Ryan felt the burning stare of his colleagues as he walked with Jesse to the layout. It felt like his first day all over again. He heard whispers, scoffs and the never ending sentence of 'did he fake his disappearance?' that echoed through the halls. The decision to ignore everybody had been in his best interest so that he could focus on the case. He had information that could help the investigation massively.
He ran a hand through his hair, letting out a sigh. Wolfe hadn't felt so vulnerable since the day he joined CSI. And that said enough. But he would never let anyone else even think for a second that he couldn't handle it. If he could survive getting shot in the eye, Ryan was sure that this wouldn't be a problem. The blonde is semi-permanent dye after all.
"What do you know about the vic?" Jesse asked, breaking the silence.
"He was in debt. Owed this guy, Jimmie Diablo, a lot of money... and we all know that pissing off a crime boss never ends well. Word on the street is that Diablo suggested hiring a bounty hunter to kill the guy. I went undercover, got as much info as I could." Ryan explained, reaching into his pocket and handing Cardoza a flash drive containing footage, files and papers that he'd picked up while undercover.
The older CSI raised his eyebrows. "You went undercover?"
"As an FBI informant. You know I have a C.I. that keeps me updated on the latest narcotics stuff."
Wolfe couldn't stress the informant part enough. At that point, he wasn't a cop. Plus the feds were conducting surveillance to make sure nothing went wrong. Ryan had been in with these guys for years. They didn't deal but knew who did. It was the FBI's best shot at getting to Diablo's interstate trafficking ring. What he did for the feds didn't concern his teammates as long as it benefited to the case against the criminal that would put him away for good.
Eric's eyes followed Ryan's movements carefully. The former patrol officer scanned over all the crime scene photos and the evidence laid out in front of him. Wolfe had reviewed the evidence log, which is when something occurred to him. Weird as it sounded, bountys didn't usually do drive-by's. That was more gangster. Which is why Ryan believed that the 'bounty hunter' was a former gang member. It would explain the gang symbol left behind.. but nothing would really explain the condom. Not really.
"Welcome back, Wolfe." Eric said, sounding about as enthusiastic as someone who's been publicly humiliated.
Ryan rolled his eyes. It's not like he'd expected anything grand, the kidnapping hasn't created the best of environments within the lab. But he returns and everybody looks at him like an outsider. Sometimes Wolfe pondered the reason why he could never win. It's either he let himself down, or he let down the team.
He didn't spend a week in captivity, aimlessly hacking at the chains that bound him to come back to this. "Nice to see you too."
Natalia didn't say anything as he left the room. He felt as though he'd given enough input. The DNA analyst felt bad, but she didn't know what to do. Eric didn't mean what he said. He was just angry. Tensions were through the roof. Cardoza and Delko clashed a lot, worse than Delko and Wolfe.. some would say.
The former patrol officer headed to the locker room to clear his head. He needed time to think, just to recollect. Simmons happened to be around at the unfortunate time.
"Wolfe! How's your case going?" Walter questioned, smiling at the younger CSI.
"It's not my case, Walter. I'm a just a witness."
Ryan opened up his locker. His eyes widened in disbelief when he saw what was hung up inside. Pictures. All in black & white, of him bleeding. His first time getting shot on patrol. The nail in his eye. Wolfe could feel his heart rate increasing rapidly with fear. Every photo had him bleeding or injured. He didn't want to deal with it. The young CSI had spent ages trying to prove himself.
He forcefully kicked his locker shut and leaned back against it, sinking to the floor. Ryan clenched his fists angrily. It was as if everything he'd tried to forget about had merged into one horrific nightmare. This dented locker seemed to be the punching bag of his emotions.
One of the printed pictures fell to Walter's feet. He picked it up slowly and his expression dropped instantly.
Who would do this to Ryan?