June 19, 2004
Danny rolled over and pulled his pillow over his head. It was Saturday morning; too early on a Saturday morning; 5:36 am on a Saturday morning; he really didnt want to answer the phone. Finally, it stopped. But no sooner did Danny sigh in relief, the ringing started again.
Dammit, he muttered, reaching for the phone. This better be good, he demanded of whomever was on the other end.
Will you accept a collect call from Martin? the operator asked.
Excuse me? Danny asked, sitting up in bed now, waking up a bit more.
Will you accept a collect call from Martin?
Yeah, yeah, put him through. A click and then silence. Martin? Fitz, you there?
Danny heard something in Martins voice, in the way he said his name, and knew, beyond the need for a collect call, that something was wrong.
Fitz? Whats going on?
Where are you, Fitz?
I dont know. I just... I just...
Martin, whats wrong? Are you okay?
Danny? I need your help.
Okay, okay. Just hang on a minute, okay? Danny got out of bed, grabbed a pair of jeans from his dresser and put them on. Do you know where you are?
No. Looks like... looks like a rest stop. Danny, I dont know. I dont know where I am!
Hold on a minute, Fitz, okay? Im gonna get on my cell and put a trace on you, okay? So dont hang up. Danny took his cell phone out of its charger on top of the dresser. You still with me, Martin? Look around, tell me what you see.
Its dark. Im... Im in a phone booth.
Can you read the number on the phone? He dialed his cell phone as he spoke. Hang on a minute, Martin. Then, into his cell phone, Yeah, Janice? Its Danny Taylor. I just received a collect call on my home phone, with the line still open. I need to know where its coming from. Yes, an address.
Martin? Tell me more. What else is nearby?
Okay, good. Im tracing the number. As soon as I get a location, Ill send in the cavalry, okay?
NO! Martin replied, fear in his voice. No cops! Just you!
Martin, what happened? Whats going on?
Just you, Danny. Please!
Okay, okay, just me. But tell me whats going on. Are you hurt? Are you in some sort of trouble? Give me something to work with, Fitz.
Danny listened to the Bureau agent give him the information about Martins location.
Fitz? I know where you are. Its gonna take me about an hour to get there, though. Can you wait that long? Are you hurt? Are you safe?
Just get here. Please, Danny?
+ + + + + + +
Just get here. Please, Danny? Martin whispered, the phone dropping from his hand to dangle by its cord.
Looking around the rest area, Martin looked for a better place to wait. He felt too exposed in the clear glass phone booth; as if every car and truck driving by on the highway would see him, stare at him.
Unable to move his left knee, Martin crawled on his hands and other knee towards the shrubs and trees to the side of the rest stops small, map-covered kiosk, into the shadows.
Shadows were all he could see, all he could remember since coming to full awareness at the rest stop. His last complete memory was that of leaving the office Friday afternoon, heading for home.
But sometime after that, something went horribly wrong. Something that left him hurt, broken and confused at some highway rest stop, with no wallet, no phone and no memory of how hed gotten there.
Yet, when he saw the phone booth, 911 was the last number hed wanted to dial. Sure, it would have been easy enough to call 911; he knew he was hurt; maybe hed been mugged? Help would come within minutes, most likely. But the thought of some complete stranger responding to that 911 call instilled an instant state of panic and fear in Martin. He didnt want strangers. He needed someone else. Danny. Danny would help him. Danny would come get him. Take care of him. Understand. Wouldnt he?
An hour. Could he wait that long?
Got to, Fitz, he said aloud, his voice raspy and laced with pain.
He put his head back against the kiosks wall and catalogued his injuries, trying to remember how hed gotten them. His left knee, swollen so much that he couldnt bend it, throbbed in time with his pulse. His face felt swollen, too; his right eye almost closed, his nose bloody. His ribs hurt when he took deep breaths. His back was sore, too. Had he been mugged? Were they injuries from a car accident? And then he shifted again, and felt the pain flare up elsewhere No. No car accident would cause pain there.
And then the panic took hold again.
+ + + + + + +
Danny took another gulp of coffee. After rushing out of his apartment and getting his car, hed made the quick stop at Dunkin Donuts to grab the hot drink, hoping the caffeine rush would wake up his tired body. His brain was wide awake, worry and fear for his partner making it work overtime, but his tired muscles, overtaxed from a night on the town, needed the extra help.
He was driving on Route 80 West, in New Jersey. His friend at the Bureau had said that Martin had called from a payphone at a rest area near the Delaware Water Gap. All the way across New Jersey, near the Pennsylvania border. Danny took another gulp. The coffee was barely warm now.
He had his red emergency light flashing on the dashboard of his car, hoping that the troopers on patrol would see it and let him get away with doing 95 in the 65 mph zone, without getting too curious. Then again, who knew if theyd come in handy once he found Martin?
Damn, Fitz! What the hell did you get yourself into? he wondered aloud, and not for the first time.
All sorts of ideas had come to mind - hed had car troubles, maybe an accident; family problems, a fight with his father, a death in the family; or maybe hed been mugged or something. But none of those accounted for the absolute fear hed heard in Martins voice, or the panic when Dannyd mentioned sending help in the form of fellow agents or officers.
Another idea had formed then: maybe Martin had done something illegal - and it was immediately discounted. Danny didnt think Martin would jaywalk, let alone do anything that would warrant this reaction.
A few more minutes and youll get your answer, Dannyboy. Ready or not, here it comes.
+ + + + + + +
Fitz? Fitz where are you?
Danny had parked the car near the phone booth, the empty phone booth, and wandered around the small kiosk, looking for his friend.
Janice had better have given me the right number, he muttered. Fitz?
Martin startled as he heard his name called. The fog that had settled over him began to lift.
Danny! he called out weakly, stifling a groan and a cough as his lungs protested.
Soon, the bushes were being parted and Dannys face appeared blurrily in front of him.
Oh, God, Martin, Danny murmured upon seeing his friend.
He reached a tentative hand out toward Martins cheek. He stopped just short of touching it when Martin flinched, but then continued, when Martins eyes met his, recognized him as being real, and Martin leaned forward into the touch.
Who did this to you? Danny whispered.
I dont know, Martin replied, tears forming, releasing.
Come on, let's get you out of here, Danny said.
Danny held back the branches of the shrubs and bushes as Martin crawled out from behind them. Seeing the extent of Martins condition, he found himself angry. Angry with whomever had done this to his partner. He couldnt hold back the same questions.
God, Fitz, who did this to you? What happened? he asked, grasping Martin by the shoulders.
I dont know! Martin shouted back. I dont know, he repeated, more quietly. Please, Danny, just get me home. Please? I just wanna go home.
The quiet plea felt like a knife stabbing through Dannys heart.
You need to go to a hospital, first, he said.
No, Martin retorted, shaking his head, moving away from Danny. No hospital. Too many questions.
Exactly, Martin! Danny returned. Youre hurt, pretty badly from what I can see. And the fact that you dont know what happened to you - you could have a head injury or something.
Theyll call the cops. Theyll find out. No.
What are you afraid of, Fitz? Danny was dumbfounded. The fear and paranoia hed heard on the phone earlier was back. No. Forget that. You dont have to tell me. Yet. He carefully cupped Martins cheeks again. They wont call the cops. Ill already be there. Okay? Ill tell anyone that asks that youve already made a report - for whatever - with me. Okay? When Martin didnt reply right away, he continued, Martin, come on. You called me this morning, remember? I drove all the way out here to get you. Im not just gonna throw you to the dogs. Were partners, right?
Martin searched Dannys eyes and found only truth and trust. He nodded slowly, ceding to Dannys judgment.
Stay here. Im gonna get my car and bring it closer, okay? Danny told him.
But before Danny could move away, Martins hands reached out and grabbed him by his jacket. He was just about to placate Martin, reassure him again, when Martins words cut him to the quick.
Danny? I think I think someone sodomized me.
Oh, Fitz, Danny whispered, and gathered Martin into his arms in a consoling embrace. Its gonna be okay, Fitz, he murmured. Its gonna be okay. Well figure this out.
+ + + + + + +
After getting Martin into the passenger seat of his car, Danny headed back onto the highway. Stroudsburg, and a hospital, were just a few miles away.
Fitz? he asked. Whats the last thing you remember?
After a moments thought, Martin replied, Leaving work on Friday. Heading home.
Did you have any plans? A date or anything?
Danny thought Martin was about to say something, but he only replied, I dont remember, with a frustrated sigh, closing his eyes.
Okay, Im sorry. Well just have to wait for your memories to return, okay? Danny apologized.
The car slowed down and Martin looked up to watch as Danny drove through the EZ-Pass lane for the Delaware Water Gap Bridge. They quickly sped up again as Danny maneuvered the car back into traffic.
My credit cards.
What? Danny asked, glancing over at Martin.
I dont have my wallet. If I lost it, or if someone took it, they might have tried using my credit cards, Martin replied.
Its a start. We could see if theres a trail out there.
God, Danny, Martin lamented. What if theres more - my house and truck keys, my badge, my gun
You carry it all off duty? Danny asked, turning onto the exit ramp for East Stroudsburg.
If I made it home, then my gun, at least, would be locked up, he answered.
Lets hope you got that far, then, huh? Danny mused.
A few minutes later they arrived at the Pocono Medical Center.
Just stay here, Ill get Danny was going to say hed get a wheelchair, but Martin was already out of the car, albeit leaning heavily on it, but out, nonetheless. Okay I guess we wont.
He helped Martin put an arm around his shoulder and then grabbed his partner around his waist. After Martin nodded that he was ready, the two slowly entered the hospital.
An orderly, who immediately got a wheelchair for them, greeted them. He held the chair still while Danny gently lowered Martin into it. Then he led them to the admissions desk.
Wed like to see a doctor, please, Danny said to the woman at the desk.
Of course, she replied. But first Ill need some information. Nature of injuries ?
I think its a little obvious, Martin replied tiredly.
Mr. Fitzgerald was assaulted, Danny intervened. Hes got injuries to his left knee, ribs and back, as well as the facial ones you can see. And before you can ask, he continued, pulling out his wallet and presenting his FBI identification card to the woman, Yes, this has been reported to the authorities.
Very good, she replied. Ill just need some personal information, then.
Martin and Danny answered the womans questions regarding Martins vital statistics, address and insurance carrier. Martin signed a waiver that allowed Danny, as an FBI agent, to have access to his medical records while he was at the hospital. The woman then showed them to a treatment room in the Emergency Department.
A short time later, a nurse came and took a set of vital signs, marking her findings on Martins chart. She presented him with a hospital gown and offered to assist in helping him change. Martin just looked to Danny, and after getting a nod from him, told her that Danny would assist. She did, however slice open his left pants leg, making it easier for them to maneuver it over his swollen knee. She grabbed and activated an ice pack and handed it to Martin for his knee before she gave them some privacy.
You sure you want me to stay here? Danny asked.
Yeah, Im not sure I I hate not knowing, Danny! I mean, what the hell happened to me? Youd think Id remember if someone beat the shit outta me and and
Im gonna have them do some blood tests, Danny said.
And then a woman, probably in her mid-fifties, with graying hair pulled into a ponytail, entered the room.
Good morning, Mr. Fitzgerald, she said, approaching the bed. Im Doctor Welles. She took a quick look at Martin and glanced at Danny. I guess your morning hasnt been too good, though, has it? she added.
No, maam, Martin replied. He liked the woman already.
You wanna tell me what happened? she asked as she put on a pair of latex gloves.
As she began to gently feel the puffiness around Martins eyes, he replied, Thats half the problem. I dont know.
Id like you to run some tox screens, check for Rohypnol or GHB, Danny put in. When the doctor eyed him with curiosity, he added, Special Agent Danny Taylor, FBI. Im working Mr. Fitzgeralds case.
Dr. Welles nodded her head and continued to examine Martin, now moving her hands down to palpate his chest and abdomen, noting the bruising on both.
Any tenderness? Nausea, vomiting, blood? she asked.
Ribs are sore, Martin replied, wincing as she pushed on a tender area on his chest.
Doesnt feel like any of them are broken, but well take some x-rays to be sure. The nurse reentered the room and Dr. Welles gave her orders for the blood work. And well get some fluids started on him, too, she added.
She then moved down further on Martins body. Martin looked up at the ceiling as she examined his groin area. Martin felt Dannys hand on his shoulder and met his gaze. His torso was covered up and his legs exposed.
Nasty, Dr. Welles remarked as she removed the ice pack from his knee. Can you move your foot and toes?
Martin did. She then checked his pulse and circulation in the leg. She made some more notations on his chart before making sure his other leg was okay.
Lets roll onto your side, now, let me take a look at your back, she said next.
Martin hesitated then and again looked to Danny for guidance. Danny nodded his head.
Mr. Fitzgerald believes he may have been sexually assaulted, he told the doctor. Id like a rape kit done.
No, Danny, Martin whispered, shaking his head.
Yes, Martin, Danny argued back.
They stared at each other.
Dr. Welles looked back and forth between the two men and realized that they were more than just victim and cop.
Mr. Fitzgerald? she called, interrupting. Why dont I do a quick exam, first? Ill be able to tell you whether or not a kit would be useful.
The two men looked at her and Martin nodded, agreeing, Yeah.
Dr. Welles and the nurse gently helped Martin onto his side, careful of jarring his knee too much. Danny moved around the bed so that he could stay in Martins line of sight, and maybe give his partner a little privacy, as well.
She started the exam by checking the bruising on his back and hips, first. She also checked the back of Martins knee, looking at the bruising and swelling there.
When she finally examined Martin where he least wanted her to, he let out a small hiss and gasp of breath at the breech. Martin met Dannys gaze and was reassured by his partners support. Looking into Dannys eyes, Martin felt nothing else the doctor did.
When the doctor stood up, she discarded her gloves and replaced the blanket on Martin, helping him to lie on his back again.
There was definitely penetration, she told the men. There are a few minor tears and some bruising around the anus and inside. I didnt see any signs of ejaculate, though. How long ago did this happen?
Somewhere in the last twelve hours or so, Danny replied.
Dr. Welles nodded her head. It doesnt appear that Mr. Fitzgerald has taken a shower or otherwise disturbed any evidence, so Im thinking that whoever did this either used a condom, pulled out before ejaculation or used some other blunt object, she speculated.
So no rape kit, Martin concluded; decided.
Danny, looking at the determination in Martins eyes, sighed. Okay. So whats next?
X-rays and blood work, Dr. Welles replied. Ill be back in a bit, she added and left the room.
The nurse, in the meantime began drawing blood samples from Martins arm. Once done, she set up an IV to begin rehydrating him.
The x-ray techsll be here in a little bit, she told them before she, too, left the room.
I think we should start trying to track down your truck and credit cards, Danny said. See if you made it home
Ill be fine. You go on back to the city, Martin said, shrugging his shoulders.
No. Im gonna stay here with you, Danny countered.
But No, Danny, I dont want everyone to know about this, Martin argued.
Not everyone, Danny retorted. Just Viv. He waited a moment, and then continued, You can trust her, Fitz. Shell keep this off the books.
After a moments thought, Okay.
I gotta go outside to use my cell, Danny said. Not allowed in here. Martin nodded. Ill only tell her bare minimums, Fitz. Okay? he asked, putting a hand to Martins shoulder.
Martin nodded again.
+ + + + + + +
Viv, its Danny.
Danny? Whats up? We got a big case?
Sorta? What gives, Danny?
Martins been assaulted.
What?!! Is he alright? Where is he?
Were in Stroudsburg. At the hospital. Hes getting some tests done now.
What do you need from me? Arent the locals handling it?
Danny took a breath. Martin wants it off the books, Viv.
A moment of silence and then, What do you need me to do?
+ + + + + + +
When Danny finished talking to Vivian, hed found Martins room empty. Dr. Welles told him that it would probably be a while before he was back from x-ray, and directed him to the cafeteria. So hed gone, and had a tasteless bagel and some bad coffee, and then returned to the ER. He paced the waiting rooms length again.
Danny looked over to see Dr. Welles.
Hows Mart - um, Mr. Fitzgerald? he asked.
Martins going to be just fine, she replied. The worst of his physical injuries is his knee. Hes torn a few ligaments and, most likely, will need surgery some time in the future.
His physical injuries, Danny noted.
Im going to recommend counseling for him, she continued. A sexual assault is nothing to be trifled with. Combined with the fact that he doesnt remember it, or is blocking it out...
Blocking it out?! Danny balked.
Until we get his blood work back and can confirm the presence of Rohypnol, or any other substances, youll have to include it as a possibility. And judging by his other injuries, its obvious that he wasnt a willing participant; he wasnt totally under the drugs influence when it happened.
Danny took a deep breath and let it out, conceding to the doctors opinion.
When can I take him back to New York? he asked.
Id like to admit him, Dr. Welles said in response.
Hes not gonna like that, Danny interrupted, beginning to pace again. Hes gonna want out of here as soon as possible.
Hes not in any shape to leave.
But you said that hes fine, Danny questioned, turning to face her again.
I said hes going to be fine, she corrected. Right now hes in a world of pain and confusion. And until I get all the blood work back, who knows what other symptoms may pop up.
Okay, fine, I get it. But he still aint gonna like it, he said.
+ + + + + + +
No! I dont want to stay, Martin whispered harshly from the hospital bed.
Dr. Welles said
I dont give a flying fuck what she said, Danny. My entire world has been turned upside down. I want to go home. To my apartment. I want to find out what happened to me. I dont want to sit around in a hospital bed.
Danny sat down on the hospital bed, mindful of Martins knee, which was resting upon a couple of pillows.
Please, Danny. Blue eyes bore into Dannys browns.
Damn, Danny cursed, shaking his head. Has anyone ever said no to you?
I think my kindergarten teacher tried once, Martin replied with a smirk.
Let me scare up some new clothes for you, at least. Then well break you outta here.
+ + + + + + +
It was while they were stuck in traffic, waiting to get to the EZ-Pass lane for the George Washington Bridge, that Dannys cell phone rang.
Hello? he answered taking a quick glance at Martins form next to him.
Danny, its me, Viv responded.
Whatve you got, Viv?
It looks like Martin made it home after work yesterday, she began. His truck is parked out in front of his apartment building.
Yeah, Danny urged when she paused. He inched the car up further in the traffic.
I convinced the building super to let me into his apartment, she continued. The place is spotless. Nothing happened to him there.
What about his credit cards? Any action on them? Danny asked, pulling the car to the left and in front of a truck to get into the faster moving lane.
His ATM card was used at four-thirty, at the bank next door to the office. Sixty dollars was withdrawn from his checking account. Spending money for the weekend, maybe. Credit card company hasnt gotten back to me yet.
Any chance we can get a look at the ATMs tape, to make sure he was alone and not coerced? Danny asked.
I was. Just me. Getting some cash. No bad guys.
Danny looked to Martin. He nodded his head.
Never mind. Fitz says its a legit transaction, Danny told Vivian. Anything else?
What about his cell phone?
Im still working on that one.
Okay, thanks, Viv. Were on the Cross Bronx now. We should be at Fitzs place in half an hour or so, depending on traffic.
Okay. Ill call you if I get anything else.
Thanks, Viv. Youre a doll, Danny said.
Just call me Barbie, Vivian chuckled.
+ + + + + + +
Okay, Fitzy, time for bed, Danny chided, helping his partner into his apartment.
Not yet, Martin replied, hobbling on the crutches hed been given. Gotta see if my gun is here. He headed clumsily toward his bedroom. See if I really did make it here, first.
Danny followed, determined to get Martin to lie down and rest once the weapon was found, or not. He watched as Martin opened up his closet door and pulled a small lock-box off the shelf. Danny quickly moved in, catching it as Martin lost his grip on the heavy box.
Come on, well open it over here, he said, motioning to the bed.
Martin nodded and followed the few feets distance to the bed, collapsing carefully on it once he got there.
Whats the combination? Danny asked.
Four, one, two, Martin replied tiredly.
Danny turned the dials on the combination lock to the numbers Martin had indicated and soon had the lock-box open. Inside he found two handguns, four full magazines and Martins FBI identification.
All accounted for? he asked.
Martin sighed in relief. Yeah, he said, relaxing for the first time in hours.
Okay, Danny began, clapping his hands together. We dont have to worry about anyone using your weapon or ID. Your truck is here, safe and sound. Vivians already notified your credit card and bankcard companies, she did that when she put the traces on them. And the same with your cell. The companies are notified of the theft, so you wont be responsible for any charges, but they havent cancelled them just yet, so that we can try to track down the users.
So, that means theres nothing for you to do right now, other than rest, per Doctor Welles orders, young man, Danny replied, mock stern, shaking a finger at Martin.
Martin tried to smile, but found he couldnt. Despite everything Danny and Vivian had done for him already, the simple fact was, someone had assaulted him, physically and sexually. And he didnt remember a damned thing about it.
You still dont remember anything? Danny asked, picking up on Martins thoughts.
Martin shook his head.
Maybe maybe itll be better that way.
Martin couldnt reply. Right now, he wanted to remember, he wanted that part of his life back, to know who had done this to him, and why. And yet, in some way, Danny was right, too. Maybe not knowing would be good - no nightmares about it, about the person who had done it
Come on, Danny urged, pulling back the blankets on the bed. Lets get you settled. He left the room and then returned, bringing in some pillows from the couch. These should work to keep your knee propped up, he said.
When he had finished helping Martin get comfortable, Danny left the room again, returning this time with a glass of water. He then pulled Martins prescription bottles out from his jacket. He shook out a pill or two from each bottle and handed them to Martin, who took them without argument.
Ill be out in the living room. Holler if you need anything, Danny said.
Thanks, Danny, Martin replied. For everything.
+ + + + + + +
Half an hour later, Danny looked up from the lap top screen, hearing a knock on the door.
He peered through the peephole to see Vivian outside the door. He let her in, putting a finger to his lips, letting her know to be quiet.
How is he? she whispered.
Better, now that hes sleeping, Danny replied, leading her over to the couch.
Danny filled Vivian in on most of Martins injuries and the medicines he was given for them. He told her that Martins duty weapon and ID were safe and sound, as well.
Okay, so it looks like maybe Martin went out for a bit, Danny continued, matter-of-factly. Maybe to get some shopping done - his cupboards and fridge are kinda bare - or out for dinner, maybe.
Danny stopped and looked at Vivian then. Something about the way she agreed with him didnt sit right with him. She knew something. What gives, Viv? What do you know?
Danny, you found him in New Jersey, she stated, questioning him at the same time. This was more than just a mugging and you know it. Unless Martin always drives several hours away to another state to do his grocery shopping? She stared at Danny, waiting for him to reply.
I dont know where he went and neither does he, Danny replied quietly. Whoever did this, though, did have more in mind than a simple mugging. He paused. It got... a little personal. There were traces of Rohypnol in his blood work.
He was sexually assaulted? Vivian asked. Confirmed.
Danny nodded. Vivian sighed.
So then this really is going to be off the books. Hes not going to want any sort of prosecution, is he, she stated more than asked.
Danny shook his head. He cant remember anything about it, so it would be tough to prosecute anyway. I think the fact that his service weapon and ID are here, safe and sound, is good enough for him right now. That was his big concern, that someone might have used them.
Hed had to have reported it then, Vivian mused. She took a deep breath and let it out. Well, we could skip any assault charges and just go for possession of stolen property, she suggested. When Danny nodded for her to continue, she said, Martins credit card company got back to me. There were seven transactions between ten and midnight. And then another two around three a.m.
The two later ones were at a truck stop in Columbia, New Jersey - on the way to Stroudsburg, she said.
Okay, that makes sense, the guy stops, maybe get some gas before dumping Martin at the rest stop further on, Danny reasoned. What about the first ones? Theyre probably close to where they picked him up, right?
They took place at a couple of electronics stores downtown.
Downtown? Guess he was out on the town. Hell, he couldve been on the same block as me, Danny mused.
Vivian rose from the couch. Im gonna go take a look, she said, nodding her head towards the bedroom.
Danny nodded his head absently.
She opened the door to the bedroom and peeked in. She didnt like what she saw.
Returning to the living room, she pointed at her watch. I gotta get home to Reggie, now. Give Martin all the information when he wakes up, she suggested. Let him decide where he wants to go with it.
Even if all I want to do is hunt down the bastard and kill him?
Especially if thats what you want to do.
+ + + + + + +
Danny heard the low moan and then the cursing. He rose from the couch and headed into the bedroom.
Hey, he said, coming to sit on the edge of the bed.
Hey, Martin mumbled back, rubbing his chest. What time is it?
About six or so. Youve only been asleep for a few hours. How you doin?
Im still here, I guess.
You hungry? I got some pizza, Danny offered.
Sure, let me hit the bathroom first, though, Martin replied.
Danny reached over and got the crutches while Martin tried to maneuver toward the side of the bed.
You got it?
Yeah. Maybe. No.
Danny let out a chuckle and after putting the crutches down, gently grabbed Martins knee and lifted it, swinging the brace encased leg slowly to the side as Martin turned the rest of his body, groaning as his bruised torso protested. Danny helped him sit upright.
You want anything different to wear? Danny asked, gesturing to the sweatpants and tee-shirt Martin was wearing.
Maybe a sweatshirt; bottom drawer, Martin replied, pointing to the dresser.
Danny nodded and picked out an FBI sweatshirt from the drawer and handed it to Martin. Once he had it on, Martin planted his good leg on the floor. Danny offered his hand and pulled him upright. After an initial bit of swaying, Martin gained his balance and Danny handed him the crutches.
Gonna need any help in there? Danny asked.
I think I can handle it, thanks, Martin replied with a smirk, and then a moan as he started across the room.
Danny followed close behind anyway; making sure Martin could handle the trip, until Martin closed the bathroom door, leaving him in the hall. He then headed to the kitchen to reheat the leftover pizza.
A few minutes later, Martin hobbled down the hall. Danny pointed to the living room, and the couch. Grab a seat and keep that knee up. Ill bring the pizza in to you, he said.
Martin settled himself on the couch, propping his knee up on the pillow Danny had provided. Danny brought him his pizza, a can of soda and a handful of pills.
Thanks, Mom, Martin said with a smile.
Hey, dont get too used to this, Danny replied. Im gonna have to go back to work on Monday, you know.
Martin looked away, his mood changing.
Sorry, Danny said.
Sokay, Martin replied. He took a bite of the pizza. So what have you and Viv found out? Anything?
Danny took a deep breath and sat down on the coffee table, across from Martin. Vivs been in contact with your bank and credit card company. No more use on your ATM card. No one even attempted to use it. While you were sleeping, she got the info on your credit card. It was used a bunch of times between ten and midnight Friday night. And then again around three this morning. She left a print out, he said, reaching over to the other end of the coffee table to get the papers. He handed them to Martin.
Martin took a quick glance at them, remarking, Okay...
As you can see, the guy bought a bunch of things Downtown, probably right after he got you, Danny went on. You remember anything else?
Just going to one of the bars, having a drink or two.
Danny nodded. Probably where the guy doped you up; dropped the roofies, he speculated. Which bar?
After a moments hesitation, Martin replied, Marconis.
Remember anyone in particular being there? Talking to you?
Martin shook his head. What about the three am charges? he asked.
At a truck stop in Columbia, about five miles from where I picked you up, Danny replied. Looks like he gassed up his car and got some groceries. No other charges after that, so either he hasnt needed to use it, or figured that was all he was going to get from it and ditched it, not wanting to push his luck anymore.
Martin nodded his head.
Danny looked at the plate in Martins lap, untouched since the first bite. You better eat some more of that. Those meds are supposed to be taken with food, he warned.
Martin wanted to protest; he wasnt hungry anymore. But the look Danny was giving him brooked no argument. He took another bite of the pizza.
What about my phone?
A few minutes of silence while Martin ate the tasteless pizza.
We can find this guy, Fitz, Danny said. Before Martin could protest, he continued, We can just do simple possession of stolen property charges or theft of services. We dont need to do anything more. He put his hand on Martins good knee for emphasis and comfort.
Martin took a deep breath and let it out. I dont know, Danny, he whispered. Part of me really does want to get this guy, for what he did to me. I could care less about the money, he took part of me!
You dont want your personal life to become public, Danny finished. Martin nodded. I can understand that, Fitz. Really, I can.
I hate the fact that even you know... you know.
Viv figured it out, too, Danny said quietly, meeting Martins gaze when he looked up. Shes a smart lady, Fitz, you know that. Again, Martin nodded. So what do you want to do?
I dont like not knowing who this guy is, Danny, he replied. It ... it scares me. I mean, he could stand next to me on a street corner and I wouldnt even know it! What if I know him?!
Easy, easy, Danny soothed, hoping to calm the now agitated Martin down. I got an idea, okay? When he had Martins attention, he continued, I can go to those places he used your credit card, see if anyone had any video surveillance. Ill get some stills. Then you can look at them, see if you recognize the guy; make sure youll be able to recognize him if you see him again. Hows that? You still wont have to do anything, if you really dont want to.
Youll need a subpeona to get them, Martin countered.
Not necessarily, grasshopper. Ive got ways... he replied with a wink.
Martin chuckled at his partners sense of humor. Okay, he agreed.
Okay. Now finish up your dinner, young man!
+ + + + + + +
It hadnt been too much longer after Martin finished eating that the combined effects of the pain medicine hed taken and the injuries theyd been taken for had Martin starting to fall asleep on the couch. Danny talked him into going back to bed and helped him get there once again.
You dont have to stay, you know, Martin told him.
Youve got your own life to take care of. I understand.
Fitz? Ever consider that youre part of that life? Were friends. Partners. Im glad to be the one you called. Seeing Martins skeptical look, he added, Really, Martin. Another moment went by before Martin nodded his head. Now get some rest.
He turned out the light and headed for the living room again, picking up the phone when he got there.
+ + + + + + +
Danny? Martin called. He really needed to get up. He really needed to pee. Danny? he called again, struggling painfully to move to the side of the bed.
The bedroom door opened and he sighed in relief. The light turned on and he stopped short.
You all right? she asked, walking into the room. What do you need?
He went down to those electronics stores, to see if he could get some video images, she replied. She ignored the look of disappointment that came over Martins face. You need some help getting up?
Yeah, thanks. Gotta go, he admitted with a shrug, somewhat sheepishly.
Dont be embarrassed, Martin, Vivian said, helping him to stand and handing him the crutches.
What time is it? How long ago did he leave? Martin asked as he crossed the room.
Its almost eleven. I got here around nine or so, she replied.
A few minutes later he met her in the kitchen. I appreciate everything youve done so far, Viv, he said, taking a seat at the table. Vivian moved another chair out and gently lifted Martins leg up to elevate his knee. Thanks, he said. Taking time out from your weekend, away from your family. I know you didnt have to do any of this.
Youre right, Martin. I am taking time from my weekend, away from my family. But youre also wrong. I did have to do this, she replied, sitting down at the table with him. She took hold of his hand. Martin, youre more than just a coworker. Youre a friend, and friends do for each other.
Thanks, Viv, he replied, giving her hand a squeeze.
She smiled and squeezed back. How you doing? Need anything for pain? Danny said youd probably be due for another dose around midnight.
Yeah, another one would be good, to tell the truth, he said.
+ + + + + + +
Martin and Vivian had been switching back and forth between Mad TV and Saturday Night Live when they heard keys jingling just before the door to the apartment unlocked and opened.
Hey, Danny said, greeting Martin and Vivian as he entered and closed the door behind him. He didnt miss the expectant look on Martins face. I got some stills of our guy, he announced, holding up some photos.
Vivian moved over to make room for him on the couch, next to Martin.
You ready? Danny asked.
Yeah, I think so, Martin replied.
Danny handed him three photographs.
Five of the places that showed up on your credit card report had video, Danny reported. I was able to look at three of them, and this guy showed up at all of them. Hes gotta be our man.
Do you recognize him? Vivian asked.
Martins hands were shaking as he held the photos, looking at them one by one.
We can always go to the truck stop in Columbia. Theyll probably have a license plate we can run, Vivian suggested.
Fitz? Danny called again when Martin still hadnt spoken.
I dont know his name, Martin finally replied. But I think Ive seen him before. At Marconis.
Well thats a start then, Danny said. If you recognize him, then maybe hes a regular there, or maybe one of the bartenders might know him.
But the big question is, Martin, Vivian began. What do you want to do? Do you want him arrested?
Or, maybe Viv and I could just have a little chat with him, Danny suggested, smacking his right fist into his left palm.
Martin put the pictures down and scrubbed his hands down his face, wincing when he touched his puffy, bruised eye. I dont know, he murmured. I think it was easier when we didnt have a face to put on this guy. I still dont remember anything he did to me. He let out a frustration-filled sigh. I mean, what if he wasnt alone? What if he just took the credit card and someone else... hurt... me?
You havent remembered anything else about what happened? Danny asked, recalling Dr. Welles earlier opinion.
Martin shook his head.
Look, Vivian started, getting the mens attention. Its been a very long and traumatic day. Theres no need to make any decisions right now. I suggest we all get a good nights sleep and talk some more later this afternoon. Agreed?
Martin and Danny looked at each other and nodded their heads. Agreed, they said in unison.
Ill call you around two, okay? she asked.
Sounds good, Martin replied. Thanks, Viv.
Remember what I told you earlier: friends do for each other, she replied as she rose from the couch. She leaned over and kissed the top of Martins head and said, Get some rest.
Danny saw her to the door and locked it behind her. Then he turned to Martin.
Come on, lets get you to bed. You look like shit.
Feel like shit, Martin agreed, reaching for his crutches.
Danny helped him off the couch and followed him to the bedroom, helping him lie down once there.
All set? he asked.
You gonna stay? Martin asked in return.
Danny didnt miss the hopeful look, despite Martins attempt at nonchalance.
If its okay with you. I think Im too tired to drive home, he replied. Ill just crash on the couch. I saw the extra blankets and stuff in your closet earlier. After he got the aforementioned items, he added, Call me if you need anything. Then he took the pillow and blanket and headed to the living room.
Goodnight, Martin whispered.
+ + + + + + +
Martin didnt sleep well. He would have been tossing and turning in his bed, if hed been able to move. As it was, his mind did enough tossing and turning, though.
He couldnt decide what to do. As a law enforcement officer, he knew the right thing to do was to go after the guy, arrest him, prosecute him for everything hed done. Who knew how many other people this guy had victimized? he thought. Or would victimize, if not stopped.
But then, there was also the fact, or so Martin believed, that as a law enforcement officer, he shouldnt have been victimized; he should have known better; he should have seen the bad guy coming; he should have fought harder
No! Martin shouted, sitting up abruptly, a sudden flashback bringing back the fear, the helplessness.
Danny rushed into the bedroom, having heard Martins shout, and found his friend sitting up, hyperventilating.
Martin? he called, gently grasping Martins arms as he sat on the bed. Easy now, calm down. Youre safe. Its over, he soothed, rubbing his hands up and down Martins arms and back. Youre safe. Its over, he repeated.
A few minutes passed while Martin rested in Dannys arms and his breathing slowed. Danny continued to gently rub Martins arms and back until Martin sat up again, holding himself up.
Better? Danny asked.
No. A pause, then, I think it was better not knowing. When he lifted his gaze to meet Dannys he continued, I remember struggling. I think it was at the rest stop, where you found me. I dont remember how we got there, though.
What else? Was it the guy in the photo? Any weapons?
I dont know, Martin lamented, putting his head in his hands. Its all just a blur, nothing clear, nothing concrete. But I remember fighting.
Danny nodded, seeing the little bit of satisfaction in Martins eyes.
He probably gave you enough Rohypnol to get you out of the bar and out of the city; enough to affect your memory, Danny spoke quietly. But not enough to keep you compliant for that long, though.
We need to stop this guy, Danny.
I know. But do you want to do it on or off the books?
Martin thought for a minute. I dont know, he replied, shaking his head, breathing out a frustrated sigh. No. I cant I
Okay, Danny, nodding, interrupting. Next question youre going to be out of service for a while, until you get that knee fixed up. Insurance companys already got the real story - whats the story at work going to be?
I got mugged; case is being handled by another jurisdiction?
We could work with that and its close to the truth, not likely to come back and bite you in the ass.
Doesnt get the guy off the street, though, Martin lamented.
Then maybe hell need a personal visit from Agent Danny Taylor, FBI, Danny replied, puffing up his chest a bit. Let me talk to him; ID him. Well run a history on him and then, if we get more info, or if you dont think hes repentant enough, you can change your mind. How about that?
Now, its Danny looked at the bedside clock, five thirty a.m. How about we try to get some sleep? You need anything else?
A trip to the john and some more pain meds? Not necessarily in that order?
Sure. Ill be right back.
+ + + + + + +
Later that afternoon, Vivian arrived, carrying groceries. Danny had opened the door for her and helped carry the packages into the kitchen.
I figured Martin wouldnt be up to grocery shopping or cooking any time soon, she said, unpacking the bags and stowing the items into the cabinets and refrigerator. Thought Id make up a few things for him. He sleeping? she asked, not having seen Martin yet.
Yeah, took some more pain meds a little while ago, Danny replied.
Has he come to any decisions?
Yeah. Danny sat down heavily onto one of the kitchen chairs and sighed. Hes keeping it off the books. Gonna take sick leave at work, tell people he got hurt during a mugging, I know, not too far from the truth, and say it happened outside the city, in Jersey, maybe.
The look in Dannys eyes, the simultaneous anger and sadness, caught at Vivian. She sat down, too. He remembered. Danny nodded his head. Is he going to do anything else?
Im going to track the guy down. Have a little chat with him.
Ill join you when the time comes, Vivian said.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, each pondering what had happened to their friend; what they wanted to do to the man that caused him such pain. Vivian looked at Danny again.
Im glad we could be here for him, she said, simply.
Their musings were interrupted by Martin coming down the hall, his crutches thumping on the carpet.
Fitz? Danny called, coming down the hall. What are you doing up? You should be sleeping still.
Just too uncomfortable. Never was a back sleeper, I guess, he replied with a shrug. Hey, Viv, he greeted her.
Hi, Martin, she replied. How are you today?
Better, he answered, heading for the couch. Danny fill you in yet?
Yes, she said, taking a seat on the other end of the couch, fixing the pillow under Martins knee. Have you called work yet? Told them youd be on sick leave?
Yeah, I did that this morning. Called Jack, too, Martin replied.
Whatd he have to say?
Just told me to take it easy, and that if I needed anything case related or otherwise to give him a call.
Vivian smiled. Good.
And Danny took a personal day tomorrow, Martin went on. Gonna help me out some more, take me to the orthopedist. He smiled warmly at Danny.
Viv brought some groceries, Danny announced, pointing to the kitchen, changing the subject. Should keep you fed for a few days.
Really? Martin responded, surprised. He followed Dannys hand and saw the paper grocery bags on the counter. Thanks, Viv. What do I owe you?
Dont worry about it, she said.
Its all cheap store brand stuff anyway, Danny put in with a smile, winking at Vivian.
My favorite, Martin replied.
Dont listen to him, Martin, Vivian said. Hes just jealous because Im going to cook up a bunch of meals for you while Im here today. Between some lasagna and beef stew, it should last you the week.
And while shes doing that, Im going to head back to my place for a bit get some clean clothes and check the mail and such, Danny said, heading for the door. Ill be back in a couple hours.
Martin and Vivian watched Danny leave the apartment before Viv headed back to the kitchen to start making some meals for Martin.
+ + + + + + +
When Danny returned later that night, Vivian had already left.
Ooh, left by yourself for a bit, he remarked as he closed the door to the apartment, dropping two duffel bags by his feet.
Time off for good behavior, I guess, Martin replied from the couch. You pack enough stuff for the night? he asked, pointing to the duffel bags.
You all right? Need anything? Danny asked as he approached.
Im good. Viv left me well supplied, he said, gesturing to the coffee table, laden with food, water, medicine bottles, magazines and remotes.
She been gone long? I thought Id be back sooner, Danny spoke as he took a seat on the opposite end of the couch. Traffic was a bitch on the way home, then I got caught up answering some email and then realized that I didnt have any clean clothes, so I...
Its okay, Danny, Martin interrupted. Im okay. Eyes met. After a few moments, Martin gestured to the duffel bags again. Brought your laundry with you? he asked.
Danny nodded sheepishly and shrugged. You do know where the laundry room in the building is, right? Not everything you wear is sent to the cleaners, I hope?
Martin smiled and laughed. Basement. Turn left out of the elevator. Detergents at the bottom of the linen closet.
Brought my own, Danny replied.
The men were silent again for a few minutes, for some reason, they didnt know what to say to each other. Finally, Danny rose from the couch and headed for the door.
Well, I guess Ill just go do that. Be right back, he said, getting a nod in return from Martin.
Hey, Danny? Martin called. When Danny turned, his face expectant, Martin continued, Thanks, man. I dont know what I would have done without you, and Viv, too.
Thats what friends are for, buddy.
+ + + + + + +
Danny spent the next day with Martin, bringing him first to an orthopedists office and then, later to work, to the personnel office. Martin handed in some paperwork from the doctor, with an estimate of how long hed be out of work and such. He talked to the woman that worked there about possibly being allowed to work light-duty, basically chained to his desk, so that he wouldnt have to use so much sick time.
Later, Danny drove him home to his apartment. They decided to order some Chinese food for dinner and have it delivered, saving Vivians lasagna and beef stew for later in the week.
They had talked about trying to find the man from the picture and confronting him. Theyd try Marconis first, on Friday night, thinking that from past history hed most likely show up on that night. Martin wasnt sure he was ready to go there anytime sooner, anyway.
Ive gotta head back to work tomorrow, Danny said as they ate their dinners. You gonna be okay by yourself?
Yeah, Danny. Thanks. I think I can manage on my own now, he replied.
Good, Danny said. You know my number if you need anything.
Martin nodded. He knew he had it good despite what had happened to him over the weekend, he came to realize what valuable friends he had in Danny and Vivian.
+ + + + + + +
The next few days passed slowly for Martin. His days were spent lying on the couch, sleeping and watching television. The only good parts of the day were when those activities were interrupted by phone calls from Danny and Vivian, checking up on him. Both had stopped by several times, as well, with Danny coming after work and spending the evening with him.
By the time Friday came, Martin was ready to get out and go to Marconis to look for the bad guy, if only because it would get him out of the apartment. He was enthusiastic when Danny and Vivian came to pick him up, but as they parked outside the club, that changed. Danny looked to the back seat and Martins eyes. He saw the fear in them.
You sure about this? You dont have to go in, you know, he told Martin.
Weve already talked to the bouncer, Vivian added. He says hes a regular on Friday nights and didnt think tonight would be any different. We can handle it ourselves, if you want.
Martin nodded, knowing the two were right. But hed also spent all week thinking about this moment, this confrontation. Hed well rehearsed what he would say to the man, given the chance.
I have to do this, he said. I have to do this, he repeated, with more conviction.
Danny nodded. All right, then. Lets do it.
They helped Martin out of the car and made their way to the entrance of the club.
Hey, Viv? Danny asked. I forget, am I gonna be the good cop or the bad cop?
Once inside, the three made their way to a table, Danny and Vivian making sure Martin had a clear path, and then made sure they had a clear view of the entrance, so theyd know when the man came in. Danny went to the bar and got them some drinks, nothing alcoholic, they all wanted to stay sober for this, and they sat.
The three talked, about work and the people there and about anything else that came up while waiting for their man. Finally, about an hour later, he showed up.
There he is, Vivian said, nodding her head toward the entrance. She looked quickly to Martin, glad that she and Danny were there with him. She picked up the slight tremor that had gone through him.
Stay here, Danny told Martin, giving him a quick pat on the arm, before he and Vivian stood.
Martin nodded his head and watched the pair head for the bar. He also noticed Danny pulling out his cell phone and making a call. It didnt last long.
Danny and Vivian flanked the man, Vivian taking a seat to his left and Danny, one to his right.
How ya doin tonight? Danny asked him.
The man turned toward Danny and, seeing a young, attractive man, smiled. A whole lot better, now, he replied. How about you? Dont think Ive seen you here before. Whats your name?
Special Agent Danny Taylor, FBI, he replied casually, bringing out his ID. But hey, enough about me. Whats your name?
The man had started to rise from his bar stool when he felt a hand grip his shoulder, pushing him back down.
I dont think so, Vivian said to him. I think youre going to sit right here and answer the mans question. Now. Whats your name?
ID, Danny ordered, holding out his hand.
When the man hesitated again, Vivan pushed his head down against the bar and held it there with her left hand. With her legs, she kicked the bar stool out from under him, causing him to grip the bar with his hands as he quickly moved his feet apart to gain his balance. While still holding his head tightly against the bar, Vivian began to search his pockets.
She found the mans wallet first, and threw it onto the bar, in front of Danny. Then she found a small bottle of pills and threw them onto the bar. Next came his car keys, cell phone and some condoms.
Whats this all about?! he protested, his voice muffled against the wood.
Danny had picked up the wallet. Well, Mr. Stanley Jameson, he began, this is about a friend of ours. A friends that wasnt happy about things you did to him.
I dont know what youre talking about, he said, fighting against Vivians grip.
She shoved him down against the bar again, eliciting a shout of pain from him.
How about these pictures? Danny asked him, putting the photos of the man using Martins stolen credit card in front of his face. You could get three to five for possession of stolen property and theft of services. Add a few more years for assault, kidnapping, sodomy, facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance I think you get the picture.
Vivian dug her nails into the mans neck.
Now, Mr. Jameson, she said, whispering in his ear. Right now, were just investigating things. Despite the list Agent Taylor just rattled off for you, we arent pressing charges.
Yet, Danny intoned.
Yet, Vivian repeated. But you know what? Im going to be doing a very extensive background check on you.
And Im going to be watching you.
And if we see anything, anything, like what happened to our friend last week Vivian paused to make sure she had Jamesons attention. She allowed him to stand up and made sure he was facing her, looking in her eyes. You can say good-bye to these, she added, sending her knee into his groin, lifting him a few inches into the air.
He crumpled at her feet, groaning crying as he held onto his injured genitals.
Danny, I think you forgot resisting arrest Vivian said.
Any questions? Danny asked, looking down at the man.
No, he gasped out.
Good, Danny replied. Oh, and by the way. These are some nice NYPD officers that want to talk to you, he added, gesturing to two uniformed officers standing behind him.
He your guy? the female officer asked.
No, not him, Danny replied with a shrug. But we did find some roofies on him. Think you can handle it? he added, tossing the male officer the bottle hed found on Jameson.
Roofies, huh? the officer asked in reply. Gee, I wonder what someone would be doin with them?
Dont know, Bos, but youre welcome to ask him back at your house, Danny replied. Thanks for the back up. Good seeing you, too, Faith.
The woman nodded as she watched her partner cuff and search Jameson.
Danny and Vivian walked away from the trio, giving Jameson one last look, then headed back toward the table, and Martin.
I guess I was the good cop, huh Viv, Danny said, wincing inwardly at her earlier action.
He didnt have anything there to hurt, she murmured in reply.
When they got to the table, Martin was standing, ready to go.
Well? he asked.
He denied it, of course, Vivian replied.
But we got our point across, Danny added.
Whats with the uniforms? Martin asked.
Just some back up, Vivian replied.
And theyre taking him in for possession of a nice little bottle of roofies that he had on him, Danny added.
So it was him, Martin whispered, looking back at the man as the uniformed officers took him out of the bar.
I think we can be pretty sure, Vivian replied.
So you got his ID? For the criminal history check? Martin asked.
Yeah, dont worry about it, Danny replied. Now lets get out of here, huh?
The other two nodded their heads and made their way to the bars entrance/exit.
Once in the car and headed for Martins apartment, Martin said, Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. Everything.
Friends do for each other, Martin, Vivian said, repeating her words from earlier in the week.
And Ive got two of the best, he replied.