Cardoza and Tripp had promised the feds that they would protect the unnamed witness since he had only just been released from protective custody. The representative following the three men to make sure that not only did the witness receive his rights, but he also wasn't cohersed into saying anything by Detective Tripp. There had been talk questioning Frank's treatment of suspects during interrogation by legal personnel, higher ups and the Internal Affairs Bureau. They held off on the FBI Corruption Unit but would consider if things escalated.
The man had his face hidden under his cap and the hood that also (poorly) hid his dyed hair in the process. But dirty blonde spikes poked out from under the cap, even with the detailed attempt to conceal his identity. Frank shut the door to the interview room and Jesse sat down opposite the man. He should've mentioned the case first. It was the professional thing to do, realistically. Natalia and Eric would've done so.
But Cardoza couldn't help but ask something else first.
He got out a picture and laid it in front of the man, starting up what he couldn't have known to be such a tense conversation. "This is my friend, Ryan,"
"Rumor has it that he was captured, but escaped captivity.. his situation was never confirmed. People say the feds took him to a safe house. I know it's probably true, but not knowing for sure hurts my brain too much to focus on this case."
The man sighed. Jesse surveyed his movements closely, making sure he played full attention. He pulled the picture closer with precise positioning of his fingertips that would leave prints to be used for comparison. This guy knew more than he was willing to speak up about. "Ryan's in witness protection."
"What?" Frank spoke up. "How would you know that exactly? Nobody's heard from him and nothing's been confirmed."
"I'll tell you after you take my full statement regarding the shooting. Work always comes first and your colleague should be a second priority."
He argued with his chest. The natural thickness to his Boston accent being more distinctive than ever. Everybody had their secrets, it was no surprise, but Cardoza soon realised that he couldn't always get someone to reveal the thing they hide deep inside above all.
They sat down and listened to what he had to say about the drive-by shooting they were investigating. He told them that he'd been walking to his friend's car when a car zoomed past, rifle set up at the window and he heard the sound of it being reloaded. The friend was a federal agent that had been meaning to talk to him. His lawyer confirmed the alibi for him by getting a confirmation from said FBI agent.
The witness got his phone out of his pocket, searching through his photos until he found the appropriate ones. He pushed it over to Cardoza and leaned back in his chair. Jesse put on his gloves and picked up the phone. The picture had all three assailants. Driver, shooter and their friend.
Tripp immediately stood up. "Now I think it's time we know who you are, or else this evidence won't be probable."
He turned to his lawyer and whispered something. The legal representative contacted the FBI Witness Protection program that agreed to let him back into his freedom, as long as he checked in with them every day to make sure nothing happened to him until his kidnapper's trial since he was the only live witness that the FBI had.
The lawyer patted his shoulder, picked up his briefcase, and waved to the detectives on his way out. Jesse and Frank stared at each other in confusion.
His cap came off first, exposing his spikey, sandy blonde hair that just went past his eyebrows in what was barely side fringe. Followed by the hood that came down and the fake birthmark scratched off his cheek. He undid the zip of his hoodie, allowing the badge on the waistline of his pants to be revealed.
As he ruffled his hair, Horatio came into the room. There was a faint scar across his left eye. As if he'd been cut with something. The lieutenant stood there, alongside a speechless Jesse Cardoza and completely confused Det. Tripp.
Ryan cleared his throat. "Yes I escaped being held hostage. The FBI's Missing Persons Unit picked me up and I was put into protective custody while they arrested the man. He was a man on the FBI Most Wanted Fugitives list, so I have to testify in a federal court for the prosecution as I'm the only victim that's alive.."
Wolfe could see that they either didn't dig the blonder hair or barely believed that he was actually there. He wasn't big on physical affection, especially not from teammates.. but he figured he would give it one shot.
Lt. Canine stepped forward, smiling at his youngest CSI. Hearing that he was in fact alive whilst at a crime scene, Horatio decided it was only right to go see him.
"You're okay, Mr Wolfe?"
"I'm fine." Ryan assured his boss. "Lived in a safe house up in New England for a while, let my injuries heal and now I'm back for good. Really."
He averted his eyes to Jesse. "I may have doubted you, but thanks for looking out for me, Cardoza."
"It's what friends do." Jesse answered, shaking his hand.
For Ryan, it brought back memories that he didn't want to think about. Being kidnapped by the Russians not too long ago. He'd been sure that it wouldn't happen again. That unfortunately wouldn't be true. This kind of thing came with the job. And not everybody knew how to escape their past demons.
But he would never let it get in the way of his almost-pristine records. No corruption, one questionable suspension, great resumé, no suspect complaints, no lawsuits, never been arrested.. Wolfe didn't know what he'd do if he could no longer do his job. Medical discharge, to him, would mean less than dying on the front line. Because at least then he would know he did his job for as long as he could.
The federal agents had been awfully kind to him. They didn't force him to say anything, but made sure he was safe at all times. Going back to Boston & New England had given him the chance to recompose himself in a place that he felt at home at.
Things weren't any different; he was still the same Ryan Wolfe. Special treatment wasn't needed, even if everybody thought so.
And they had a homicide to look into.