A/N: The Truth Challenge - here is one of my contributions to this challenge.

The Truth Always Comes Back To Bite You In The End

By JeanneZ84

Milt and Mark had been hearing of a lot of robberies being done lately around the area. Frank had even brought it to Milt's attention because he suspected it may have something to do with Milt because of an old case he presided over while he was still on the bench.

Mark had been doing chores later a few hours later when they got back from Frank's office talking to him about the robberies.

Mark walked back in the house and didn't see the judge at all.

Mark asked Sarah where the judge was and she said that he came up from down in the basement and called Lieutenant Harper and then he headed out the door.

Mark said, "Thanks, Sarah."

Mark knew what the judge was doing; he knew the judge had figured this whole case all out as to who was behind this and he had decided to take off on his own without his favorite sidekick, Tonto, to help him out.

Mark was trying to think of what he could do. He knew getting in the Coyote and trying to track the stubborn old donkey down was a lost cause.

Mark decided he would go down in the basement to have his own look at Judge Hardcastle's files.

Mark had never done that before without both of them going through the files together.

Mark went to the filing cabinet and was going to get in the first drawer when he discovered the filing cabinet was locked and he didn't have a spear key.

Mark was pretty despairing when he saw the files and he couldn't find anything else to open the cabinet drawers so he said to himself, I will get my trusty lockpick set over at the gatehouse.

Mark walked over to the gatehouse, found his lock pick set and went back to the main house and to Hardcastle's filing cabinet in the basement and he opened the cabinet and began searching through all of the files.

Two hours later, Mark had found the perfect case that would fit all of the information Frank gave them both earlier that day. So much about it fit.

He finally closed the file, put in right back in its place, and then he closed the cabinet and he locked it up again and then came back up from the basement.

Mark told Sarah he was going to go back out to finish all the rest of his chores so that the judge wouldn't be able to complain about it when he got back home.

Mark was trimming the hedges and he suddenly started feeling guilty about going down into the judge's basement without him and breaking into the judge's filing cabinet.

The judge had been nice to him giving him a place to live and teaching him right from wrong and now look what he did with it, but he just wanted to know what they were getting themselves into. He certainly never meant to do anything to hurt Hardcastle in anyway.

Mark came back in the house and Sarah said, "Will you go let the judge know lunch will ready in ten minutes?"

Mark was kind of not thinking clearly at first, then he finally turned to Sarah and said, "The judge hasn't came back yet has he?"

Sarah said, "Yes, young man, he is. Judge Hardcastle came in twenty minutes ago."

Mark said, "Oh, I never heard him pull in I guess I was mowing the lawn then. I will let him know, Sarah."

Mark went over and knocked on the door of the den.

He heard Judge Hardcastle say, "Yeah, come in."

Mark walked in and said "Judge, Sarah wanted me to tell you lunch will be ready in ten minutes."

"Yeah, okay, kiddo. Tell her I'll be right there."

Mark quietly said, "Okay," and he closed the den door.

Then Mark headed in to the kitchen to tell Sarah the judge said he'd be right there.

As they were eating lunch Sarah had noticed Mark was very quiet while eating his lunch. In fact he really was hardly eating at all.

After lunch Milt said, "Sarah, I will be there in the den going over some things if you need anything."

After the judge headed out of the kitchen, Mark suddenly said, "Yeah, I think I'm gonna go finish trimming the hedges."

He was about to open the kitchen door when Sarah said, "I noticed you didn't each much lunch Mark, and when you came in it seemed something was on your mind. Are you feeling alright Mark?"

Mark said , "Yeah, I'm fine, Sarah."

Mark turned back to the door and he paused; then he suddenly turned back to Sarah and he said, "Well, to be honest with you, Sarah, I did something today and I just need to talk to someone about it."

Sarah said "Well, go in to the den and talk to Judge Hardcastle. Maybe he can help."

Mark said, "Uh, Sarah, that is what I'm afraid of."

Sarah said, "Come, sit down here and talk to me then. It can't be all that bad, young man."

Mark thought to himself, that's what you think, Sarah.

Mark sat down again at the kitchen table and he had such a guilty conscience he didn't know what to say or think. He finally said, "Oh Sarah, I really messed up bad this time. When Hardcastle finds out it's back to prison for me."

Sarah said, "Just calm down and tell me, Mark, and you will feel better."

Mark began by saying, "All I wanted to do, Sarah, is find out why the judge went out looking for the bad guy in the case we are working on right now all by himself. I really never intended to do this to him."

Then Mark said, "Sarah, I feel terrible for doing what I did. Hardcastle has been very good to me and I repay him by doing this?"

Sarah said, very sternly yet caring, "What did you do, young man?"

Mark said, "Sarah, I picked the lock on the judge's filing cabinet in the basement. I was just gonna go and look at the files to try and get some clue where the judge had a lead on the case we are working on and why he took off without saying anything. When I got to the filing cabinet to look at the files, though, the drawers were locked. I wasn't thinking of what I was doing. I just did it."

Sarah looked at him very sternly and said, "Mark, you march right in to the den and you explain it to Judge Hardcastle. He will understand.

Mark said, "Yeah, he'll understand alright, then he'll drive me back to San Quentin himself."

Sarah said, "Young man, I have known the judge a lot longer then you have. It will work out."

Mark said, "Well, okay, Sarah, if you say so."

Mark knocked on the den door and the judge knew who it was by the knock and he said, "Yeah, McCormick, come in."

Mark walked in with his shoulders slumped and a worried look painted on his face.

Milt said, "Well, McCormick, what's on your mind?"

Mark stood there for a few seconds just looking at the judge.

Milt raised his voice a bit and said, " McCormick! What are you staring at?"

Mark came back from the thoughts that were whirling around in his head and said, "Nothing, Judge, never mind."

Then he turned to leave and he heard Hardcastle's voice again saying, "McCormick! If you have something to say, just say it for Pete's sake."

Mark finally turned and started walking over to his favorite chair and then he sat down.

Mark looked up at the judge and said, "Judge, I have something I need and want to tell you what I did today while you were out."

Milt knew it was serious judging by how McCormick was acting and reacting to things.

Milt sat there and said, "What happened? What did you do this time, McCormick?"

Mark said, "Well, while you were out earlier today, Judge, I went down to the basement to your files. I was gonna look in them and see if I could find out any leads you had on this case we are working on that Frank thinks is related to an old case of yours and why you took off without Tonto here, and when I got down there in the basement I found the filing cabinet locked up. So I decided to get my old trusty lockpick set and I picked the lock and found what I needed. Then I put it all away and locked it back up like it had been before."

Milt said nothing for a second ,then burst out all at once and said, "What the hell are you trying to do, McCormick! I give you a roof over your head, food in that stomach of yours, and you repay me like this! You listen to me, McCormick! This is my house, McCormick, and my stuff!" Then, with a less gruff tone, but a deeper one he said, "Are you trying to get your ticket pulled because that can be arranged, ya know."

Mark got up from his chair. He was really hurt by the judge not even trying to listen to him and he hurried up and said, "I told Sarah you wouldn't understand." Then he just walked out of the den and out the front door of the main house and jumped in his car and took off.

Mark was driving around, minding his own business, when he was pulled over by one of L.A.'s finest and the officer ordered Mark out of his car and he said, "Judge Hardcastle had issue a warrant for your arrest." The officer had started to say "You are under arrest, Mark McCormick, for the invasion of privacy" but he trailed off when he suddenly heard a sound of a vehicle pulling up behind his police car.

The officer turned and saw Judge Hardcastle getting out of his GMC truck and then the judge walked over to the officer and held up his hand to stop him from going any further and he said gruffly, "Okay, Officer Belkin .I'll take him with me now. Thanks, Officer Belkin."

Judge Hardcastle took Mark by the arm and pulled him to the side and said, "You listen to me, McCormick. You ever unlock or, for that matter, go skulking around in myfFiles without my giving permission or with out me being there again, I promise you, wise guy, there will be hell to pay. You got that, McCormick? Hell to pay."

Mark said "Yeah, Judge. I'm so very sorry about all of that and it won't happen again."

The judge said, "Now get in your car and follow me back to the estate. You have extra chores you are gonna be doing for a while."