Categories > TV > Sentinel
"Do you trust me?"
"I'm afraid of the dark..."
"Do you trust me?"
"Then step into the dark, I am right next to you." -Anonymous
"Rafe, come on..."
"Rafe, for me please."
"Jim, why is it so important for you that you fix me up with this date?" Rafe looked at his large friend, Jim, and wondered if he didn't agree to this date, would Jim set Blair on him?
"'Cause you are perfect for him. Please?" Jim batted his eyelashes at his recalcitrant friend.
"Don't do that, it's unnatural. If and only if I agree, will you stop bugging me?"
"Yes, but Rafe... you know he is dead, right?"
"Yes, Jim. Every night."
"You aren't Rafe and I want you happy again."
"What's his name again?"
"Riddick. Thanks. Tonight, 8:30, The Skylight."
"K." I'm sorry, husband, but he's right. I am still alive.
"Riddick, may I speak to you for a minute?"
Riddick looked up from the computer game he was playing at the sound of his Captain's voice. Silently, he paused his game and followed his Captain into the office.
"We have a problem. The bosses think only you can help solve this one." Captain Nolan handed Riddick a file. Riddick looked down and read the tab. His fist clenched the folder, creating small tears. "Lawrence Johns escaped. They believe he is heading somewhere to the Pacific Northwest. Our biggest lead is a city called Cascade. You will go there and work with a detective from Major Crimes. You and he will capture Johns. And Riddick... he's wanted Dead or Alive. I'd prefer dead. Your transport will leave in two hours from Steengen Air Base. Dismissed."
With a curt nod, Riddick left the office. It was a good thing that the Army experiments had left him unable to see in the light without sunglasses. If they had, then several people on the street, upon seeing his eyes would surely have turned to stone.
"Jim, I'm not sure about this..."
"You promised, Rafe. He's coming."
"Lt. Riddick, sir? We've landed. Please step this way."
Riddick followed the private down the steps from the plane and walked over to the terminal. Riddick walked through the terminal and looked outside. It was dark, but not dark enough to take off his goggles. Turning he headed downstairs and out of the terminal. As he walked out, he bumped into a short curly headed young man.
"Oh, hey, sorry man. Hey, are you Riddick?" he asked.
"Yes, and you are?"
"Oh, I'm Blair. Jim sent me to pick you up. Cool goggles. He told me that you are real sensitive to light, which means you can't stay at the loft. We sorta... I sorta felt claustrophobic so Jim did some home improvement stuff and everything is very open and well lit in the day and pitch black at night. The night would be fine for you but there'd be nowhere to go during the day. Any how but I got this friend, who I'd swear, is a vampire, who agreed to let you borrow his place. It's so cool..."
Riddick looked at Blair with wonder. Does this child ever stop to breathe? How do you find them, James?
"Oh man, I'm sorry I've just been talking, is there anything you need to ask?"
"'Kay, umm can I ask you a question?"
Nodding, Riddick turned to look at Blair.
"Jim didn't tell you that I was meeting you right? So why did you get into the car with me?"
"Because even if you were dangerous, I could still kill you."
"Oh." After a moment Blair resumed his chatter, all the way to the house.
"Riddick. How are you?"
A slight turning up of one side of his lips and a raised eyebrow surveyed Jim. "Good. I can still see in the dark. And I see why you work with the kid. He's a potent weapon."
"Yeah, he is. He talked the entire ride didn't he?"
"JIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMMMM!" Blair wailed. "Riddick ignore him - he thinks he's funny," turning to Jim, "Jim it's already 6:30."
"Yeah, I know, Guppy. Riddick? Umm, I set you up on a date tonight. Real nice guy. Named Rafe." As Jim told Riddick, he backed up, placing Blair behind him. "8:30, k? We'll be back to pick you up."
Riddick glared at his friend and pointed to the door. Jim left quickly and dragged Blair with him.
"Jim, what was all that about?"
"Riddick getting pissed."
"'Cause, Chief, he hates blind dates."
"Ulp. Do you still think he's perfect for Rafe? OUR Rafe?"
"Yeah, they'll love each other, Chief."
8:30 The Skylight Restaurant
If he doesn't show up, I'll kill Ellison. Rafe looked down at his hands. So intent was he in his thoughts he did not hear his date show up behind him.
Riddick looked at the man in front of him. Well-built, stocky young man, beautiful dark cream skin and hair, and best of all clean. James, you certainly outdid yourself tonight. Smiling slightly, he walked over and put his hand on Rafe's shoulder.
"Wha! Oh, you must be Riddick. I'm Rafe." Rafe smiled at Riddick slightly. Wow. Ellison said his eyes light sensitive. I hope the candles don't hurt his eyes. Nice smile though. Not at all like... stop it, Brian. He's dead. "So, what are you in the mood to eat tonight?
As they finished the meal, an observer who, if they had a chance to watch the meal, would have decided that the food was nice but not outstanding and the company was mixed. In Riddick's dark goggled eyes, it was wonderful. In Rafe's eyes, it was disloyal to his dead husband to have so much fun.
"Rafe, may I ask you a question?"
"James told me you were unmarried but..."
"I'm a widower, I kept the ring..."
"To remember him by or to keep the sharks away?"
"Yes. Can I ask you a personal question?"
"The goggles. I agreed to an army experiment to enhance sight. It was hoped that I would be able to control to a greater degree how much light would enty puy pupils. If it worked, I would be able to see in the almost darkness, like a cat. But it failed. My pupils no longer contract. I cannot see in the light without my goggles. Only in the dark."
"I really don't mind it, Rafe. I'm often assigned to cases where they have given up. In addition to being able to see in the dark, I can also see some infrared and UV but most of my work is done in the dark. Also with the ges, es, I can function in direct sunlight."
"Wow, it must be incredible. What do you do in the army? I mean, Jim has told me that you work in the Criminal Investigation Division but not what you do exactly."
"I'm into Fugitive Retrieval. I get to bring crooks in and I'm good enough to get the worse cases. In fact, tomorrow I start another case. I'll probably see you there, if you work in the same department as Jim."
"Yeah, wow. What kind of case?"
"No business at the dinner table. Are you ready to go?"
"Well, I would think after spending all day with the criminal element you would prefer not to discuss them. Besides I rather find out more about you." Rafe smiled.
"Ahh ok. Jim gave you a ride?"
"I walked so, I guess I should walk you home." Rafe said as he stood up.
"No, I'll walk you home. I can see in the dark better than you, remember?" Riddick said, giving Rafe a half smile. "Where is home?"
After paying the check, Rafe and Riddick slowly walked the couple of miles to Rafe's house. Outside the moon was full and the wind blew gently. The tall buildings loomed over the two men. In the crisp air Rafe shivered. Without a thought, Riddick removed his jacket and placed it around Rafe's shoulders. Pulling Rafe close, Riddick navigated them to Rafe's house.
Damn, Walter, he's so nice and comfortable. I like this. Nice dinner, nice date, Nice everything. Walter, he's gentle. He looks like he could kill without a thought but he's gentle. Would it be wrong?
"You seem to be thinking something troubling."
Lifting his finger to trace the worry lines on Rafe's forehead. "You are worrying about something. Don't. I will see you tomorrow, Rafe. Until then." With that, Riddick turned and left.
"RAFE! In here. Now." Captain Banks yelled out into the squad room.
"Yes, Captain," Rafe answered. Getting up, Rafe walked into Bank's office.
"Rafe, this is Lieutenant Riddick, you will be working with him in connection with to an escaped criminal. One Lawrence Johns. This man is dangerous and so is Johns. Now go forth and make sure Johns sins no more. Dismissed."
"Rafe, apparently you do not realize that when I say dismissed, you are no longer here. That means you are out this door, with Riddick. Good day." At this, Captain Banks opens the door and indicated for them to leave.
Walking out into the pen, Rafe RiddRiddick scanned the room for Ellison and Blair. Noticing a patch of dark bouncing curls in a corner, Riddick headed straight for them. Slowly the curls turned and Blair's face appeared. Slipping an arm around Rafe, Riddick smiled at Ellison.
"Hey Rafe, how was the date last night?" Ellison asked.
"He doesn't kiss and tell, James." Riddick answered.
"To do that we would have to kiss," Rafe said. "It was fine."
"Cool man, hey, James said you had a case for us. Cool. What..." Blair jumped in.
"He never stays silent, James. I thought you hated that." Riddick said as he watched Jim's excitable partner
"I did, then I got Blair, now I can't shake him." Jim smiled at the top of his guppy's head.
"Come on, Rafe, let's let the funny men talk." Blair huffed as he dragged Rafe away.
"Sure, let's let them think they are funny." Rafe muttered.
The two men looked after their younger counterparts and laughed silently.
"Ok, his name is Lawrence Johns. Born 5-3-37. Age: 33. No military service, classified unstable. Has an addictive personality and is at this time addicted to morphine which he takes in directly through the eye. Johns thinks of himself as a genius, the master manipulator.
"He was a civil criminal but the scope of his actions were so great that they asked the local army base for help. I was selected. Johns is guilty of at least 23 murders and is thought to be responsible for 6 more. When there was actual possibility of capture, Johns ran across the country. He was finally apprehended in a small town about 48 miles from here.
"Three days before his capture, he killed two young children, twins. He must have searched for them, considering how specific they were. The twins were brother and sister. The girl had dark hair and dark eyes, she also wore glasses. Her brother had light brown/blonde hair with gray eyes.
"They were found tied together in a yin/yang format. The next day, we learned of another kidnapping of twins. They too, were foundd, td, tied also in this manner, two days before his capture. This time the girl was blond with blue eyes, the boy was dark haired with dark brown eyes. That day, I received a note, it came with two pictures. Both pictures showed two children tied up in his signature way, unfortunately it was not any of the twins we already knew about. That meant he kidnapped another set of twins. If I wanted to save them then I needed to come alone to a stadium. For all his arrogance, Johns failed.
"He failed because he underestimated me. He thought that my goggles were my weakness, that I wore them to protect my eyes but he didn't know why. He suspected that I was exposed to something but he didn't know what. He believed that if he caught me in the stadium he could blind me with light.
"Our shrinks, believe that Johns kidnaps twins because he sees me and him as twins. That we are both very intelligent men, that we are opposites. I am in law enforcement, I am army, and I am what he should be. He prefers to break laws that he believes do not and can not apply to him, he will never be army, and he is what he should not be. This is emphasized by his selection in the twins, all set being completely opposite. One is always blond or light haired, light eyes. The other is dark haired, dark eyes. He always switches gender and age. If one time the blond is female and younger, next time it will be male and older.
"His mistake in all this complex plan was simple. I was the only one who came so close to catching him and he, with his arrogance, wanted to 'play'. What he didn't know was that this particular stadium was built after 2015."
"Um, why is that important?" Blair asked as the other two men nodded.
"Because, all public places that are meant to hold more than a hundred people were designed were designed with a built in breaker that can be broken. So when I got there, he flicked the lights, the cops turned them off. As I told Rafe earlier, I can see in the dark better than anyone. I lowered the kids below the stands and shot out Johns' kneecap.
"He escaped from one of the states maximum security prisons. They didn't believe me when I said he should be placed in a military prison. I need to put him back. I need your help.
"My boss said Johns' wanted Dead or Alive."
The meeting soon broke up and the hungry detective went to lunch. After lunch, they broke up into their respective pairs to work on the Johns case.
"Riddick, why did Johns go after you?" Rafe asked as they read though the second kidnapping report what seemed like the tenth time.
"Because I was and still am, Army. He wanted the job I have. His father was a bounty hunter, he grew up collecting bounties. You know that Army bounties are the best. Even if they aren't called that anymore."
"What?! The army gives bounties?"
"Yeah, you see. It was ok to have MPs and CID but later soldiers had to be more and more highly trained and they also learned to be better and better criminals. So for a period of about 25 years, the Army gave bounties so that they could have the time to build a whole new squad dedicated to catching those better criminal soldiers. To make sure that these criminals were considered seriously, they gave out bounties. Any hunter could go and find them and collect it. Even if they were in the Army. When the crack squad was ready they stopped giving bounties. So they said, but for Johns, I will get a 'bonus' of about $1,000,000. And because you are my primary partner so will you. Jim and Blair will receive $750,000 each. The Army will pay for any injuries sustained and any property damaged. Why do you think your captain was so happy to get this case? He doesn't want Johns but he got me. You, Jim, and Blair will get a lot money. Cascade will get good press and federal preference for their cooperation with the Army."
"I didn't know that. But if Johns is not Army, why is Army hunting him?"
"Well, the locals asked us too. And he has a tendency kidnap children of Armed Forces members."
"Hmmm, hey, so where are we going for dinner tonight?"
Behind his goggles, Riddick's eyes went wide and closed briefly. "What do you feel like eating?"
"Well how about Chinese, Kung Pao Chicken?"
"Yeah, ok. Hey, look at the screen, a new kidnapping report. Twins."
Damn you, Johns. Why now?!
"Ok, Johns is ready to make his move. He's taken two children. Alex W. and Alex R. Feder. A set of twins, Alex William Feder is twelve years old, at 5 foot 3 inches, he is two inches taller than his sister, though he is almost 4 minutes younger. He has dark red hair and light green eyes. Alex Ronica Feder is 4 minutes older than her brother though she is shorter, she has a very light strawberry curls and dark blue, almost violet eyes. There's a problem here.
"Johns is meticulous, but he just made a mistake and when he finds out he made a mistake, he will kill them both. I will not allow it. The mistake is this - last time he was out, the first set of twins he kidnapped, the girl was older, the boy younger. The next set was reversed with the boy older, the girl younger. The third, he reversed again with the girl older and the boy younger. This breaks his pattern. The man is obsessed with balance. He will kill them and find new bait. We must get him now. The problem with Cascade is that you have done way too well with controlled substances. There are very few places where he can get morphine. Taking that into account as well the fact that he like to show off I have come up with the most likely place for him to be.
"Jim, I need your talents. You always did well. I need you to see if he's in the building, Listen but don't go in. Blair, you anchor him. Rafe, you come with me."
"Um hey?" Blair asked hesistantly.
"Blair?" Riddick turned towards him.
"Where are we going?"
"The old Rainier University Auditorium."
Jim could hear the cries of the children coming from the auditorium. They sounded so scared, whimpering and crying softly. Sitting in the car, Jim swore that they would catch this man and make sure he never hurt anyone again, after all they did say 'dead or alive'.
"I can hear them. They are so scared. Riddick, you did say they said dead or alive, right?"
"Yeah, but I can tell you what their preference is."
"I think it's the same as mine."
"Go for it."
"Riddick," Rafe asked to break the mutual 'Kill Johns Society' before said society broke in and started hacking Johns to death, "how are we going to get them, much less Johns?"
"Easy, I have a plan. Jim, you take Blair and enter from the back, he knows how I hate to work with others. Rafe, you will enter from the basement. I'll go in and challenge him. He wants a fair fight stacked in his corner so let's give him one. Now, I'm not going to give you methodical instructions, you will simply have to have enough cop sense to do the right thing. Let's go."
Rafe carefully scuttled underneath the bleachers to get in place. Watching from beneath the bleachers, he saw Riddick stood at the top. Johns was on the high stage that Rainier had used for balcony scenes. The children hung suspended from the ceiling. He heard Riddick faintly, challenge Johns. He heard Riddick call Johns a coward, a man who hides behind children. Peering up through the spaces between seats, Rafe could see Riddick shake the children bound together in the yin/yang twist. Rafe could hear Johns laugh. It was a twisted, sick sound. Johns shook the kids again and one of them let out a yelp. Rafe now understood why the Army had made its own force. Rafe wondered how much it cost to join the 'Let's Kill Johns Society' for a lifetime membership. Slowly Rafe climbed up, silently, through the seats and took up watch.
"Johns, let the kids go and I'll kill you fast."
"Really? Well I think I like having them, maybe I'll keep them."
"They won't do you any good, they're the wrong twins. She's older by four minutes. They won't work in your psycho drama, Lawrence."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!"
"Why? It's what your mama named you."
"I DON'T LIKE IT! MAYBE I'LL KILL THEM NOW!"
"Go ahead but the minute you take your eyes off me, I'll kill you. You know that."
"Unless I kill you first."
"Try, it won't work."
"Maybe it will, maybe it won't."
"It won't, Lawrence, so sorry."
Right then, a clatter sounded and a cat ran out from under the bleachers and over Johns foot. "Who's there, Riddick. Who's your back up?"
"Johns, you know me. You know I hate back up. They are never where you need them. More trouble than they are worth."
"Yeah, but this time...."
"This time nothing. I don't do back up."
"Ok, fine. Now this little girl LIED to me."
"Why, cause you were too stupid to know which one was older, you pathetic worm?"
"Fine, I'll kill her then."
"Go ahead, makes no difference to me, just another person to add to your body count, not that we count them anymore."
"No, pointless. You see, Lawrence. We. Don't. Give. A. Damn. You already earned a death sentence so it doesn't matter what who you kill anymore, you're going to die." Riddick gave Johns his killer smile. "And you are going to die, now."
At that minute, Jim Ellison fired his gun.
Johns jumped forward off the stage and rolled into the bleachers. Rafe ran towards him. Johns ran close to the floor and headed for Riddick.
NO. Not yet. I haven't made up my mind. You don't get to take him away yet.
Rafe chased Johns up, leaping over risers two at a time.. Then came the worst thing that could happen. Metal fatigue in the bleacher creaked and cracked. Johns turned around, drew his gun and shot at the riser behind him. It collapsed. Rafe grabbed a strut and held on. He tried not to look down since it made him dizzy.
"RAFE!" Riddick yelled as he ran over to Rafe.
"Johns is getting away, get him, Riddick." Rafe yelled as Johns ran to the edge and jumped down.
"First we get you up, all right?"
"No, get Johns. I want him dead."
"Well you can't want anything if you are dead, give me your hand."
"Riddick, you are a stubborn bastard."
"Yep, stubborn enough to continue to chase a man who doesn't want to be caught." Riddick admitted.
"Stubborn or stupid?"
Behind them they could hear Jim and Blair bound up the risers. Riddick waved them back. Jim turned and smiled back at Blair. "Guys, where I am glad that you've decided to start seriously dating, I think that this date would work better with Rafe not hanging off a support strut of a half destroyed decaying metal bleacher in an auditorium."
"James, you are a master of understatement, so how about you go rescue the kids and I will bring my dinner partner up. Johns is gone." Riddick's voice stabbed at them like ice swords.
James and Blair moved away from what they rightly tho to to be a dangerously growling Riddick. They back up and went to the high stage, Blair grabbed the kids and Jim went up onto the catwalk to let them loose.
"Hey it's ok, we got ya. Jim?"
"I called it in while I was up there. Ambulance is on its way." Turning to the kids, Jim whispered, "It'll be ok. We'll catch him. It'll be all right. I promise."
The sentinel and his guide took their time untangling the children, trying their best not to hurt the children anymore than they already had been.
"They said dead, right?"
"Yeah, Chief they did."
Up on the bleachers, Riddick held Rafe. "So will you go out with me after we finish the paperwork?"
"I don't know. I'll be pretty wiped."
"Then come home with me, I'll cook."
"You can cook?"
"Yeah, so will you?"
"Rafe, I'm holding you at about 100 feet of the ground and you refuse my offer of a date?"
"Pull me up and you got one."
"K." Riddick leaned forward a bit, then pulled Rafe up until he had his arm around Rafe's waist. On swift tug and he pulled Rafe up, holding him face to face, Riddick tried not to smile.
"You could've done that any time and you didn't?"
"I needed a date with you."
"You can ask."
"You might've said no."
"Riddick. Next time I will." Rafe said as he walked down the bleacher steps and over to the kids. In the distance the sirens wailed.
Rafe turned down the lights and lit the candles. He could hear Riddick in the kitchen. Rafe set the table and stepped back to look at it. The table was a smooth golden colored wood, the plates were a delicate cream trimmed in gold. The glasses were crystal with just a faint hint of gold. It was a good table.
Rafe was so involved in admiring the table, he did not hear Riddick move up behind him. Riddick slipped an arm around Rafe's waist. Leaning closer he whispered, "You are more beautiful in candlelight than I would have dreamed."
Rafe blushed and turned to Riddick. As he opened his mouth to reply, he realized that Riddick wasn't wearing his goggles. "You took them off."
"Yeah, I wanted to see you with my own eyes."
Riddick's eyes were all black as space with only a small circle of yellow in the center. Rafe could not help but stare."
"I'll put them back on if you want." Riddick offered and began to move back.
Rafe melted into Riddick's arms. "No, they remind me of the pictures you see in books of the solar system. Like your pupil is the sun and the rest is space. It's gorgeous."
Riddick lifted his hand to cup Rafe's face. "No, you are." Leaning in he kissed Rafe.
Rafe didn't know what was happening. His heart started speeding up, his bones disappeared, his hands clenched at Riddick's back. He whimpered. Riddick pulled back, breaking the kiss and held Rafe close. Turning his head, Riddick kissed Rafe's neck.
"Let's eat, then talk." Escorting Rafe to his seat, Riddick went back into the kitchen to get dinner.
As Rafe sat on the couch in the living room, waiting for Riddick to get back with dessert, he lost himself in his thoughts. /Oh, Walter, it has been so long since I've been kissed like that. Would it be wrong, truly to fall in love again? /Rafe spun the golden ring on his finger around and around. Walter, is it ok?
Rafe looked up when he felt Riddick touch his shoulder. Riddick held out his hand, asking for a dance. Rafe took his hand and walked to the center of the living room. The candles that Riddick had placed in the room, threw soft shadows about the room. Softly music began to play.
A simple touch of your hand,
And everything is right.
The gentle way you look at me,
When we kiss goodnight.
You've given me the freedom no other love has known
And now I thank you, thank you
Riddick pulled Rafe closer. Rafe laid his head on Riddick's shoulder. The scent of Riddick made him relax and calm himself. Riddick stroked Rafe's back as the song played on.
The countless ways you've touched my heart
Is more than I can say
The beauty that you've shown to me
takes my breath away
A picture perfect painting, that's what our love is
And yes I need you so, and now I know
I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you my love
I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
Sometimes I wonder what I'd be
Had I not found you
A least and lonely soul this world
could show me nothing new
But now my life's a canvas
painted with your love
And it will always be
And now I see
The gentle walks together
Through time will never pass
This fairy tale we shared
is real inside our hearts
let it be forever
never let it end
this promise I can make
Heaven is ours to take
I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you my love
I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
When I'm lost and insecure
you build me up and make me sure
that everything will be all right
"Rafe, don't ever that again. I thought Johns had killed you. I was ready to do anything as long as he died. Please."
"It's my job, Riddick."
"Richard. I know, but be more careful."
"Ok. For you."
Slowly, for long into the night, the two men danced.
I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you my love
I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
(This fairy tale we're sharing
is real inside our hearts
Let it be forever
never let it end
Rafe woke up warm, for the first time since Walter died, he woke up warm. Curled around him was Riddick.
Looking at Riddick beside him, Rafe felt something that had been cold and hard gently unfold within himself. I am falling in love again. Riddick, can I trust you? Will you not die on me? Can I trust you not to die on me? Rafe snuggled up to Riddick's warm body. Looking up into his face, Rafe was surprised to see the black within black eyes of his love. Rafe reached up to caress Riddick's cheek. "I love you, so much." He whispered, his voice breaking.
"Thank you, Rafe, my love. I wanted to tell you last night but thought you would leave if I did. And never come back."
"I would've. Brian."
"I love you, Brian."
Brian Rafe snuggled into his beloved arms. For now, if only for a small time, he could forget they were hunting a man and just be together.
When they woke up the next time, the sun shone piercingly into the room. Riddick closed his eyes and reached for his goggles, slipping them over his eyes, he had a fleeting regret, that he would never be able to see his beloved by the light of the sun without the damn things. Brushing Rafe's hair back, Riddick dropped a kiss on his forehead. Soon Rafe stirred and looked sleepily into Riddick's goggles, "Time for work?"
"That means taking a shower, getting under the hot wet spray, then I get to scrub you up with soap, only to rinse you off, then I get to wrap you in a warm towel and rub you dry."
"Yeah, if you will let me."
After sometime playing in the shower, the two men got ready for work. Rafe as usual dressed in his suit, this one a dove gray with a dark gray shirt, stripped delicately with thin vertical lines of light blue. Picking up his tie, he walked over to watch Riddick get dressed. Today Riddick decided to dress all in black, save for a light brown leather jacket. From his shiny black army boots to his black cap. The shirt underneath the jacket stretched across his chest, holding tightly to ever curve of his chest and stomach.
"Raf- Brian? Are you all right."
Brian Rafe walked across the room, reaching out to smooth the black shirt over Riddick's body. His eyes drinking in the body before him, He did not notice that he let go of his tie. A quick duck and Riddick was holding it, Riddick gently pushed Rafe back a step. Ignoring the whimper that came from his beloved, Riddick looped the tie around Rafe's neck, around, around, under, over, through, and it was done. Riddick adjusted the knot and flipped Rafe's collar down.
"There, love. Rafe?"
"Do we have to go?"
"Yes. We still have to capture Johns."
Perhaps it was true that love slowed you down, for certainly, a person as experienced, as Riddick should have seen the shadow where no shadow was meant to be. If he had seen it, he would have seen that it was Johns. However the only person Riddick was seeing was the well-formed shape of his beloved.
The mood in the Major Crimes Bureau was depressed.
Riddick looked around the bullpen, noticing that all the detectives made a deliberate attempt not to look him in the eyes, or goggles as it were.
Their auras created an air of depression that was almost tangible.
Riddick started to lower his hand from the small of Rafe's back when Rafe pushed back into Riddick's hand.
"There's something wrong, Richard. The bullpen is quiet."
That's when Riddick realized just what was wrong - instead of the normal friendly chatter that was so loud that they could barely hear themselves think, the conversations were muted. All the detectives murmured in low voices.
When Jim and Blair came in, it seemed as if the pen got quieter, if that was possible. Jim scanned the bullpen and spotting Rafe and Riddick, he strode over.
"Bad news. The twins we rescued... are dead. Somehow Johns got into the hospital and killed them. They were found this morning. The alarms never went off, he bypassed them somehow. Damnit, Riddick, we need to kill him. I don't care if I am a cop. You said that they don't care if he's alive or dead, right?"
"Yes, James. I can tell you that my boss, and the families of the children, would prefer dead. So would I. Anyone want him alive?" Riddick asked the surrounding detectives. The replies ranged from outright loud denials to mere rolling of eyes. Riddick smirked and wrapped his arm around Rafe's waist.
Jim shook his head as if to clear out all the angry thoughts. Trying to smile, he asked, "So... how was the date?"
"James, I told you that I do not kiss and tell."
"I wasn't asking you, Riddick. I was asking Rafe. So there." Jim stuck his tongue out.
"Jim, I don't kiss and tell either. Butid hid have a nice sleep last night." Rafe flashed a weak grin at Riddick. "Now, where will Johns hit next and how can we kill him?"
Blair looked at Rafe. "Ummm guys, I hate to do this but I gotta. Don't you think it's a little strange that we're standing here planning how to kill someone with absolutely no remorse? I mean we all know what a bastard he is. We know that no one should want him alive but if the public were watching us... what would they say? Besides don't the parents have a right to confront him? Just think about it."
Jim stared down at his guppy proudly. "Rafe? Riddick? No objections? Anybody else have any objections to killing the bastard. Sorry guppy, no, we don't care. Well let's get on with it."
Blair smirked and shook his head. "Now who has an idea of what to do next?"
After eighteen hours of speculation and ideas on how to track Johns, most of which that seemed to go nowhere, Simon called for a break to go home and refresh.
Blair rushed through the door as soon as Jim opened it. Tossing his coat on the dining table he went into the kitchen.
"Hey Chief, what do you think about ordering something and eating by the fireplace?"
"That, my love, would be perfect. Call Chang's and I'll start the fire. First, drink this." Blair shoved a cool glass of vaguely grey liquid into Jim's hand.
"What is it?"
"Something to drink. You know that you and Riddick were so totally out of line earlier today. I mean, you were ready to hunt a person down like... I don't know. But don't you think that's a bit odd?"
"He's a child killer, Sandburg. I want him dead, so do you."
"Yeah, well... I'm supposed to play devil's advocate, right? That's part of my job? There, I did it. I reminded you of your duty to bring him in alive so that he go through the courts, get off on an insanity plea, and get out of the asylum in three years." Shaking his head in disgust at the vagaries of the so called 'justice' system, Blair smiled at his lover, "Go call Chang's and I'll take a shower and get things ready," Blair said as he headed for the shower.
Quickly Jim called for food and joined his beloved in the shower.
The fire made the two men warm and sleepy. Jim lay on the couch with Blair curled up in front of him.
"Tell me how you met Riddick."
"Sure. It was about fifteen years ago. You know about the Theban band way back in Greece?"
"In 340 BC, when Alexander was sixteen, Philip put him in command of the cavalry at the Battle of
Chaeronea, and Alexander led the charge that broke the Theban Sacred Band. They were special troops made up entirely of lovers. They were undefeated until they went against Alexander. Strange. Alexander and his lover beat the Theban band."
"Yeah, well after the army got their act together and stopped banning homosexuals, they realized that there was an idea to the Theban band. So they built an inner cadre of lovers, ones who were totally committed to each other. Permanent. All Army Sentinels who have Guides are part of the Thebes Corp. I... my Sentinel abilities were active then but not at this level. I too was part of the Thebes Corp. They were not made up of just homosexuals or even pairs, sometimes it would be triads. One even was a quad.
"My lover was Danilo Michael Johanssen. Which was strange as he was as dark as Simon, Norwegian but he was very slight, very fey. I loved him, Blair. I love you, but I loved him. I was so happy with him. Theban partners are never assigned separately. We'd be together forever... until we found out that someone in the Asian jungle was doing some human experimentation.
"We were the Theban Band. We were the best. So we got sent. We were told to make sure that the doc would never live to share what he did or how.
"They captured us. Killed him. Tossed me into a pit. Threw his body down on top of me." Jim's breathing sped up and he hugged Blair tightly.
After a few minutes, he released Blair, "Sorry. I don't like remembering that. Riddick was sent in to find us. He already had the modifications. I remember his eyes, shining so bright. At first I didn't want him near me, I thought he was some sort of... demon I guess.
"He got me out and he carried 'Nilo through the jungle. Every night he would put 'Nilo in a tree and hold me. He never left me alone until we got back to base and then only because the docs wouldn't let him come with me. He would visit me every day. Never forced me to talk. He would just sit and hold my hand.
"One night, he didn't come and since I hadn't been sleeping normally the docs usually doped me up. That night they had almost tripled the dose; in hopes that I would sleep through the night. It didn't really work.
"They had a teaching group wandering around. They came to me. They did their thing. I could hear them, you know. I could. I was awake but the drugs wouldn't let me wake up. They were about to leave when I heard one guy ask what was up with my vitals. BAM! It was like I was trapped in a nightmare. I could hear what was happening out there but I was trapped in the dream.
"I convulsed, and Blair it hurt, it really hurt. But I couldn't do anything about it. They tried to hold me down but it only made me fight more. I tried not to hurt them, I tried Blair. I tried so hard.
"Riddick was coming down the hall and he heard me. When he came in, they were trying to hold me down. I kept trying to pull off the restraints, to go to him. He told them to leave me alone, they weren't listening to him but eventually he convinced them to leave me alone. He climbed on the bed, laid his palm against the pulse in my neck, and I dropped off to sleep.
"I respect Riddick, but he also scares me. There are some things I saw him do in the jungle. He did them to help me but it also scared me. So in answer to the question that you didn't ask but wanted to... yes I do believe that he's right for Rafe. He won't let anyone hurt our Rafe again. And as for being killed? We are talking Riddick."
"Thanks James," Blair said as he snuggled closer and his breathing deepened.
Shortly Jim could tell Blair was asleep. Stroking the hair of his lover, Jim slipped into sleep.
The next day
There was something suspicious in the air of the bullpen. And perhaps if Rafe was paying attention to the mood of the bullpen and not to the memories of last night he would have noticed something strange in the movements of the other detectives of Major Crimes.
Slowly they surrounded their prey. He didn't even know he was trapped. They separated their prey from his mate by the simple expedience of suggesting the purchase of food. After waiting a suitable length of time to make sure that the prey's mate would not be turning around for a forgotten credit chip, they proceeded to advance swiftly on the prey. Said prey became alarmed and took notice of his predicament but he was too late, the trap was sprung. Quickly Jim, Blair, Megan, Taggart, and Simon advanced. Backing the prey into the wall, Blair launched with the first attack.
"Well... what, Hairboy?" Rafe asked.
"You weren't home last night, where were you, Rafe?" Megan crowed.
Beside Megan, Simon shouted. "I knew it. You were with Riddick. So spill."
"Spill what, Simon?"
"Spill everything." Jim advanced towards Rafe. For a Sentinel he was amazingly unaware of Riddick approaching. Riddick reached a hand out and gently wrapped it around the back of Jim's neck and squeezed.
"What are you doing, James?"
Jim tried his best not to faint of fright or scream. He was so proud of himself, he didn't even stiffen in fear.
Riddick gently pulled the overeager Sentinel back. Placing the bag of food he was holding onto the table behind him, he bowed and gestured to Rafe as he moved the detective out of the way. Rafe slipped easily through the gauntlet. Releasing Jim, Riddick spread out the delicious food and settled down to eat.
"Riddick? Riddick? Can we have some?"
"Are you going to interrogate Brian?"
"No," Jim and Blair looked at the food just barely keeping themselves from drooling.
"Then you can eat."
"You, my man, have a great soul." Blair said as he flopped down next to Riddick and reached for a container of white rice. "So any thoughts?"
"Just that we need the results from the previous search of all twins. He will not take babies; they aren't old enough to exhibit the characteristics he wants. Adults would fight him. So they'll be between the ages of six and twenty." Riddick dropped his sandwich onto the table and stared at his Rafe. "He will stay in the area and from now on, when we go, we go in pairs. It would not be beneath him to attack anyone of this department if they are alone. We must make sure they are not. That means for the next few days, the whole department will pair up. So choose your partners carefully. Naturally it will be Jim and Blair together. Megan, how about Taggart?"
Rafe slid his hand over his man's thigh and squeezed. Riddick looked up. "You and me," Rafe mouthed.
Riddick's mouth twitched in what a generous person would call a quick grin, if said person existed and if said person could believe Riddick would grin. Rafe knew it for what it was, somehow he had amused his lover. Lover? When did I start... doesn't matter anymore. He's mine. Maybe this time I can keep him for longer than a few years.
Riddick reached over and caressed the back of Rafe's neck. "So any new information?"
"Yeah," Simon said as he hooked himself a container of wonton soup. "The Mayor has decided to run a bulletin once an hour at fifteen past to warn people about Johns, all stations, even cable and the Virtual Reality Networks. We got a squad of cops cleaning out the lower levels, they've decided to shut all all power and seal up as much of it as they can so they are trying to get the crazies and bums out before they do. Can't let them freeze. Every cop in this city has a picture and description of Johns, you, Rafe, Jim, and Blair. Instructions are to NOT capture the first and report his locations to the other four. Every officer in this city is under your command. In fact, not too far from here we have some military installations. Earlier today I got a call from your boss to tell you that you can command all the installations. Personally I don't understand it but he said to tell you that Johns was a 'MES' priority and that he's part of the 'Noscere' Corp. Explain?"
"MES stands for Military Experimental Subject and Noscere is Latin, 'to know'. It means that Johns was the product of a military experiment in genetics, in telepathy. It was a sister program to the Farseer program, run by the United States Government. The United States thought to use people who were precognitive, could see into the future, or were clairvoyant, people who could see beyond their eye's reach, to find downed pilots, see the enemy's military installations, and as spies. It was a moderate success. Noscere was supposed to find the similarity between the different talents, on the genetic level, by marrying one mind reader to another and using genetic boosters to get a more powerful mind reader. It was a bit too successful.
"They could hear minds all right. They couldn't not hear them. Every mind shouted at them. For most of their lives, everything was ok... until Breakthrough. That's what they called it when the child's power awakened. The sheer mass of minds would drive them mad. It got to the point that they had to keep them under sedation or they would attack everyone. Some were so out of control that they would kill and kill to make sure that it was peaceful. Those had to be killed.
"If I had to make a guess, Johns used this ability to escape jai jail and break into the hospital."
"You knew," Jim accused quietly.
"About Noscere, yes."
"Why would he use it now, to escape, and not at Rainier?" Simon asked quietly.
Blair stared at Simon, thinking. Slowly his lips curled up into a smile. Turning to Riddick, he grinned.
Riddick smiled at Blair and turned to his beloved. Rafe stared at Riddick before grinning in excitement. "Of course."
"Jim," Riddick said whispering, "Morphine, father of Katarphine."
As if the sun peeked through the ever-present overcast skies of Cascade, Jim's eyes sparked with light. "I SEE! Simon, he's a MORPHINE addict. Katarphine is a non-addictive form of morphine. When I lost my men in the jungles of Asia, when I lost my Guide, Danilo, Riddick rescued me. He brought me to the hospital and my dreams were so bad, I kicked and screamed and fought. They gave me Katarphine. It's non-addictive but it dulls the thoughts. I could barely think, it didn't allow me to dream; my thought processes were so slow. Yet, Riddick, you said Johns uses more of his mind, right? So the morphine blocks the voices. Morphine is a lot stronger. But Captain, he didn't have his last hit. Did he? He was in jail. And we don't give convicts drugs. He MISSED his last hit. That's why he could do it... and it's why he won't do it again. He hates being insane. Right?"
"Very good, James, very good. Blair?"
"Well, then since we now know this... he wouldn't hide in a deserted place because that's where we caught him last time but he won't stay in a crowd cause he can't stand it and he knows we'll look for him there. He could go to a campus... but he won't. Riddick... there's a place here; it's a gambling spot. It's open twenty four seven. Bright lights... noisy but there aren't a lot of people there... only about three thousand in a 10-mile square. Let's try there."
"Fine. Let's say we find him, people. The question is 'How do we stop him'?" Simon asked his detectives.
"I don't know... yet."
"Sir? How do we keep him from reading our mind? Could he use a half dose and scan us?" A voice called from the back.
"Richardson? Yes, he could and easily. You must think of many little things. Do not think of cop things... Keep annoying little ditties in the top layer of your mind, such as 'this is the song that never ends...' little things. There is no technique to block this. Some people are born with natural shields but there is no way of testing for them here. Any more questions?"
"Yeah," H stared at the pitch-black lenses of Riddick's goggles. "Why didn't you tell us before?" How dare he keep this from us? What kind of man would let us, let Rafe risk his life and not tell us this.
Rafe stared up at H, shocked at the venom in his sometimes partner's voice.
"Because this is the first time I have heard of Johns being part of the program. I knew of the Noscere program; I didn't know that Johns was the product of it." Picking up his jacket and Rafe's he headed to the door. Opening the door for Rafe, he smiled as he looked into the warm hazel eyes of his lover
Rafe flopped onto the couch and laid his head in Riddick's lap. Turning his head slightly, Rafe gave his beloved's cock a small lick through the cloth.
Riddick shuddered, smiled and lifted his love's head. Dropping a kiss on his lips, he leaned back and caressed the thick chestnut hair under his hand.
"What's wrong, Brian?"
"Nothing... I... I'm not afraid of Johns. I'm afraid of what he's doing. And we, the police, the cops, the protectors of this city can do nothing. We are failing to do our job and keep our people safe! Usually we would ask for their help. How can we with Johns? 'Excuse me, we interrupt your daily life to tell you that a psychotic child killer is on the loose but not only is he psychotic, he can also read minds. Please don't panic - he can't read everything, it'll only make him more crazy.' It would cause panic. He's out there. Somewhere. And what can we do?"
Rafe closed his eyes gently. Tears of frustration ed aed at the corner and hung heavy on his light lashes. A glimmering crystal tear released its last lash and rolled over the beautiful curves of Rafe's cheek. The tear caught and fractured the light, scattering barely visible tiny rainbows over his face. It rolled down onto the ball of Riddick's thumb. Silently, Riddick stared into his beloved's eyes, raised his thumb to his mouth and licked the tear from it.
"How about I put on some music, Brian?"
Rafe grunted and nuzzled into Riddick's belly. Softly, Riddick stroked his hair. Shifting his love to the couch, Riddick got up, walked over to the disc player and flipped discs. "What is this disc, 'The Fuzzies'?"
"Huh? Oh it's stuff from the mid of last century, they give me a fuzzy feeling."
"Ahhh." Riddick slipped it in and slipped back under Brian as the music played and blanketed the room with its sweet strains.
Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
/Such a sad song for my beautiful, he's so happy most of the time. I will catch Johns if only to make my Brian happy/....
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
"I love you, Riddick. We will stop him. I swear it."
"I know. Such sad songs. They give you such good feelings?"
"Always. They always know just what to say."
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
< "Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
In the wells of silence
"Sometimes I don't think it makes much of a difference. We try so hard yet they still get angry when we fail. Wal...
"Walter and I used to sit out at his cabin and listen to these songs, it's like they fit in the forest. The trees don't like all music but they never rejected these songs."
"Thank you for sharing them with me."
"Hey, I plan on taking you to the cabin... one day." Rafe smiled up at his love gently, reaching up Rafe removed his love's goggles. "Beautiful."
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence
And in the silence, two men spoke silent words of love.
Outside in the dark, a tall skeletal man stood, watching from an apartment across the way. He was watching the window of Detective First Class Brian Rafe. Through the window he watched the two men as they moved in the dance of love.
"You made a mistake, Riddick. A huge mistake and it's gonna cost you." Smiling, Johns left.
The dawn is really beautiful; it starts out as a silvery slate gray, almost slippery in texture. Then it breaks into amethysts, flows into rubies, shatters into gold, and tumbles into emeralds. Before finally a wash of sapphires spills over and fills the sky. Or it would if the eveesenesent overcast of Cascade would ever break. Rafe stared at the long pale back of his lover, running his graceful fingers over the light blue silk covered mounds of his lover. Rafe marveled at the softness of Riddick's skin. He leaned over and kissed a line of light kisses down his spine. I... I am in love with him. Walter, can you forgive me this? Riddick smiles in his sleep. Quiescently he nuzzles Rafe's fingers where they dangled before him. Rafe turns and looks at the luminous clock on the wall. 6:13. Another day. Another chance. We will get Johns today.
Laying his hand on Riddick's shoulder, Rafe prepares to shake him gently.
"I'm awake." Riddick sits up with his eyes closed and slips on his goggles.
Riddick came into liv living room with a smile, carrying a large package under his arm, seeing his beloved lounging on the couch. "Hey Brian. Guess what they sent us?"
"The army. I just got a new shipment of toys in from them. Want to play with me?"
"Sure! What they send us?"
"Check it out."
"A of couple wrist guns, a hand held EMP emitter..." Rafe rummaged through the toys. Riddick watched his lover; Maybe this will make you feel less afraid.
In the early morning, two shining stars walked along the skyway to school, their high, light voices rang through the heavy air as they called to each other.
"Vicki, wait up. School will always be there ya know," Twelve-year-old Steven yelled at his twin. Smiling the preteen caught up with his twin. He hugged her tight. "Well my wise silver winged sister, one thing you can do is run... so come and catch me." Steven took off with his sister's book bag.
"You damn black haired demon brat! Get back here with my bag!"
Vicki chased after her laughing brother; unaware that the brother she loved so much was being watched by Johns. And that Johns was ready to kill again. The two ran on towards the school undisturbed by Johns' thoughts. Very pretty. How wonderful they will look all tied together. I think I will use the royal blue ropes.
"Gentlemen and Lady," Simon inclined his head gently towards Megan, "Lawrence Johns has been at it again. Today Vicki Terry and Steven Alan Santos were kidnapped on their way home from school.
"They are twelve years old. Both are four feet and eleven inches. Vicki has waist length platinum hair, not bleached, light gray eyes, and dark skin. Her brother has waist length black hair, black eyes, and very pale skin. This makes both of them very easy to spot and remember. At first the officers who took the report were unsure if it was connected to the case since the heights are the same but I took it.
"I want ideas people. I want you to explain why he took these two. I want to know where he is. Talk to me, people."
"Well, Simon, this is definitely Johns' work. The height doesn't matter," Blair picked up the photos of the two children. "These two are Johns' perfect twins. See she's all light with dark skin; he's all dark with light skin. She's silver, pure, and an angel. He's dark, evil, and a demon. Johns thinks that fate brought those twins to him because they are perfect for him. No, them missing is just too coincidental, Captain."
"I agree, Blair," Riddick nodded. "Since you got that much figured out and you are the student of human behavior, what should we do?"
"I'm not sure, man. I'm so not sure. I mean, look at it this way. If we don't rescue the children," Blair raised his hand to silence the cops' outcry, "before he can sacrifice them in this ritual that he has concocted, then we may not have a problem again, he'll probably take care of it for us. See they are perfect twins, not just to us but also to him. If he kills them, he will have succeeded to the pinnacle of killings."
"You mean he'll kill himself cause who can top perfection? Granted that's an idea, Blair - but are you prepared to let those children die?"
"No. We aren't, Richard." Rafe squeezed his hand. "But if we don't let him kill them, then what? He goes even more psycho?"
Blair looked down at the table.
"How can he go more psycho? He's insane now! Blair?" Someone from the back called out.
"His psyche will fracture. He will either kill himself or keep coming after them. You know what that means, Rafe."
"Yeah, no life." H looked at Rafe. "They would have to be kept under watch 24/7. They could have no friends and spend no time being kids at all. Rafe that's not a life for them. They deserve to be kids."
"And they will be cause we are going to kill him, guys. Nothing else is an option." Jim stood up and walked out.
"James is a bit upset, Rafe. Why don't you go talk to him, I don't want him to get in trouble for killing Johns prematurely. We need him." Riddick suggested.
"Hey. Jim may talk like he plans to just hunt him..." Rafe replied.
"No, Sentinels hate being unable to protect their people. This is territorial. He will kill Johns. He must not."
"Because he will get in trouble." Sigh.
"No. Because I want to.
"Beast. Selfish. You have to share."
Jim sat at his desk, searching the VR net, looking for anything that would show where Johns was hiding. Beside him, Blair was looking through the daily logs.
"Jim, I know we are missing something and it's here!"
"Hey. Don't get upset. When you get upset, you make mistakes and we can't have that. We need to kill this bastard."
"Yeah, I know." Blair sighed and went back to reading the logs for all the Cascade precincts.
A young cop strode into the bullpen. Glancing around he searched for the man his Lieutenant told him to tell his news to. The cop saw him in the corner. Quickly, he walked over, stammering, he stammered. "Si-si-sir?
Are you Riddick, Sir?"
"Sir, my Lieutenant wanted me to tell you something we saw earlier, me and my partner. I got my report here."
"Very well." Riddick took the report out of the young cop's limp hand. "Talk."
"Well, Sir... today we were assigned to watch a young man in the gambling district. He's suspected of many things but today we got proof that he's selling gene-engineered animals. Well, just before we got the goods, we saw a man head into the same flophouse. He was carrying something rolled up in a sheet. A bunch of hair came from one end and it was silver. When we got our guy, we asked about the silver dog. I mean we thought the hair was a dog's tail. He had several other silver animals but none that had a long tail like we saw. When we reported this to our Lieutenant he told us to come to you. Said it could help. Did it?"
"Yes. Officer...?" Riddick paused.
"Yes, Officer Davison. In fact it helped so much, how would you like to be on the team that brings this child killer down?"
"A child killer?"
"Didn't your Lieutenant tell you? Our killer kidnapped two young children. One has waist length silver hair."
"Oh, I want on and so will my partner, Pancamo."
"Welcome to the team, Davison. See the short guy over there, ask him for more details."
"Oh, Davison. You need to tell your partner that we want him brought in dead."
"There is no other way, Sir." Saluting casually, Davison strode over to talk with Blair.
There never seemed to be true dark in the gambling sector. All the lights and noise made it resemble a garish open-air market. In a way it was one. In this place one could buy or sell anything and everything. The arrival of some two hundred cops did not cause much of a stir except to those who sell information. Watching the cops spread out to surround an out of the way flophouse did cause the information mongers to question why the cops were there, as well as raise the price of the information to about 5,700 credits.
"James, have you cut the vid lines?" Riddick asked through his headset.
"Team Three, have you secured the back of the target?"
"One minute Sir," SWAT Team Leader Three replied.
They could overhear him, ordering his men into place. At his word of 'Secure', Jim gave the high sign to the other teams. With no attempt at stealth, they approached the flophouse. Jim smiled tightly. His guppy sure could come up with a real plan. Turning his head, he could see Riddick and Rafe, walking side by side towards the front door.
Johns grinned at the two children that lay on the floor of his room. "You two are perfect. Once I sacrifice you two, everything will be perfect." He leaned down and checked the cords. He had forgone the navy blue cords and picked a gentle lavender, a soft color to contrast with their singularly severe coloration. Caressing their face as he checked their bonds one last time, he kissed each one on the cheek. "You will save me. Remember that."
The two children trembled as he kissed them. Moving slowly Steven was able to twist his head to lie on his sister's shoulder.
"Don't be afraid, Steven. Mom and Dad know we are gone. The cops will find us. They will. I promise."
Steven cried gently as behind him, Johns prepared for the sacrifice.
A knock on the door almost made Johns drop his knife. Shuffling over to the door, he put a quaver in his voice. "Yes, one minute. I don't have to pay you 'til tomorrow."
A voice came through the door, "Well, now you gotta pay extra since you blew the vid lines. It costs money to repair them. Now hurry up."
"Not fair. I didn't even have the vid on."
The knock came again, a loud pounding. Gods, Johns wished that the flophouse owner would stop pounding on the door. The pounding was giving him a headache. Throbbing, relentless pain was just driving into his head. A shudder climbed up his back. There was something wrong. Swiftly he crossed the room and lifted the phone. There was no tone. In a flash, Johns grabbed the dresser and thrust it in front of the door.
Outside the sound alerted the cops to the fact that Johns was on to them. Riddick signaled the second team to attack the door. Faintly they could hear through the door a low murmuring. The voice got higher and higher.
"Jim! We have to stop him soon, when he stops chanting he'll start cutting them. We can't let him complete his ritual!" Blair whispered into Jim's ear.
"I hear you, Blair. He's moved them," Jim focused his entire Sentinel hearing to determine where the kids were. "He's moved into an inner room, away from the window. Team Three, move in."
Riddick stared at the door. "Move, James." With one solid kick, Riddick split the door in half. Grabbing a crowbar from one of the officers behind him, he pulled pieces of door from the frame. Throwing the cast iron bar from him, he reached blindly for an officer behind him.
"You have a ram, right?"
"Yes, Sir," The SWAT member said, moving to the front of the group, placing a small black rod into the hole. The rod was about the length of his forearm, a cylinder inside another larger cylinder. The smaller cylinder had a large metal circle attached. Smiling, the young man placed the rod about three inches from the back of the dresser and pressed a small button. Immediately the ram did as it was supposed to, it hit the dresser over and over by the force of the strong motor inside it, until they could open the door. Stepping away, the young man looked at Riddick. "You may now kill him."
Riddick grinned at the young SWAT member and forced his way in, handing over his men to James' control, he slipped away into the dark with only a squeeze to Rafe's hand before he disappeared into the shadows that he mastered so easily. Taking off his goggles, everything jumped into sharp focus. Carefully he scanned around looking, listening. In the room to his left, he heard something. Watching the rest of the cops, he smiled. Soon Johns, very very soon.
In the room, Johns chanted. With every word, his voice grew stronger and stronger. The whimpers of the children were like music to him. A feeling of euphoria filled him. With one final shouted word, he brought the knife down. Below, Vicki curled up around her brother.
The slam of the door caused Johns to look up. A young man, about five foot six stood framed by the doorway. The door, itself, hung by it's hinges at a large angle.
"You must be Blair." Johns said.
"Yes, you know Lawrence, even if you kill them we will beat you."
"You think you can, but you can't. I won."
"Not really. You see we know all about the Noscere program. About what you can do. Right now this building is surrounded by at least two hundred cops. Right now, you have to face fifty. If by any chance you manage to kill us or hold us off 'till you next needed hit of morphine. If you don't take it then, you open your mind to all of us. If you do, you'll be distracted and you'll lose," Blair stated as he advanced into the room. Quietly he waved the other cops to the sides. "If you kill them, we have no reason not to kill you. If you attack us, we have cause to kill you. And you should know. The bounty is higher if you are dead."
Blair stepped even further into the room. "You are trapped, Lawrence." A shadow flickered on his right, distracted him. The soothing, reasoned pattern of his voice stumbled.
Johns turned to the right. "Very tricky, Blair. But now I see it. Riddick's in the shadows isn't he?" Johns laughed. "Very good, Richard. I almost fell for your distraction, but not this time." Johns crouched down behind the bound children and pulled a small gun from who knows where. Smiling he showed it to Blair. "Can you kill me before I kill them?" Johns laughed, "I didn't think so." Wheeling his hand around, he shot six times in quick succession.
Behind Blair, Jim flinched. Leaning down, Jim whispered into his ear. "Blair, at least thof tof those shots hit flesh, Riddick's down. Distract Johns, I'm gonna try to make it over to him."
Silently Rafe came up behind Jim and overheard the whisper. Placing his head near the other two. "Can you see him, Jim? Can you see Richard?"
"Yes, he's a bit behind and to the left of Johns."
"Then we get rid of Johns." Rafe smiled sadly and walked in front of Blair. He stood quietly, moving his hands slightly behind his back. Raising his head, he looked Johns straight in his eyes. "Johns, give it up and I'll make sure that you will live. Unless you don't want to."
"And what do you think you can do Detective First Class Brian Rafferty Rafe?"
"Not much. I mean, I'm not a Sentinel like Jim. And I'm not the best Army Bounty Hunter in the world, like Richard. However, I do have one power neither of them don't."
"The unwillingness to let my Richard die." Rafe raised his hand with a flick of his wrist; in less than three seconds six small explosive bullets entered Johns in a small circle around his heart. Rafe turned and showed them a small box on his wrist. "I love these little toys Richard has." The smile dropped from his face, "Where's Richard, Jim?"
The next few minutes were a flurry of activity as they called in the ambulances to take care of Riddick and the children.
Rafe always hated hospitals, the last time he was in one was the night... the night Walter died. Rafe had hoped that he would never have to see its stark walls and it's oh so neutral floors again.
Four Years Earlier
The doctor came out into the waiting room. He hated this part. He hated explaining to spouses that he couldn't save their loved ones. He especially hated it when it was someone like a cop or, in this case, a paramedic. All the guy was doing was treating some fallout from a gang war. It's not right that... that some idiotic child with a gun just came up and shot him in the back. That wasn't the way to die. Not for a good man, not for anyone. Steeling himself with a long breath, he pushed open the door. "Detective Rafe, I'm sorry... but Walter..."
Rafe turned from the doctor and walked out of the room.
/The same type of room, the same type of doors, and any minute now, the doctor will come out to tell me, Richard's dead. What have I done so evil that God would take away both my men?/ Rafe laid his head into his hands. The sound of the door swinging open caused him to look up.
The doc stood there, looking in amazement at the packed waiting room. It deserved some looking. Somehow some hundred cops, dressed in full combat gear had packed themselves into this tiny room. A little to the left and slightly behind a group of VERY large men, a young man sat. His light chestnut hair was plastered to his head, darkened by sweat. He looked up, his eyes so very deep brown and sad. The doctor stared at the young man; he walked over and knelt before him. "You must be Detective Rafe. Your friend... Riddick will be fine. I got his records from the army. He's in a darkened room. He'll be fine but he'll need plenty of rest. Do you want to go in and see him?"
Rafe nodded and followed the doctor down the hall. Why did he feel like he was walking the final walk? Soon, he'd have to tell Riddick the truth. The doctor opened the door and pointed out Riddick's shape.
"I can only let you stay about a half hour. He should be sleeping now."
"Not a problem, Detective."
Rafe looked at the shrouded form, shaking his head, trying to convince himself that the sheet did not cover his head. Walking over on unsteady feet, Rafe stood beside Riddick's bed. Riddick was asleep on his side, his face turned away from Rafe. Rafe reached out and stroked the ball of his thumb over Riddick's cheek.
"Richard. I love you. I don't know how you did it. I love you.
"That's why I don't want to say this. I can't stand it. Walter, my husband was a paramedic, working to be a doctor. His job had high risk for infected blood, body fluids, and bites. No one mentioned the bullets. An eleven-year-old gang member picked up a gun and shot him. All he had tried to do was save the people shot in a gang war. He didn't deserve it.
"You're a bounty hunter, an army bounty hunter, and if that isn't enough you are the best damn army bounty hunter. They all want you dead. I want you alive. I can't take it. He almost got you, Richard. I lost one husband and I wanted to die. I'm sorry, Richard. I won't be here. You could find me anywhere I hid in Cascade.
"Goodbye, my love."
Rafe turned and walked from the room. In the bed, a tear slipped from the small sliver of yellow iris.
"You love me? I'll have you back, Brian. One day. I swear. I'll wait until you can come back."
Through the Darkness to the Light
Riddick looked up as the Privates came in carrying boxes of evidence seized from the latest discovered hiding place of Johns. In the past four months since his Rafe killed Johns, Riddick buried himself in Johns' journal. He always knew that Johns was a talker but these journals...
The Private handed him a clipboard with the inventory of the boxes on it. All seven of them were journals. Signing the receipt, he ripped off the inventory sheet. For a psychotic, Johns kept remarkably neat records, every journal had a start and end date written on the cover. Each journal in chronological order went through the spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and then back to red.
It seemed so at odds with the man who concocted wild attempts at killing. Then again, all this was why he Riddick was even reading the journals. If he could understand how Johns became what he did and maybe why, perhaps next time it wouldn't take as long to kill them.
Frowning, Riddick put down the journal he was holding and picked up the inventory sheet. There... near the bottom.
'Box 6: Journals
The last six journals covered a lot of time. Finding the box, Riddick pulled them out. Flipping through them, it seemed that Johns drew a lot of diagrams, mostly blueprints. Starting with the
7.01.70 diary, Riddick settled in.
Riddick almost captured me today. I still have yet to discover his weakness. He doesn't appear to truly care about anyone. So there is no one for me to take from him. It does not matter because sooner or late wil will make a slip that I can take advantage of.
Below were some depictions of various weapons. Picking up the journals, Riddick left the room. Locking up, he headed back to his room. Once settled on the couch, he opened the journal again, skipping over the most technical stuff, he read on.
Riddick has followed me to Cascade. I believed it would have taken him longer to discover where I had gone. No matter. I hear the voices calling me, so many of them are doubled. So many twins. Perhaps this time, I will find the right set.
Today I watched as Riddick greeted a friend. I had believed him to be friendless but it is apparently not so. I did some research on this James Ellison. Seems he's an Army Sentinel. I will be careful. Hise ane and Guide was killed but amazingly he not only survived but he's got himself a new mate and Guide, Blair Sandburg. I am not sure which would hurt Riddick more. The loss of his friend James who he helped nurse back or Blair which would drive James into a catatonic state. Too bad that delightful Blair doesn't have a twin, he would be fun.
I'm not sure what James is up to. He set Riddick up... on a blind date. A darling young man. Would he appeal to Riddick? Could this be a chink in the indomitable Richard Riddick's armor? Has his beloved friend provided me with an opportunity to destroy Riddick? I hope so, since destroying Riddick is my other great dream. The first is to liberate the right sacrifice so all these voices stop.
The date went well apparently since Riddick is still with the young man. I took my time and watched. He was so tender, so sweet, so... vulnerable. It was so genteel of Riddick to give his jacket to Rafe. Thank you, James. And most of all, thank you, Rafe. I know how to destroy him now. I shall kill Brian Rafe.
Laying the journal down, Riddick rubbed his head. Damn! I did not SEE him that night. He was so close to me... and Brian. He could have killed him then and I did not see him! Oh Rafe. Oh my Brian.
I found myself an exquisite set of twins; not the perfect ones but I might as well practice on these two. After all, when I do find my perfect ones I can't very well mess up on them, now can I? Tonight I believe I'll take them. First though, I believe I shall watch what Riddick is up to tonight. Perhaps Mr. Brian Rafe shall reveal another chink in my pursuer's armor. I think tonight shall reveal a rather wonderful surprise.
A surprise yes, but not a wonderful one. I... yes, I made a mistake. Riddick never uses backup. I have seen him knock other cops unconscious so they won't spoil his plans. He's never used backup. So why now? Damn him. Why is Riddick changing the rules now? I haven't given him the right. Backup he did have tonight. I had believed that the children would have been missed the next day. Instead I was caught between four cops. Riddick, Ellison, Rafe, and Sandburg. I will find a way to make them all pay. I lost the twins for now but only for now...
I got the twins. Did the Cascade cops really think that they could keep me from those bright stars that I wanted to sacrifice? They really need to learn to look up. It's something Riddick never forgot to do. Then again Riddick is rather almost as good as me and I would never forget to look up.
Something amazing happened when I went over to the house Riddick is using. What should I see? Riddick all nestled in the bed with his "beloved Brian" I shall definitely kill Brian; I just don't know how I shall do it yet. They were so cute. Taking a shower and playing together. How domestic Rafe has gotten in the past few days. Riddick is way too happy. I must do something about it.
Damn, he was there. That morning, he saw everything. I could... I almost lost him.
Getting up, Riddick threw the book across the room and stomped into his bedroom. Smiling, he booted up his computer and checked his email. Nothing yet on his search for Brian. Thinking, he started a few more searches and wrote an email to a friend in the tax department. He sat still for a few minutes, then got up, shut down his computer, undressed and got into bed.
The next morning Riddick woke with a new determination. Enough was Enough, he was going to find Brian. Smiling a smile that made the men he chased go white, Riddick got dressed and headed over to the tax office.
Riddick leaned up against a filing cabinet as the door opened. A young woman, laughing at a joke walked in. Files in hand, she turned and started at the sight of Riddick. "Richard. Don't do that. Now what do you need?"
"Angela, I need you to search tax records. Brian Rafe."
"Ok," Angela sat down and started opening her files. "Can ya tell me what he did?"
"Sure, he left me. Now, I'm gonna find him and bring him home."
"Riddick... you know they don't approve of kidnapping mates anymore right?" Angela chuckled at the mental image of Richard knocking this Brian over the head and dragging him into a cave.
"Very funny, Angel. You're lucky I like you." Riddick laughed.
"Yeah, lucky me... you're the same guy who has scared away my last four dates."
"They didn't deserve you. All I'm doing is protecting a sweet wonderful woman who just happens to be my friend," Riddick answered as he sat down and started to read the files he brought with him.
"Yeah, yeah." Angela sat quietly for a while. "Where'd ya meet him?"
Riddick answered without looking up, "The Johns case. He was a cop in Cascade. He's not there anymore."
"He just left."
"Yeah, came out of the hospital... went to his Captain. His Captain didn't even know where he went. He didn't tell anyone. He knew they would tell me."
"Richard, if he went through all this to get away from you... why are you pursuing him? Why should I help you?" Angela placed her hands down on the desk and stared at Riddick.
"Angela, his husband died years ago from a gunshot wound. When I went into the hospital he ran, scared of losing another that he loved. Recently, I have had the honor to read Johns' journals. I almost lost him a few times and I didn't even know it. I have to find him... I have to tell him how much... Angela, I wouldn't ask anyone else to help me. Help me find my Brian."
"Ok, I'll set the program up and it'll run all today and tonight. Go... go do something. I'll come to you."
Riddick stood up and walked out the door, a grin on his face. In fact Riddick was so happy, he didn't understand why people were going out of their way to stay out of his way. Perhaps if he could have seen himself from the outside, he would have... smiled back at the grin that shone from his face. Oh well might as well finish up these journals.
Riddick opened his eyes. The pounding on the door got louder. It was either a friend or it was a very good enemy, one who thought by distracting him with a knock they could sneak up behind him.
Silently Riddick stood up and walked over to the door. Borrowing a trick from James, he focused every sense on whoever was on the other side of the door. A whiff of light, delicate morning glory scent that Angela always wore caught his nose. Relaxing, he opened the door.
"Found him, small town, Arizona, Petula, and I've commandeered a plane to take you to an airstrip 47 miles out of Petula, a jeep will be waiting."
"Good. Night Angela."
"Night, you thankless bastard. Don't worry," she called as she headed out the door, "Wait 'til your boss gets my bill plus overtime."
"Of course." Riddick sat back down on the couch and picked up a journal.
Popping her head back in, she said, "Oh, the plane leaves from the south airfield in thirty minutes." Laughing she headed out. Behind her, she could hear the sounds of a man furiously packing.
Petula. Petula didn't deserve a name. The town, according to the fact sheet Angela had left on his door, was a town of about three hundred eighty people. The Police force consisted of about 40 cops, which made little more than one out of ten people cops. A small town with 10% of its population cops. This was not going to be easy. Shouldering his rucksack, Riddick climbed back into the car and headed for the center of town as that was the most likely place for the police station to be.
He couldn't believe he'd almost left the fact sheet behind - he almost didn't take it because he went roaring out of his house like a man without any sense. Which he was. He could be excused, he was in love. >>
Twenty minutes later Riddick parked the jeep in front of the police station it wouldn't have been twenty minutes but he had to wait for a bunch of sheep to cross the road. Shaking his head, he jumped out of the jeep and headed for the door.
Inside, it was the perfect station, everything was neat and clean. Every piece of metal shone. Riddick looked down at himself and strolled in. Walking up to the desk sergeant, he laid his ID on the desk.
Looking at the ID, the young woman looked up. "I see, Lieutenant Rid-dick. And what will you be wanting here?"
"A cop from Cascade transferred here recently, I need to talk with him. He may be working with the department. His superior didn't know."
"I see... and what would you be wanting with him if we could find him?"
"That is between him and I, Sergeant Suiza."
"Well... Sir we are careful about who we give our information to," She said and smiled politely.
"That's good but I am an Army Bounty Hunter. Anything I want, you give me because if you don't, you get the disfavor of the Army. Next time you need something from us, it may take a little more time than it used to. So tell me... Is Brian Rafe here?" Riddick said smiling the smile that made others want to run from him.
"We don't respond well to threats here, MR. Riddick. I'm afraid you will have to talk to our Captain, Laurence. He has an open time in three days. 10:15, see you then." Suiza turned back to her reports.
Riddick turned and walked to the door. Turning to face Suiza, he ran over and vaulted over the desk. "No, he has time now. And you may regret this." Scanning the room, he didn't see any sign of Brian. Striding over the glass enclosure that signaled the Captain's office office in every town and city in the world, Riddick knocked.
"Come in, Lt. Riddick." The Captain called out.
"Yes. I'm a friend of Captain Banks. He asked me to find a place for Rafe. I said ok. Banks is a good Captain, doesn't mind lying for his guys. Rafe's a good cop. Banks
tells me he's running cause he doesn't want to see someone he loves. That you?"
"You love him?"
"Why let him go?"
"I was in the hospital for almost two months, when I got out ad aad already left."
"Going to take him away from here?"
"Not if he doesn't want to."
"Are you willing to settle here? Work for me?"
"If that's what it takes."
"Very well, welcome to the force, Riddick. I expect you to square things with the Army."
"Already done, Sir. Petula is wonderfully small and the rate of police officers to civilians is rather remarkable. The Army has noticed that and is thinking of making it one of their approved retirement towns for upper level officers and those who have worked on confidential projects. You need a liaison with the Army. I'll do it."
"Good. Rafe is at the Murphy place." Getting up he indicated that Riddick was to go first. Outside, he stopped Riddick. "Everyone, this is Richard Riddick. Call him Riddick; he will be the Army liaison to this department. Give him every courtesy you would any cop. He has my permission to look at any and all files. Give him hell and you will end up doing crossing guardy foy for sheep. Got it? Good. Back to work. Suiza? Take Riddick to the Murphy ranch."
Riddick walked over, a half smile on his face. "Well, let's go. Let's not use the siren." Riddick bowed and waved her ahead.
"I can't believe we are employing bounty hunters. Y'all only work for the big bucks."
"And cops don't. Hate to tell you but Rafe and two cop friends of ours helped take down a very dangerous man named Johns in Cascade. I'm sure you heard of it. I made a million, so did Rafe. Jim and Blair each 750 thousand. All medical bills paid by the Army. We are the best. We hunt those that have no fear of killing cops, who laugh when they rape and murder your family in front of you. I rescued a Sentinel from the jungle where they were planning to use him for experimentation. I killed those docs. I killed the monsters they made. I did it. Alone. No backup. I carried that Sentinel out by myself. I carried the broken, battered, dead body of his Guide. I put that Sentinel back together when the docs couldn't. If you want to give me attitude, remember... I'm what you wish you could be. But you're nothing but a desk Sergeant in a one hick town. You're the hick. Now take me to Rafe."
Behind him, Riddick didn't notice the conversations die. Blushing, Suiza looked up at him. "Guess it was a bad mission, huh?"
"No, one of the better ones. James lived."
Suiza led him to one of their jeeps. Painted a dark khaki to show less dust, she was silent on the way out of Petula. Pulling up to a rusty gate, she got out and opened it. "This is the Murphy Ranch. Father, Mother, four daughters, five sons. All work raising sheep. Rafe is out here because the Murphys' claim that the Rodriguez clan stole about twenty of their sheep. The brands are similar but Rafe is here to make sure that the brands are old that the Rodriguez didn't add anything to the brand."
"You have many sheep rustlers?"
"A few. Why?"
"The Army has a new way of branding that won't infect the meat but would not permit any sort of tampering. I know how to do it, so merely offer it to the local ranchers."
"How do you know it won't infect the meat?"
"They use it on us. And they would never infect us, incase we need to eat each other. No point in killing your own people."
"Oh." She pulled up to the house and led Riddick around back.
Riddick could see Rafe standing on top of a small hill of dirt, the khaki uniform fit his body snugly, the cap had blown off and was hanging from the strap around his neck. His light brown hair blew up like tumbleweed. He was gorgeous. Riddick stood there and watched his beloved. Watched as Rafe called out someone unseen. Smiling at Rafe's obvious happiness, he wondered if he should leave. Behind him a young woman came out of the house, smiling and laughing with a young man. Rafe heard them, turning he saw them. The wistful look on Rafe's face convinced Riddick he should stay. Rafe flicked his eyes and saw Riddick. In an instant, Rafe's face shut down.
Taking the hill in leaps and bounds. Rafe stopped in front of Riddick.
"Do you need something?"
"Yeah. I need to tell you, that I love you. Running away isn't..."
"Stop. Richard. Go."
"Not 'til I finish, Brian."
"Very well. Not here. Wait. We'll go to my place." Rafe turned away and headed back up the dirt hill. Down below him, he saw sheep, masses and masses of sheep. A sea of dirty moving wool. Trying not to think of the man behind him, the man who was waiting for him, the man who had pursued him when he ran. How had Riddick found him? No matter, Riddick was here and what did he have at home to make for dinner. Riddick doesn't like broccoli so no beef and broccoli...
Hours passed as Rafe checked each animal. The desk Sergeant had long since left him in the care of Rafe as Riddick had asked. Riddick looked up the hill just as the sun had spent its time setting, turning everything a bright red, like arterial blood. Riddick took off his goggles as the last ray of sunlight sank below. A flash of green light appeared, blinding him for a second and it turned everything green for a moment. Blinking out the spots of dark light left in his eyes, a familiarly shaped outline stood on the hill. He watched Rafe slide down the hill. Grinning, he walked over to Rafe.
"Come on, Richard. Get in the jeep. Where's your car?" Rafe asked as they settled into Rafe's jeep and started off.
"At the station, but I already have what I need here." Reaching under his shirt, he pulled out a slim notebook. "Johns kept journals. The first night we spent together... the night I held you, Johns was watching. He made plans to kill you. By my relationship with you, I almost lost you. That was my mistake. I thought I could protect you. Then during the takedown, he almost got you again. I was afraid for the first time, I was afraid. I don't fear dying, and I never had backup so I didn't have to worry about them. Then that night you came to me, in the hospital... and you told me you were leaving. I felt..."
"I thought you were asleep. Richard. I'm sorry but..."
"I understand. I thought if I let you have your way then you'd realize it was a mistake and come back to me. But when I got out, you still were gone. I tried to understand why you still didn't want to come back. Hush!"
Rafe shut his mouth just as he was about to speak.
"Then to tie up all the loose ends, they had me inventory things, including his journals. We examined everything, read every letter written. Every word. If we understand his mind then maybe next time we won't make such a cock up of it. His mind was vile. It was cesspool of things unmentionable. If he
were sane, he would have made a great Army Hunter. He wasn't. He was going to torture and kill you. I understood that night, when I read it, what you felt. I can't lose you Brian. If you wish, I'll resign my commission, I'll retire, I'll go AWOL. As you wish. I love you, Brian Rafe."
Rafe pulled up in front his apartment building and closed his eyes. "Come in for dinner, I got some lasagna I'll heat up, beloved." Rafe smiled and held out his hand to the man he wouldn't run away from anymore.
Riddick held onto Rafe's hand like a lifeline. "No more running?" He asked quietly.
"No... no more running. Promise." Rafe pulled his man close to him and kissed him gently.
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