Danny was pacing up and down in the apartment. Lindsay had just gotten off the phone with Adam. Mac wasn't at the lab. He had called Don a little earlier and had said he was on the way, but Danny felt like a caged tiger. He needed to do something, he needed to be active.
"Hey, Sheldon, I'm gonna take a walk," Danny said.
"What? Now?" Sheldon asked
"Yeah, I'm going to take the same route Mac would've. Hopefully we can find something, or him, along the way." With that said, Danny went in search of Lindsay and Claire and told them of his plan. Not long after that, cell phone in his pocket, flashlight in his hand, he left the apartment hoping to find his boss and a perfectly good explanation.
Don was trying to track down Demetri to figure out what his connection was to Mac when he got Danny's worried call. Finally he got his friend to calm down long enough to get his message.
Mac was missing.
Got a text.
Never showed up at the lab.
Ok, so Mac was missing after he got a phony text from someone, but he never showed up at the lab.
Don jumped out of his chair and slammed the phone down on the desk. He turned around too fast and tripped over the small dustbin by his feet, almost landing on his face.
"Shit, shit, shit." Don ranted as he scrambled around looking for his keys. Finally finding them, he ran for the parking lot, only to get there and to see that he was parked in.
Don turned around to see Detective Levato coming out of the station, a worried look on her face.
"Levato, where's your car?" he asked her frantically
"Over there! Why? Don what's going on?" Levato asked as she made her way to her car.
"I don't know what's going on; I'm trying to get to Mac's place. Danny called saying something about a text and Mac not being at the lab." Don grabbed the keys from Levato's hand as he jumped into the driver's seat.
"Guess we need to hurry then, huh?" Levato asked as she fastened her seatbelt and grabbed onto the edge of her seat.
Don just glared at her as he sped through traffic.
Danny walked the same way Mac would have taken to work. As he walked, he tried Mac's cell phone, but with no luck. As he passed the last alley before he got to the crime lab, his flashlight caught something shiny. He ran into the alley and picked up the little piece of metal that caught the light.
Undeniable proof that he had been here. Suddenly, he heard a soft sound coming from somewhere to his right. Problem was, there were only dustbins there. Working on a feeling, he started opening the dustbins, one by one, the feeling of dread becoming more pronounced as he came to the last one. He opened the lid slowly, the sight that greeted him, made him curse colourfully as he scrambled over the edge.
Mac was lying on his side at the bottom of the dustbin. The part of his face that was visible was a mass of painful looking bruises.
Danny climbed over the edge and carefully dropped to his knees next to his friend and boss as much as he could in the confined space.
"Mac?" he spoke loudly as he fumbled to try and find a pulse. He found one and was relieved to find it strong, but a little fast.
"Mac?" he asked again and was rewarded with a soft groan from the injured man.
"Mac? Can you hear me?"
"D-Danny?" Mac's voice was barely audible.
"Yeah, it's me," Danny said, relief evident in his voice. Suddenly, Mac started struggling, trying to get up.
"Claire….where's Claire?" Mac asked frantically.
"Mac, calm down. Claire's at home, she's safe," Danny said, still trying to keep Mac from getting up.
"Claire's safe, that's good. They won't get their pet back, not while I'm here." Mac's voice grew softer as his eyes closed and he lapsed into unconsciousness again.
"Damn," Danny said as he pulled out his phone and called Sheldon.
Sheldon was getting restless and it was not helping matters. Danny had left a while ago, and Don was on his way, but he hadn't heard anything from any of them for a while. He just kept pacing up and down. Lindsay was sitting next to Claire on the sofa, and so far, neither of them had said anything, but even the kids had picked up on the tension in the house.
The ringing of his phone broke the silence and in his peripheral vision he saw Claire and Lindsay jump in fright; even the kids went quiet.
"Hawkes," he answered a few seconds later.
"Sheldon, it's Danny. I found Mac in a dumpster. Someone beat him up," came the reply in a rushed tone.
"Is he ok? Did you phone 911? Do you want me to come there?" all the questions fell from his lips, not giving the other man a chance to answer.
"Sheldon!" Danny spoke loudly on the other end.
"Calm down, he's breathing and no, he's not okay, but I can't see any major damage. I haven't phoned the ambulance yet, but as soon as I hang up I will. I just thought, you'd be stressing out, so I phoned first to tell you. Tell the women, I'm gonna hang up and phone an ambulance," Danny said and hung up without waiting for a reply.
Sheldon took a deep breath and relayed the message to the worried women, who breathed a sigh of relief. A little while later, Sheldon got the text from Danny telling him, which hospital they were going to and soon everybody was on their way.
Claire and the kids arrived at the hospital, about an hour after they had gotten the call that Mac had been found. Lindsay had offered to take them. Lindsay led the way to the desk, but left the talking to Claire.
A few minutes later, they were directed to the waiting room where they found Danny pacing up and down in the empty room. Sheldon was already there, sitting on a chair with Lucy next to him, the girl was watching her daddy pace.
"Danny!" Lindsay called as she walked in. Danny noticed them and walked over to them.
"Where is he? What's going on?" Claire asked, concern and worry tainting her voice.
"They are just getting him settled him. They'll just keep him for observation. No broken bones, but some deep bruises. A minor concussion, they say he was lucky," Danny said. He pulled Lindsay into a hug.
"Oh, thank goodness!" Claire said as her knees buckled and she sat down on a chair, the kids on both sides of her. Just then a nurse came in to take them to Mac's room.
"You go, we'll be out here," Danny said and Lindsay nodded, urging her forward. The trip was a silent one, just the squeaking of the nurse's shoes on the polished floor.
Claire was shocked when she saw her husband. His face was mottled with bruises, but underneath his handsome face was the same one she had dreamt of for years. The nurse left and Claire pulled a chair closer.
"Mommy? Why did Daddy get hurt?" Lewy asked when they were seated in Mac's room. The boy looked close to tears, but before Claire could answer him, Annie asked a question of her own.
"Was it our fault that Daddy got hurt? Because we came back?"
Claire felt her heart break. How was she going to explain this to them? She got the twins settled on a chair and knelt down in front of them. Steeling herself she said,
"Guys, listen to me. Your dad did not get hurt because of you. Okay? A very bad man is responsible for this, not you." She looked them in the eye as she spoke, trying to make them believe.
"Mom's right," a soft voice broke in.
The twins leapt off of the chair and raced to the bed and were trying to get on when Claire stopped them.
"Lewy, Annie, settle down. You can't get onto the bed, there's not enough space." She knew that they would hurt him if they got on, but didn't want to use those words in case the kids took them literally.
"Help them up, please. I'm fine, they need to see that," Mac said, his eyes pleading with Claire.
"Okay, but only for a little while," Claire said, trying to sound stern and not really succeeding.
The kids settled in and, after a while, she noticed that they all had fallen asleep, and Mac was snoring a little. She quickly took out Mac's phone, which Danny had handed her earlier, and took a picture. It was just too cute to pass up. She settled into a chair and was content to just watch her husband sleep with their children. She couldn't help, but hope that everything would be all right.
Mac woke up to a pounding headache, and feeling very hot. He blinked a little to clear his vision and looked to his side. The sight that greeted him, warmed his heart and put a smile on his face, despite the numerous bruises he felt tugging at him. Annie was lying next to him with her face on his shoulder and as he turned his head to the other side he could see Lewy mimicking her pose. A throat clearing made him look up and saw Claire watching him.
"Hi," he greeted softly, not wanting to wake the kids.
"Hi," Claire replied, equally soft.
"How long have you been here?" he asked.
"About an hour, maybe two," she said. "Was it him?" Claire was nothing if not blunt. He knew who she was talking about and he also knew that he couldn't lie to her.
"Yes," Mac said with a sigh and shifted a little in bed.
"We'll never be rid of him, will we?" Claire asked with tears in her eyes.
"Yes, we will," Mac said with conviction. "Can you get the team for me? I will tell you what happened. I've got a plan, but I'm gonna need their help and your trust." Claire just nodded and left to call the team.
A couple of hours later the team left, the plan was laid out and talked through. Mac was already half asleep and Claire had left with the kids with Lindsay. His last thought before he let sleep claim him, was that their plan would work and that everything would work out just fine.
The day of the meeting came around and Claire woke up to find Mac missing. She quietly got up, trying not disturb the kids, who were sleeping on a cot in the corner of the room. Both had come to sleep there after having nightmares the previous evening.
She found him in the kitchen nursing a cup of coffee that had gone cold a long time ago.
"Mac?" she asked softly, trying not to startle him.
"Good morning, sleep well?" Mac asked, not taking his eyes off the coffee in front of him.
"Yes, thank you," she said, thinking his tone sounded a little weird.
"Claire, I need to tell you something," Mac said, looking up for the first time since she had joined him.
A cold hand gripped Claire's heart.
"What is it? Mac, talk to me," Claire said, almost pleading.
"I will not let Demetri take you away from me again. I will not rest until you are safe, all three of you. I just want you to know that if the meeting doesn't go according to plan, I have always loved you and I will never stop," Mac said, his voice dripping with emotion.
"Oh, Mac, I love you too much to lose you now," Claire said as she flung herself into his arms. "Please, just be careful today. Promise you will come back to us."
"I promise to do my best," Mac said. They stayed like that for another couple of minutes until the doorbell rang.
"It must be Danny and Lindsay," Mac said as he reluctantly let Claire go.
Claire followed as he went to open the door to see Lindsay and Danny together with Levato and Don standing on the other side.
"It's time, Mac," Don said as the two women walked in. Claire had tears in her eyes as Mac kissed her one more time before leaving with the other men. As she watched the door close, she felt Lindsay and Levato standing behind her in quiet support.
The cold hand of dread still had a grip on her heart.
Mac was getting impatient waiting on Demetri to show. He knew Don and the rest of the team was around keeping an eye on the business just as Demetri's men were around. When the man eventually turned up, it felt almost anti-climactic. The pudgy Russian walked out into the clearing, slowly, as if he had all the time in the world. He came to a stop not too far from Mac.
The man standing in front of Mac looked the same as the arrogant son of a bitch had thirteen years ago. The only difference was the grey in his hair.
"So, did you bring my pet?" Demetri asked with his faint Russian accent.
"No, I didn't, and you are not going to get her either. You've played this game long enough," Mac said, his eyes flashing.
"That is just too bad, Detective Taylor. That means I'm gonna have to kill you," the man said very calmly raising the gun in his hand.
"You don't have to do this; Demetri, it's over," Mac said, also raising his gun.
"I enjoyed watching you suffer, you know. Watching you wither away over the years, but you are right. It is over and it ends here with your death," Demetri said in a cold voice. Time came to a stop as both men looked at each other.
Then, without warning, two shots rang out.
There you go, please tell me what you think. I know this is not the kind of story I normally write, but I started it with a friend and I don't like leaving things unfinished. It might take me a while to finish it, but it will be finished.
I really had a hard time with this story and have decided that the next chapter will be the last. Thanks for anybody still reading out there, the last chapter shouldn't take long.
Thanks again to the best beta in my world, C. Nicole.
I don't own the show, if I did, they'd still be filming.
Till next time,