she promised. He nodded, leaving it there. She snickered. "Who told you not to piss me off?"
"Detective Flack when he assigned me, Detective. He said you'd chew me up and then spit me into the gutter if I upset you too badly."
She snorted. "Kid, I've got a pretty thick skin. You got an idea, you tell me. That's how you learn on this job." He nodded, speeding up more. "Good boy!"
"I noticed your daughter's car."
"Her daddy gave it to her."
"Ah. I guess that's cool. Anyone blame you?"
"A few and one got my cane up his ass. It stopped that question fairly quickly when his file and police profile were handed over. He's a jewel thief. He can afford the expensive habits I can't and won't." He snickered at that, nodding. "Seriously." She got comfortable. "Turn, kid." He took the corner a bit sharply but that was fine. She drove that way anyway.
Catherine fell back behind her desk, plugging her phone in to recharge. Her lieutenant came out to give her a pitying look. "What happened?"
"You look like hell."
"Fire escape." That got a wince. "So yeah, I feel like hell. There's another hot bath with my name on it tonight." That got a nod. "Anything new come out?"
"Messer arrested someone for the scene you worked with him. He's left the reports on your desk so you could integrate it. Bonasera and Montana left you two or three files. Flack left you a note." She found that one first and she smirked at her minion. "You've got it bad, kid."
"I've known Donny since I was ten and he was eight. He's not for me, he's my little brother," she assured her. "If he's leaving a note it's usually about one of the kids." She handed it over. "He's as close as they got to a father."
"I heard that." She handed it back. "You need to take off? Technically the Chief said you're on part time."
"I am, I'm not pulling overtime." That got an amused sounding snort from Horatio as he came in. "I'm not."
"Yes, and I'm here to make sure you make it home tonight. Let's go."
"Yes, dear." She gathered stuff and her laptop, then unplugged her phone and packed it all away. Then she followed him out the door. "How's your case?"
"Still stuck," he admitted quietly. "I called my kids down in Miami and they're handling it all right so far. No paper airplanes."
She chuckled and shook her head. "I didn't think a few of them would do that stuff. I remember Speedle...."
"He was shot last year," he said quietly. She gave him a hug. "Faulty gun maintenance." She nodded and gave him a pat. "Thanks."
"Welcome." She looked at him. "It sucks when you lose someone on your team, Horatio." She noticed a few speculative looks. "He just told me one of the guys I worked with before died last year. Get over the smutty thoughts, people. I don't have a sex life. I've already had my kids. Speculate on Don dating my sister." Horatio laughed at that so she smirked at him. "He'd be good with Mirin." They continued walking out. "Sorry," she said once they were in the car.
"I know how those things are. We have the same problem down there." He gave her hand a squeeze before they pulled out. "If you were closer we could trade backrubs."
"If we were closer, Don would gag at the sweetness," she teased. He nodded, smirking at that as they pulled into traffic. "Are we at the hand holding stage?"
"I am. I can't say for you."
"I like me some hand holding," she admitted. "I'm definitely cuddlesome."
"I noticed I didn't seem to have any of the bed this morning," he agreed dryly.
"Hey, next time cuddle back and you can have part of the bed." He burst out laughing at that, giving her hand another squeeze. "Ooh, home. I need a bath."
"Sure." He had changed lanes and gotten stuck in that lane of traffic when her phone went off.
"What?" she answered. "Yes, that is how I answer my phone most of the time. I expect them to know who they're calling. What's up, Lieutenant?" She growled. "Who in the hell tried him! Horatio, St. Vincent's. Someone tried Danny and Donny." He nodded and flipped on the light, heading that way. "Thanks, boss. Let me know. Is it mine?" She nodded. "Good deal." She put the phone away. "Someone's going to wish they had been born braindead."
"I hope it's not about that case," he said quietly.
"They'd only take Danny if it were," she pointed out. "Don's family are all cops to the nth generation."
"I remember, but still."
"No, the other guy got taken outside his house. It doesn't match." They pulled in a while later and she got out, leaving her notes locked in the car. She waved her badge on the way in. "Flack and Messer? I'm the detective in charge."
"I think the guy in there will beg to differ."
"He can jump," she said. "I'm senior." That got a nod and they were led back there. She nodded at Stella. "Lieutenant said it's my case."
"It's in my precinct," another voice said, coming in with a cup of coffee. He took one look at her and swallowed. "I'll give you what I have in the morning, Detective Cavanaugh. They were drive-byed and that's all it looks like so far."
"If you say so. Who knew who they were?"
"The paramedic saw the gun and called it in, so we found out he was a cop here. His badge was in his pocket. The other one is...."
"CSI Messer. He works with us," Stella told him, going back to looking at Don. "Catherine?"
"I'll go check on Danny." She looked at him. "Lead on, detective." He nodded, leading her that way. "Serious injuries?"
"Shoulder and it passed through Detective Flack to hit CSI Messer we think." He tapped on that door and walked in. "It got assigned to a more experienced detective."
"Who is this man?" the doctor asked.
"CSI Danny Messer," she said, walking in. "Who're you?"
She nodded. "I'm Detective Cavanaugh. Expect more of us. What's his condition?"
"Are you next of kin?"
"You're gonna be next. He's my mentoree and I'm lead detective," she assured him. "Now, give or I'm having you reassigned." He looked furious and she stared him down. He backed down a minute later. "Condition?"
"The bullet lodged in his neck. We'll have to take it out."
"Good. I'm sure you can remove it without screwing the rifling up. I'm going to have an officer outside the operating room and then in his room. I want to know first. He's got no next of kin." That got a nod and the doctor wrote that down, taking him off. She went back to Don's room. "Where did his pass through, Stella?"
"Lindsey called. She said one bullet went through the seat and Danny's was back further, but that there was a bullet lodged in the door, and that's the one that went through Don's shoulders." She nodded at that. So Stella looked at her. "You wanna call someone?"
"Yeah, in a few. He wake up yet?" She shook her head. "Okay. Horatio, get me some uniforms to watch Danny and Don. I'll call Aiden and his dad." He nodded, going to do that. She looked at Stella. "Step up, girl."
"He's not for me," she offered with a smile. "Just a buddy." Catherine gave her a knowing look. "Crush but nothing else."
"You and the other one," she noted dryly. She went to call Don's father then Aiden at Danny's. "Hey, dad, me. No, Don got hit in a driveby. Shoulders. No, he was with Messer and he got more serious. Don's went through his shoulders." She stiffened. "Are you sure?" She nodded. "Thanks. They'll have help and we'll head there. Get Aiden from Danny's apartment and have her taken. Yeah, she'll understand." She hung up and called Aiden. "It's me, princess. No, but we're evacing my usual house for my hidey hole. Someone just shot Donny and Danny and his dad thinks it's case related. So you want a vacation?" She smirked. "No, Flack Senior's coming for ya. Just be calm if it's not one'a my kids or him. Toni's a redhead at the moment. She just redyed her hair. Gwen's a blonde. Gordon's a dark blonde. Yeah, that's the son. Timmy's still with you, right?" She smirked. "Good. He'll know who to trust. Oh, they're coming. Laters." She hung up and looked over as officers came in. "CSI Messer and Detective Flack were shot in a driveby. Messer's headed for the OR. Someone sit on that. Another of you sit on Flack's room down here until they move him." That got a nod and they broke up.
Horatio looked at her. "I called the Lieutenant, she agreed that you're not coming in tomorrow in case this is related." She nodded, smiling at him. "They'll be fine."
"I know they will. It had to of passed just over his lungs."
"That was a very high powered gun," he pointed out. "It's too cold to have the windows down and it went all the way through both arms and his chest and into the door?" She sighed and nodded. "Let me work that part. I know that stuff."
"Good, head to the OR to grab the bullet." He nodded, heading that way. She went back to Don's room, finding him moaning. "Moron," she said fondly.
"You mind?" he moaned. "I just got shot." He blinked at her. "Danny?"
"OR. His hit him in the neck. Stella, come take a statement," she ordered calmly.
"Sure." She turned on the tape recorder and checked the volume. "Don, did you see who shot you?" she asked calmly.
"I need more nurses like you two," he said with a grin.
"Since we're heading to the spare house, yeah, you're getting one," she promised him. "Now, who shot you, Donny?"
"Two guys in a caddy," he said, trying to move. She helped and he sighed. "Thanks. Blue caddy, medium, looked like a crappy repaint job, like a home-done one. Driver was taller than the backrest in the down position. Really dark skin, knitted snow cap. Hands had gloves." He winced again and she got him a bit of water to sip. "You're a saint."
"Hey, you're my little brother," she said quietly. "What about the gun, did you see it?"
He shook his head. "No, not at all. Back window. So at least three in the car since I think I saw a passenger up front." He looked at her. "We're evacuating? We haven't done that in ten years."
"Your dad thinks it's case related and you'll need to be watched anyway. That house is bigger, Donny. Anything else about the car? Did you see the plates when it drove up?"
He shook his head. "I don't think so. Not New York plates. Maybe Vermont plates? It was white with green numbers but something was off. Maybe not enough numbers? Or too many? I remember it pinged just before I saw the barrel." He shivered and she stroked his cheek. "All I saw clearly was the driver in profile."
"That's fine," Catherine agreed gently. "Anything else about the car? Was it a convertible or a hardtop? What model?"
"Older guy car. Older town car," he said, blinking at Stella. "You look really pretty in the lights. It kinda haloes your hair."
She smiled. "I won't tell anyone you said that." She stroked over his hair. "Anything else you remember, Flackie?" He shook his head. "Okay, then you rest. She had to go bitch on Danny's doc to find out anything. Horatio's getting the bullet?" Catherine nodded. "We'll see what we've got from the evidence, big guy. You just rest and be spoiled." He smiled. "Should I check on Aiden?"
"Don's father said he's moving her for me," Catherine admitted. "Timmy's with her." That got a nod and Don drifted off again. Stella turned off the tape recorder. "Is it just her on the car?" Stella nodded. "You trust her?"
"She can do the job."
"Good. Someone just earned my everlasting foot up their ass. You watch over her shoulder, Stella."
"Mac likes him too," she said gently.
"Yeah, but I trust you. Since you're here, that makes you primary." That got a nod and Stella went to check with Horatio while Catherine stayed with Don for now. The nurse came in. "How long before we can move him for his own safety if I've got a doc on call?"
"If you can guarantee him medical attention, probably middle of the night. The other one, depending on damage, probably tomorrow morning. Do you need a stool?" Catherine nodded so she got her one. "Here you go, Detective. I'll let both doctors know you're planning on moving them for their own security." She checked Don over. "Did he wake up?"
"He woke up, told us about the incident, I gave him a few sips of water."
"That's fine." She left, making notes on the chart. She found a few more people out there. "Are you here for Detective Flack or CSI Messer?" she asked.
"They're my people," Mac told her.
"Detective Flack is in Exam four," she said, pointing. "With a very attentive sister. CSI Messer is in surgery and the redheaded CSI and the other one who was checking on Detective Flack first headed after him to get the bullet."
"Thank you." He walked in there, not surprised to find who he did. "You tell his dad?"
"Yeah, and he's moving Aiden to safety in case. Danny got it in the neck, they're working on him. Horatio and Stella are up there waiting. I've got guards on both of them and we're moving them as soon as possible to safety."
"That's fine. Let me know where?" She shook her head. "Then you're going to your hidden spot?" She nodded. "On the estate?"
"I don't step foot on the estate, you know that, Taylor."
"Trying to nap here," Don complained. "I can stay."
"You, quit," she ordered, staring down into his very blue eyes. "Don't argue with me either. I've got decent medical folk around the backup house." He nodded, letting it go at that. "As soon as we can, you're going there. I'll call for private transport." He nodded again and smiled. "You rest. Did you remember anything else?"
"No, not yet. Just quit snapping at him, Kate. Please? For me?"
"We'll see." He sighed and nodded. "It's a good thing Danny's went through your seat first, Donny. He'll be fine."
"Good. I wanna know when he gets out."
"Of course. Horatio's up there." He gave her a smirk. "I know, but I couldn't stand the heat down there, or did you forget how cranky I get in the summer?" He shook his head. "You rest, Donny." He nodded and closed his eyes again. She looked at Mac. "Anything new on the car?"
"Not yet. What sort of car did the driveby?"
"Medium blue old Caddy Town Car," she told him. "Or their version since that's a Lincoln." He nodded, taking it down. "He said it had a crappy paint job. Said it had Vermont plates but he had a twinge of insight on seeing it." That got another nod and Mac went to put a call out for the car. She went back to taking care of the one she could. She heard a commotion and looked up as Don's actual sister came in. "Hey, Steph."
"Is he all right?"
"Right overtop of his lungs and in front of his spine," she offered. "I'm moving him to safety with the other guy they got." She smiled at that. "You know Mirin likes him, right?"
She snorted. "Mirin needs a decent guy like Don," she admitted, stroking back his hair. "Through and through?" She nodded. "Good. Dad's already moved Danny's friend Aiden and Timmy took her on his orders. He's also called all three of your kids and they've went with the emergency supplies. Since when is Gwen preggers?"
"Since about three months ago," she said bitterly. "Her guy left her."
"Shitbag," Don muttered. He looked at his sister. "Dad sent you?" She nodded. "He tell Ma yet?" She smirked and shook her head. "Fuck." He pointed at the phone. "Let me." Catherine got it and hit the button for an outside line, dialing it for him. "Thanks, Kate." He listened to the happy voice. "Ma, sit down. I'm fine. Just calm down. It's case related so I'm going into hiding with Catherine at my back. No, Ma. Shot. Shoulder." He winced as he tried to move and both women helped him. "No, I'm going tonight. Hey, yell at Dad. He knows. No, I'm fine, Ma. I promise."
"He's fine, mom," Catherine called.
"See? And she'd know. I'm good." He smiled. "Sure, when I get back and sis is here. Love you too. Call as soon as I can." He handed the phone back and she hung it up. "I hate it when he makes me tell her when I've been injured."
"Dad's a smart guy," Catherine noted dryly. "He's ducking that old frying pan of hers." Don smirked and nodded slowly. "You should rest while you can, Donny."
"I will soon. Right now I've got two pretty nurses."
His sister kissed him on the forehead. "They gave you the good drugs I see." He smirked and nodded. "Good. You'll need 'em when Mom finds out you lied to her." She backed up when someone came in. "Are you in charge of his care?"
"I am." He looked at Catherine. "May I?" She got up and moved and he noticed the cane. "Sorry. Need the stool?"
"I can stand for a few more." He nodded and checked the bandages. "Can he be moved when I move Messer for their safety?"
"It didn't hit anything vital and he's very lucky at that." Don nodded at that. "Will he have competent medical care?" She whispered a name in his ear. "Then you can take them both tonight. I know him." She nodded. "Should I arrange for transport?"
"No. I've got that. I've got to hit the car to do that." She looked at Don's sister, who nodded. "Is Messer out yet?"
"Just now. It went fairly well. It didn't hit the nerves or the bundle of veins. He'll have some problems swallowing but it was fixed already." He left, watching her follow and the officers guard the door harder now. She came back twenty minutes later and handed him a name and he nodded, making note of who he was discharging them to. The redhead from the OR waiting room came down with Danny and the ambulance pulled up to take them away. The one sister watched and the others left her there. The CSI he knew cleaned up the loose ends then she left as well.
Danny looked around his room, whistling gently. "This is nice."
"It's my hidey hole," Catherine said as she walked in with a tray. "Doc said you could have soup."
"I hate soup."
"I know, but tough." She smiled. "No salt either." He groaned. She put it across his lap and helped him sit up. "There, now sip slowly and tell me if you feel anything odd, like tickling. He'll be in soon as you finish. Don's in the next room," she said, pointing at it. He nodded and took a careful bite. "No tickling or dripping feelings?" He shook his head and drank another bite. "Good." She kissed him on the head. "They matched the ballistics to the guy who got my radiator but my shooter and the one Don saw of yours are vastly different unless he was wearing makeup." That got a nod. "Just relax and rest. You'll be able to move around tomorrow and we've got satellite." She kissed him on the head again. "Dial 9 to get an outside line so you can call in if you want to know more. Stella's over the case." He smiled at that. "Need anything else?"
"Nah, I'm good. Go fuss over Don. He's family." She grinned and headed that way. He shook his head and looked out the nearest window. "This looks like a resort."
"It was," a voice said from the doorway, smiling at him. "I'm Toni, the younger daughter in case you forgot. I'm your personal servant while I'm here. So hurry up so I can help you into a shower." He grinned and ate faster. "Mom bought it a few years ago when things started to go wrong on some of her undercovers. This way she could hide whoever she needed to and we've got a doc who lives on the other edge of the grounds. He's the one who's checking on you guys." She came in to sit on the foot of his bed. "There's some very pretty woods to walk through when you get that far if we're still here." He nodded and grinned again, going back to eating. "And hey, you're getting me out of evil classes with nuns. I'm all for this mini-vacation." He chuckled and nodded, upending his bowl of soup to finish it. "I'll get you some more after the doc sees you and you take a bath." She got up to take the tray and put it aside, then get the doctor for him. "Here you go, Mr. Messer."
"Danny, please," he offered.
"Danny then," she agreed with a smile. "Doc, patient number one. Stubborn's still next door."
"Your mother was hugging him," he said, smiling at Danny. "Yes, I'm very old but very good at what I used to do full time."
"I figure if she trusts you, you gotta be," he agreed. He winced as some of the tape pulled some of his chin hair. "How bad?"
"It missed most of it. If they were aiming, they're fantastic shots," he said patiently. "I don't see any seeping or infection starting. That's good." He cleaned around the wound then recovered it, taping it back down. "It won't be too much longer before you go back to work, Mr. Messer."
"Good, the crime lab needs me."
The doctor smiled at that. "I had hopes I wasn't working for your family." Danny shook his head. "Good. She could use more nice friends." He patted him on the head. "Take a careful bath and cover that with a waterproof bandage first, then come back to bed. You can sit in the sun tomorrow." He went to check on Don, making Catherine let him go. "He's fine, dear."
"I know but it still sucks." She wiped her face off, looking at him.
"Don't you have a boyfriend here?" he taunted. "Go cry on him." She rolled her eyes but left them alone. "How am I?"
"Amazingly well. If they were aiming, they're fantastic shots. It missed everything on both of you." That got a smile. He checked all the incisions and cleaned them up. "Cover those with a waterproof bandage or get someone to give you a bed bath, Don. I heard her calling Mirin to send information back to your family." He smiled at him. "Now, behave. You know what not to do after the last time." He patted him on the head. "Is the redhead Horatio? She talked about him a lot the last time she had to run up here."
He nodded. "Yeah, that's him. The only bad thing is that he's in Miami and we're not."
"Ah. Long distance romances are never easy. She should be ready to retire soon though." He smiled at him again. "You rest. If Mirin is here I'll send her up." That got a smirk and a nod. "Often, I find that some gentle exercise can be beneficial to healing properly." He left him alone, making notes on the charts he had started. He smiled when he ran into a bouncing Mirin. "Now be gentle when you give him a bedbath, dear, and remember to watch out for the stitches. Cover them with waterproof bandages first." She nodded, smiling at him. "He can have some gentle exercise, nothing too earth shattering. Understood?"
Mirin blushed. "Understood, Doctor Mike." She went into his room to get him ready. Everyone around the family knew she had the worst crush on him as a teenager. Loving and helping him now was fine with her. Even if her crush did compare her mentally with her sister. It was sad, her sister's boyfriend was really nice. Don grinned at her. "If you're a good boy I'll be very nice. If not I'll have to spank."
"Not until I'm healed, Mirin." He grinned at her. "You okay?"
"You scared me shitless, Donny. And yeah, I'm healed. I'm not sure I wanna go back to work though." She got him ready and started on his hair. She had always liked his hair. It was always soft. "What do you think this is related to?" she asked quietly. He shrugged as much as he could. "Could it be my ex?"
"Nah. He was found beaten a few days ago. His new girlfriend was nineteen and she saw the tattoo. Her daddy beat him for daring to touch his daughter. He left for brighter areas." He winced at her gentle hair pulling. "Gently, Mirin. Gently." She smiled and went slower, making him one happy guy. Especially after he was clean and she dried him off with her mouth. It was just what he needed to go back to sleep.
Gordon looked at his mother a few days later. "We just caught a break in the copycat case," he told her. "I need to bring Horatio back. This is related to something else, mom." She nodded, hands clutched in front of her. "He can come back when we're done. By the way, he forgot to call Delko for the last two days. He said, very seriously, he was thinking about a rescue mission." He looked at Horatio as he came in. "We have a new lead in the copycat, Horatio. By the way, you might wanna call Delko and call off the rescue mission. I'm not sure I convinced him."
Horatio moaned and went to call him. "We'll go back in the morning, Gordon."
"Of course. This isn't related." He looked at Mom, then glanced toward Gwen, then caught her eye again. "He's out," he said quietly. "That was him."
"Fairly. Stella found the link and Taylor got royally sick when she found the ballistics connection. He got it off someone who was selling out of Evidence. IA is now involved and they're being bastards to everyone. Stella slapped the guy who questioned her methodology."
"Good. She always did good in the lab." She sipped her soda. "Anything else?"
"Have you noticed Toni's gotten a bit fixated?" he offered gently. She nodded, looking grim. "I think he's pressuring her to join him, mom. You two need ta talk."
"I will tonight. Thankfully I like Danny that much." She finished her soda and tossed it out. "Any other good news?"
"The Lieutenant is missing you guys terribly. She's been going out on body calls herself and she's whining. So be gentle for now." He winked and looked at Horatio as he hung up. "Was it called off?"
"I had Frank handcuff him to his table." He came back. "What other news was there?"
"Gwen?" she called. Her daughter put down her book and came over. "Sit, baby." She and Horatio both sat. "They never told me but your father is out."
"It's related to how he beat you and went to prison?" she asked calmly.
"Stella thinks so," Gordon admitted. "Taylor got royally sick and IA is growling around the station since the gun's from evidence." She nodded at that. "We'll be really careful and we've got his file. By the way, mom, he's the one you saw. He plumped out in prison because of his thyroid." He smirked. "The shooters that got Uncle Donny and Danny were related but they've only got one from his license plate switch." That got another nod. "I'm having her email you what she's got tonight. You're under orders to stay here, since this is as close to protective custody as you'll ever allow yourself to be. So stay up here and talk to Toni. We'll have to leave at six to get back to the city at a decent hour, Horatio. Don't keep her up tonight," he offered with a grin. "We like you two together but I'm glad we're on this side of the resort." He went to the kitchen. "Gwen, need something?"
"No, I'm good. The morning sickness medicine is helping." She looked at Horatio, then at her mother. "Shouldn't they have told you?"
"Yup and I'm going to chew someone a new one. Never worry about that, baby girl." She smiled and nodded. "What about your boss?"
"I called John when the evac order came across and told Grandfather to call him about updates. He agreed it was a good idea so I'm probably covered too." That got a nod. "I'll do dinner so you can cuddle and talk about the dirtbag behind my back." She got up and headed for the kitchen.
Horatio gave her a hug. "Are you all right?"
"He beat me into a coma, Horatio. It's why I went off on Mirin's husband," she said, looking at him. "He was a cop too. It was like a bad rewrite of history." He nodded, stroking over her hair. "Someone's going to die for not telling me he was out. And then I'm going to make sure he goes back for good. He tried to kill two cops and probably committed conspiracy to kill all of us."
"He shot at you too," he reminded her gently.
"He got my radiator. He knew what he was aiming at and even when he shot directly at me in that alley, he wasn't even close, Horatio. He's gonna be a dead fuck when I get done with him." She looked up and smiled at him. "I'll wait until you have deniability."
"Thank you but not necessary." He kissed her gently. "We should talk." She nodded, getting up and following him back to their room. He laid down next to her, stroking her stomach. "Catherine, are we going to make a real try of this?" She sighed and went limp. "I know. I want it, you want it, and we're stuck in limbo." He kissed her gently. "I'm not sure what to do. I've even thought of telling Don to take care of you for me." She grimaced at that. "You can't tell me it's just brotherly love," he whispered. "I know you better than that." She looked at him. "We've got to figure something out. Even if I do end up being part of a threesome now and then."
"He'd kill you for that."
"Maybe not," he admitted with a smirk. "He loves you too." He gave her another kiss then went back to stroking her. He loved to tease her until she pleaded. Not begged, but pleaded. She wasn't the sort of woman to beg and making her plead for something stroked his ego in all the right spots.
Horatio knocked on Don's door, walking in and shutting it. "You awake?"
"Unfortunately." He looked at him. "Time for pain killers?" he asked hopefully.
"After we've talked." He walked in and set the bottle on the table with a bottle of water. "Don."
"Man, not you too," he complained.
"Don, she's mine. She always has been, but a part of her is still yours," he said quietly, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Since we're living incompatible lives until I retire to somewhere less warm and she leaves New York...."
"So you want me to sub? That's not the sorta guy I am, Horatio."
"No, what I'm proposing is harder," he said gently. "She doesn't like it, but she needs you and you need her, Don. I've noticed how you watch her. Mirin is fun, she's good for you, but she doesn't capture you. You're her rebound guy as Delko puts it." He nodded, accepting that. "Whereas Catherine has always had the prime spot in your heart and mine."
"So you want what?" he asked, looking confused. "I'm still getting the temporary boyfriend feeling."
"Not temporary and not boyfriend but with us." Don's mouth opened and then he moaned and shook his head. "You want her." Don looked at him. "Be honest. Please." Don nodded at that, looking calm. "You know I have her and you still want her and so do I. I can share her with you and you alone. It's going to be years before we work out how to be together for real, Don, and she's never going to give you up. Without this, I'd worry about her cheating with you."
"I'm realistic and a bit paranoid," he said quietly. "She could and would because it'd be a long time between some visits." That got another, slower nod. "This way she gets what she needs, you get what you want, and I get what I want and need. I don't like this idea at all, but it's the best I can see and come up with. After all, I'll always be stepfather to her kids. You're their father. I'm her heart but you're her joy and playfulness. She needs both of us, even if she is stubborn."
"And I'm still dating Mirin."
"Uh, well...." He smirked. "She stomped off earlier tonight when Gordon told her who had shot you and Danny."
"Who?" He sat up some. "I'm being kept out of the loop again."
"Gwen's father," he said quietly. "He's skipped the city and they can't find him. Not the point of this talk however. You want her, I want her, she wants the both of us. You know her in ways that not even I could," he said gently. "She needs you there and I know my heart, Don."
"That'd make it seem like I was hers."
"You would be hers. Depending on where you stood on things, you'd be ours really," he admitted. "Not to push that point unless you want it."
"You, um, heard about that?"
He smiled. "I read people for a living, just like you do, and remember, I live in the gay boy capitol of the world, Don. I see so many gay men who're trying to hide it and still get some it's not funny." He stood up. "All I'm asking is that you think about it. We're leaving early tomorrow to go back to work on the case that drew me up here. I'll be back before we go home or this weekend if possible. Talk with her."
"You haven't convinced her?"
"We talked but not that much. I wore her out." He smiled. "Making up for lost time." Don nodded, getting that. "One day we're all going to have to retire and I'm not sure I can stay where I can't protect them anymore. Neither could you and she's fighting retirement very hard." Someone tapped and the woman in question walked in. "We were just talking about you."
"I figured you were." She came in and kissed him. "What wicked things are you planning?"
"Being the third to you two so you're loved while I'm not here," he told her, kissing her deeper. She went limp against his chest and let him do whatever he wanted. That's one thing he loved about her. "Will you think about it, Catherine?" he asked quietly. "I know what you want deep inside."
"It seems so tawdry," she complained.
He smiled. "It's not, not really. This way you're loved, even when I'm in Miami. You won't have to fight urges to cheat with Don. You won't have to fight the urge to crawl into his lap and hide after a bad day. Plus he can give you the same sort of backrubs I can."
"And when you're in town, we're both yours?" Don joked.
"If that's how you want to look at it," he agreed smugly. "That doesn't bother me. We'll figure out how to live together full time when we've all retired. Since I doubt any of us want to be near where we can't work and protect them any longer." She nodded at that, staring up at him. "I promise, this is the only way I see without making you face temptation and possibly cheating. This way, I can't get jealous of Don loving you and he'll quit giving me looks like I stole his puppy." Don snorted. "You do. Every time you see me for that first moment. You realize that I'm taking her away at that time. This way, there's no taking away. If a group of six-year-olds can share, so can we."
She sat down and looked at him. "It still seems wrong."
"That's because my mother drug you to church too many times," Don said, nudging her with a foot. "He's right, Kate. I'd probably never settle down unless you cloned yourself. Being honest, most of the girls I got serious about were threatened by you and my mother." She grimaced at that. "Sorry, but truth. Ma outright threatened 'em." He grinned at her. "Can I have a kiss?" he asked. She considered it, he could see her making one of those field judgement calls that she was nearly infamous for around the squads. Then she leaned over to kiss him, making him moan. "I need to heal faster." He heard another moan and sighed. "He knows how old she is."
"She's legal enough in my book," she said dryly. "Besides, I'm not sure that's not Gwen." She kissed him again then Horatio, earning a smile. "You're sure? You know you won't get me to give it up."
"I'm sure," he agreed, kissing her again. "This way I know you're loved and thinking hot and dirty thoughts about me," he whispered. "Plus getting him ready for me." She shivered and nodded, resting against his chest. "Good girl. Now, let's let Don get some rest. Since I've got to leave tomorrow, you two can work out the bugs and the flaws until I get back. Then I'll take however long I can to give Don enough time to heal and be ready for you." He stroked Don's cheek. "I'll let you have her in the morning." He got a nod and a wry look then he led their woman off.
Don looked at his body. "You'd better heal quickly this time," he told it. "Really." He heard another moan. "Hey!" he yelled. "Cover his face with a pillow!"
"Sorry!" Gwen called. "I'm giving him a backrub."
"Yeah, and I believe that too!" he called.
"She's too young for me," Danny called back. "Sleep, pervert."
"Yeah, like I can do that with you moaning like that in there." He sank back down, thinking about everything and liking how his body reacted to the thoughts of both of them. He was a greedy bastard and they were both pretty. Hell, he'd set 'em up and they were still good together. It made him ache to be better and in there. His phone rang and he answered it. "Yeah?" He heard the panting and smirked, listening as Horatio put the phone next to her ear. It was really nice of him and a great early birthday present. It just capped off his night and his urge to heal faster. She made such pretty noises.
Catherine walked back into the precinct, nodding at everyone. "Yes, we're back."
"About time," Stella called, jogging to catch up to them. "We're still looking for him, Catherine."
"I know, but Don's healed, Danny's healed, and I don't feel like hiding. There's scum to clean up." That got a smirk. "So he'll be back later. I dropped him off at home."
"That's fine." She walked her back to her desk, finding the person at it. "Who're you?"
"Her new personal assistant and trainee," he said, hopping up. "I'm Peter Milgrew."
She looked over this boy, and he was a boy, probably not a lot older than her own kids. He was pudgy, but not fat. He had black hair, looked more Italian or Greek than either Danny or Stella did by his features, and you could see such hope in his eyes. "Why do I rate an assistant?"
"The Chief said you're to teach me to take your place, Detective. I'm training to be a CSI and he said it'd be good for me to learn. Plus he said I could use the skills when I ended up capturing someone by pouncing them from a second story window." He smiled at Detective Flack as he came in. "Sir. I'm Peter Milgrew, her new trainee."
Don looked at him. "Can you run and fetch people for her? She's not to run. It took us three days to get her knee to unswell after the last one."
"I can do that," he agreed. "The Chief told me Timmy needed a leave of absence," he said quietly, staring at her. "That's why I was assigned, Detective."
"He does need one. He's taking my sister on their honeymoon." That got a laugh from Stella. "Seriously. Mirin stomped off a few days after we got up there and Don started to heal and he chased her down. They left last night for Vegas." She shrugged. "He'll treat her well, I know he will." She looked at the kid again. "Fine, I'll train you, but you're to observe the CSIs at any scene. You are to listen to them, even Taylor. Also I've got a rookie that I'm working on now and then."
"He's on medical leave," the lieutenant called. "He broke his leg. By the time he comes back, Milgrew will be tired of you. They can alternate days since he'll be going back to school by then."
"Sure." She shrugged and nodded. "Works for me. Find your own chair, kid." He got out of the way and she sat down, getting comfortable. "Did I get a new chair?"
"Yes, the last one broke. Gordon bounced once too often." She came to the doorway. "Why? It feel wrong?"
"No, it feels padded. It's nice. Thank you." She smiled at her. "Did you know one of the techs didn't want to let me use a stool in his lab?"
"I heard and I heard he changed boroughs too. Thankfully. By the way, Taylor is really pissed at himself. Why?"
"Not a clue. It's not like we chat. Stella?"
"I was asking her anyway," the Lieutenant said dryly. "Bonasera?"
"He's kicking himself for what they told him to do," she admitted dryly. "He was told to watch her to keep her on the straight and narrow and it created hell and havoc. He realizes this finally."
"Good," Don agreed from his desk. "Makes me happy." He looked at his boss. "We need ta talk later."
"Sure." She smiled at him. "You all better?" He shook his head. "You good enough that you're going to whine about desk duty?" He nodded. "Then you can take Milgrew or a rookie with you too." She went back into her office. "Whenever you're ready, Flack." He got up and went in there, closing the door behind him.
"Something I should know?" Stella asked.
"Not yet. Ask him later," she offered dryly, blushing a bit. "Long, strange story, Stella."
"Ah, one of those." She looked at her. "You're not pregnant, right?"
"If I am, the world's going to end and people will suffer my wrath," she said blandly, smirking at her. "Anything else for me?"
"Yeah, the new girl hates you. Considers you condescending and mean to Danny."
"I like Danny. Danny's like my kid. He knows this."
"She's seen it but apparently she doesn't understand. I'll let Danny tell her." She shrugged and grinned. "So, details," she hissed, moving closer. "Coffee, Milgrew. Girl talk." He nodded and walked off, still smiling happily. "He'll lose that in a day or so," she shared, beaming at her. "What's up with you and Flack? Danny said I'd be shocked. Oh, and he and Aiden, very cute," she shared. Catherine nodded at that, making her grin. "So, give! I thought you were with Caine."
"We are," Flack whispered in her ear. She jumped and looked at him so he looked at her. "Not here, Stella."
"She's banned," he said dryly. "The day her daddy went back."
"Pity. Okay." She frowned and opened her mouth. "Excuse me? You are?" He nodded. "As in....." He nodded again, smirking at her. "Wow. Now wonder he warned me." She shivered. "Now that's hot." She stood up and hugged them both. "Anything official coming?"
"Not yet," she said dryly, looking at her. "Don't spread it around."
"Oh, I won't. I'm sure the telling things will be going on soon enough," she said happily. "Just remember to clean the lab." She headed off, going back to work with her secret.
"That was mean," Catherine told him.
"Yeah, and?" He smirked at her. "The Lieutenant thought the same thing. She drooled." He blew a kiss. "Lunch?"
"If we're not staring at dead bodies," she agreed dryly. She had a sudden thought and looked at him. "Your father's going to start nagging again."
"I'm gonna explain it to Mom and have her work on him. Besides, if it happens, you're still young enough. Not that I'm looking forward or hoping or anything, but if it happens it does."
"That's why I'm staying on the pill," she muttered.
"Thank you. I like that idea," he agreed, nodding heavily as he went back to his desk. "Milgrew, the coffee done yet?" he called.
"Coming, Detective Flack."
"Just Flack, kid. It takes too long otherwise." He took his cup. "She takes two sugars and I take cream for future reference. That got a nod and he went to get those. "You'll go far, kid."
"As long as I don't get stuck in an office far away for this," she reminded him. Her phone rang and she took a drink of coffee before answering it. "Cavanaugh?" She listened to the voice on the other end. "Why would it matter, sir?" She raised an eyebrow and nodded Don over so he could hear. "That's never been an issue with me. As you very well know, Chief. Yeah, and?" She snorted. "Chief, blow it out your ass," she said fondly. "I'm not like that. Or actually, I was like that before. Not much is gonna change there." She smirked. "I thought you'd see it our way. No, I don't want a desk job. No, I don't want the academy. Blow me," she said at his next suggestion.
"I mean it. That would put me in direct conflict with him. I don't want that and neither does he. So I'm doing what I do best, I'm just doing it a little more slowly and with a cane. Yeah, that too," she admitted dryly. "You mind much or are you asking for tapes?" she asked bitterly. He spluttered. "Good. 'Cause I don't believe in putting on shows. Anything else, Chief? 'Cause you know, it's Monday, I've probably got a dead body waiting on me somewhere." She smirked at his renewed spluttering. "And I still like my job, Chief, but I'm not bending over and taking one for the department." She looked at the phone then put it back to her ear. "IF, and that's a big IF, that happens, I'll send you an announcement. It didn't stop me the last two times and this time I'll take a leave, okay? Good enough? You can tell your golfing buddy, Senior, to drop that issue too. Remember my age and how dangerous it gets." She hung up and growled at the phone. "You narked," she yelled.
"I had to. It's protocol."
"Yeah, well, you can blow me too," she called. "I'm not moving from this desk this year."
The Lieutenant came to her doorway to look at her. "You two were already that close. I don't see a problem with that issue," she noted dryly. "What did he try to do?"
"Send me ta teach," she said dryly. "Or have me set up the new CSI unit." The Lieutenant groaned and shuddered. "Exactly. Which means I'd have to poach. Then he offered me your job."
"I'm not moving up yet," she complained. "You good to work today?" She nodded. "Good. Milgrew, we should have body dumps within an hour. You have stuff to take notes, right?" He nodded eagerly. "Good. Even better. She's to sit down. You're to drive because she's a maniac from what I heard and you will stay respectful of all CSIs, even Taylor. He's moping again. So be gentle with him and expect barking. Also, Messer is her mentoree. Get with him. I like Messer, he's a decent guy who can teach you a lot about endurance and hyperactivity." Don snickered at that. "At least he shuts up for her."
"Sometimes," Don admitted. "Sit, Milgrew. It's gonna be a few." He sat down, making sure he had everything.
She looked at his bag. "Backpacks are more practical in case you have to run, since I can't. Your main job is to shadow, nag, and make sure I don't have to run to catch anyone." He nodded, heading out to his car and coming back with an older backpack. "Will that stand up to running?"
"It did when I did the Academy, detective."
"You've been out how long?"
"Two years. I've been in Vice." He grinned. "This is a great opportunity for me. I've already heard how grumpy you are and to watch out for your bark and Taylor's bite. Plus Detective Flack's sense of humor now and then."
"I'm an angel," Don joked. His phone rang. "Flack," he answered, getting up. "Thank you, be right there." He stood up. "Who's my rookie?" he called.
"I am," came up the halls and Gwen came in. "SVU doesn't want me there for the next week. They're working on someone who likes to torture pregnant women and think Mom's going to go off if he looks at me." She waved a hand. "Shall we? So I can get my daily puking out of the way?"
"Sure," he agreed. "I still drive."
"Yeah, and I'm the fucking tooth fairy."
"Hey, be more respectful," he complained as he led the way out. "I could've been your dad."
"You didn't change my diapers, get over it," she snorted back, taking the keys. "I'm driving. You're still injured." She noticed the horrified and shocked looks on the uniform's faces. "I'm Catherine's daughter Gwen. Usually I'm in SVU." They all nodded and shuddered at that. "And I'm pregnant. Deal with it now!"
"That poor woman," one of the cops moaned, shaking her head. "At her age and all that." She shuddered again.
"That means Catherine's going to be a grandmother," someone realized. He had been there when she had been there the first time. "Oh, shit." He held his head. "Oh, damn." He went to talk to her. "Catherine, if you need to rant, please don't take it out on the rookies?" he pleaded.
"I won't," she said dryly. "I didn't with the twins. I took it out on the walls and the elevator." She gave him an odd look. "You know, Flack's dad wants me to give him one so he's got a real kid instead of playing daddy to mine." The man moaned so she smirked and nodded. "He's called the last few days in a row suggesting that I'm not getting any younger and neither is he. He wants real grandkids."
"If you do, give us a warning?" he pleaded. She nodded. "Thank you." He backed out, heading back to their briefing. "Flack's dad wants grandkids and he's trying to convince her since Flack did so good helping her with her three." That got a mass moan. The image of Flack as a doting father just scared the hell out of them all.
"Isn't she dating Caine?" someone asked.
"Yeah, but he's back in Miami," someone else complained. "We could use him to balance out Taylor and Stella." That got some nods.
"Let's get back to the briefing," the shift supervisor complained. "If they do, I'm sure she'll warn us. If not, we can complain and baby her then. By the way, she's got a two- year rookie in from Vice. Milgrew wants to be a CSI so she's training him while her usual bodyguard is on his honeymoon and while the other one she adopted has a broken leg. Be nice to the trainee, guys. He's got gentle guy syndrome and I expect some puking soon." That got some nods. He heard someone go running past the doorway. "Hell, already?" He went to check, finding someone tackling someone in the halls. He pulled his gun. "Freeze!" The others piled out to help, separating the guy from CSI Messer. "You okay?" he asked, looking him over.
"Yeah, the big idiot just thought he was Tigger." He looked at him, then sneered. "For that, you get Catherine ta talk to." He went to find her. "Take him to interrogation and make sure he knows his rights. She's gonna have some fun this morning." That got some shudders of horror but they did as ordered. "Hey, Catherine," he said, leaning in the squad room. She looked at him. "Some idiot just pounced me and said I'm fixing his boss's evidence or else he's gonna harm my old man. You want 'im?"
"Oh, I'd be delighted," she said happily. "Come, Milgrew."
"Yes, Catherine." He followed along, taking notes the whole way. He smiled at Danny. "I want to come join the team so I'm her temporary trainee."
"Good. Follow along and remember not to puke near the scene, kid." He clapped him on the back and went back to work to share this new tidbit. It was almost as good as the threesome he couldn't tell anyone about.
Gordon walked into his uncle's office with the report from New York. "Does this mean I can call Ray Jr. cousin?" he asked quietly.
"Only if you wish to explain it to his mother," he said dryly, smirking at him. "Discretion, Gordon."
"I know, just teasing." He smirked. "Grandfather Flack called and ordered me to work on mom to get grandkids from Uncle Donny."
"He may get his wish some day but there's no plans for that at the moment," he said, looking at him. He looked over the report and signed off on it, handing it back. "There you go. Deliver that to Frank."
"Of course. Anything else today, Lieutenant?"
"Not yet. When I do, you can follow us around and help again." That got a smile and the boy disappeared. He shook his head. The kid was eager and good, but he needed to take the full CSI program to really work with them. He'd have to talk to him later. Right after he warned Don about the grandchildren chant starting. He was already planning his next spot of vacation time. They'd have to spend a few minutes talking out of that week.