Divide & conquer, p.31
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       Divide & Conquer, p.31
 

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux  
Page 31

 

  “Ty,” Nick said uncomfortably when he pulled Ty aside. “Im sorry. What I did, it was shitty and selfish, and I wish I could take it back. ”

  “Dont worry about it,” Ty told him, wishing Nick would just pretend it had never happened, like so many of the other things they never spoke of.

  Nick shook his head. “I just—I need… to tell you this, okay?” Ty nodded with trepidation, wondering what could be harder for Nick to say than anything that had happened last night.

  “Ive loved you since the day you sat next to me on the bus to Parris Island,” Nick blurted.

  Ty blinked at him, unable to do anything more. “And I was going to tell you when we finished our last tour. I planned it out every night in my head. ” Ty started to speak, but Nick stopped him. “But then the helo went down. And… what happened to us…. ”

  Ty closed his eyes, immediately assaulted with memories hed spent years repressing. They hit him like a physical blow. Flashes of chains and dull instruments, peeling plaster in a dark cell, making marks on a ceiling so low he didnt have to stand to reach it.

  Nick stopped talking.

  Ty opened his eyes to find the same haunted look in Nicks eyes that he could feel seeping through himself. “I will always be your friend, Ty,” Nick practically gasped. They hugged, a tremble going through both of them before they let each other go.

  What they had been through together—there was nothing that could break that bond. There was also nothing that could turn that bond into something else, and in that moment, they both knew it.

  When it was time for them to catch the shuttle to the airport, they all shook hands and hugged, Owen saying a stiff goodbye instead, and Ty saw them off with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Nothing was resolved there, but Ty knew he would have to deal with it later. Just one or three more personal problems he had to push to the back burner because of his job.

  Zane seemed down and didnt have much to say when Ty got home, and for the first time, Ty was too tired to try to reach into his darkness and pull him out. He went to bed early, asleep before Zane fumbled his way under the sheet and wrapped around him.

  The next day he headed back to work, something he dreaded for the first time since Jimmy Hathaways funeral years before. “Grady, welcome back. I hope you stayed out of trouble—and the press—over the long weekend?” McCoy said as Ty stopped in his office doorway.

  Ty nodded, sedate. A bad week had only gotten worse, and he was in no mood to be witty on a Monday morning. “Weve been through all the evidence we could get our hands on, and theres all kinds of paperwork to be done. I had Clancy leave some on your desk. Exciting stuff to come back to, I know,” McCoy said, his voice apologetic. “Were having another meeting with Financial Crimes this afternoon to touch base on leads for the combined crimes, and then I have a consult with a team from Counterterrorism. ”

  “Great,” Ty said without enthusiasm. He was finding it hard to concentrate or care about work. His partner was still out of commission, and the more time that passed, the more Ty began to fear Zanes blindness might be permanent. On top of that, Ty didnt like to be on the periphery of an investigation that directly involved him. It was stressful to have his fate in someone elses hands, no matter how good they were at their jobs. And then Nick had traipsed in and fucking kissed him, dredging up things he only thought of in his nightmares.

  Ty ran his hand through his hair and turned to head for his desk. Maybe paperwork would actually be good for him today. “Hi, Ty. Mac had me put some… files…. Are you okay?” Michelle Clancy asked once he got to the teams pod of desks where she sat with Perrimore, Alston, and Lassiter.

  “Yeah,” he answered with a curt nod. He sat with a thump and gave the chair a moment to protest being used, then leaned back and rubbed hard at his face.

  Clancy paused in his peripheral vision, but thankfully she sat at her desk and got to work instead of keeping after him. “Mac set me up as the liaison with Financial Crimes instead of having them call all over the office, horning in,” she said.

  “My condolences,” Ty grunted. “Hes still trying to keep you and Garrett out of the spotlight. Have you heard from Zane? How is he?” Clancy asked in clear concern.

  “Hes blind,” Ty answered in an almost cruel voice. He looked up at her, not wanting to be nasty to her but knowing he would be if she kept talking. He didnt need the reminder.

  Clancy met his eyes, her lips thinned with displeasure, but either she felt the impending meltdown emanating from ten feet away or decided she just didnt want to know. She went back to her paperwork without another word.

  The pod worked in heavy silence, unspoken questions hanging heavy in the air and one teammate conspicuously absent. It was a good two hours later, with Ty well into the reams of paperwork, when the call came in.

  “Weve had another detonation at the Inner Harbor!” McCoys voice snapped through the quiet room. “Activate bank response protocol!”

  The two teams of agents and other support personnel, about thirteen of twenty in the office accounted for, erupted into movement with a purpose. Ty grabbed his windbreaker and shrugged into it as he headed for the stairs with everyone else. The office wasnt really set up for emergency responses like this, but they managed. Vans in the basement were stocked with weapons, tactical gear, and all that fun stuff that usually got people killed. They piled into three vans, heading for three separate banks that had been pinpointed as the most likely targets. All far away from the Inner Harbor.

  The bank robbers were trying to divide and conquer like the Allies had in World War II, forcing Germany to fight on two fronts. Any military mind knew that a two-front war was almost impossible to win, and that was what the Baltimore authorities had been fighting.

  McCoy had devised a plan of his own in response. He had volunteered members of his own Criminal division team, members not involved in either the emergency response to a bomb threat or to the scene of a bank robbery, and he had formed five special task forces in cooperation with the Maryland Joint Terrorism Task Force, supported by the Baltimore Divisions Field Intelligence Group.

  The proper response to the next bomb scare would still be seen, but those special teams, made up of a mishmash of agents and cops from different agencies, would respond to pre-selected targets based on where the bomb was.

  They got updates about the bombing on the way. Two more stores blown to pieces, several with collateral damage. No warning, no evacuation. Uncounted injuries, and they all held their breath with each announcement, waiting to hear about casualties.

  Ty closed his eyes and lowered his head. Hed promised himself and all of Baltimore that they would stop these monsters, but all hed done was get embroiled in it, making himself a target, making Zane a target, egging the bombers on, and seemingly making the attacks more personal and the attackers more bold.

  He couldnt shake the feeling that this was on his shoulders. The van careened to a stop, sending the agent next to him tumbling against his side. Neither one of them acknowledged it, instead hurrying to open the door and spill out to surround the entrance to the bank.

  Following the predetermined plan of action, they fanned out to cover the two entrances and check all vehicles present, and one of the assistant SAICs made the call inside to touch base with the manager before a team moved inside.

  The call wasnt answered. It was some kind of miracle, but the team had found the right bank. Ty knelt behind the wheel of a police cruiser, a city cop beside him, listening over his earpiece for instructions. There was a sudden burst of chatter, and Ty turned, pointing his gun with its scope over the hood of the car at the entrance to the bank. A skinny man in a cheesecloth hood exited the bank, a woman held hostage in front of him, a gun held to her head. The cops surrounding him shouted, but Ty was hearing the words in his ear instead.

  “Yellow, do you have a shot?”

  “Negative. ”


  “Green?”

  “No line of sight. ”

  “Red?”

  “Nothing clean. ”

  “Blue?”

  Ty squeezed one eye closed, looking down the scope at the bank robber. Looking at the mans trigger finger in his scope. It was resting on the trigger guard. He brought the scope up, checking line of sight to the targets head.

  “Affirmative,” he murmured in answer.

  “Take the shot. ”

  Ty breathed out carefully, taking a moment to ask for forgiveness. Then he squeezed the trigger. The hooded mans body snapped backward as the bullet struck the shoulder of his gun arm. There was no danger of him squeezing off a shot with his finger on the guard, and they wanted him taken alive. A gruesome spray of blood painted the glass doors behind him, and the bullet impacted the glass, sending tendrils of splintered bulletproof glass outward. The man let out a high-pitched shriek as he bounced on the concrete. The hostage yanked free and ran, leaving the cops and agents with clear shots. If the hooded man raised that gun so much as a millimeter, Ty would take his head off.

  But the gun clattered to the ground as the man rolled around on his back, still howling and clutching at his shoulder. Ty raised his head and watched as agents and police officers surrounded the man. The cop beside Ty gave his shoulder a pat. “Nice shot, brother. ”

  Ty nodded at him, standing to watch as the man was dragged toward the police line to be questioned and unmasked. A call was put in to the bank and was answered immediately. There was no one else in there, they were told. Only one bank robber had been there.

  Surely all this wasnt the work of one man? There had been reports of two to three in each robbery, and with the bomb spotter, they had the group pegged for up to four. Ty moved closer to the ambulance, his gun over his shoulder as people parted to let him through. The man was on a stretcher, crying out in pain, a scream so feminine that it sounded almost like a child. The mask was ripped off to reveal his face, and Ty stared in shock.

  It was a woman. No, a girl, a goddamn kid, eighteen if she was a day. And she wasnt taking the injury well, sobbing and red-faced, saying over and over that it hurt, calling for her mother.

  “Get this,” a city cop said, stopping next to Ty. He had the girls weapon in hand. “Its not even loaded. ”

  “What the hell was she thinking?” the first cop said in disgusted wonder. Ty shook his head, speechless. Shooting a teenage girl through a snipers scope had not been on his bucket list. His stomach curled, threatening to send his lunch back up.

  “Its a clean shot,” the EMT announced. “Shell be fine, but we need to get her moving. ” They lifted the would-be bank robber up and headed for the ambulance, two cops alongside for the ride.

  “Hey,” the assistant SAIC said as he stopped at Tys side. “It was a good shot. Saved her life. ” Ty nodded, but he still had to swallow against being sick. He took a step after the stretcher. “Hey,” he called to the paramedics. They stopped, looking at him expectantly. The assistant SAIC nodded for them to let him closer. He stepped up to the stretcher and looked down at the girl. Her face was streaked with tears, her blonde hair mussed and bloody from the spray after the high-velocity round hitting her.

  “Youre that guy from TV,” she stuttered at him, still sobbing. “No. Im the guy who just shot you,” Ty told her, voice hard with anger.

  “You arent supposed to be here,” she sobbed hysterically. “Youre supposed to be at the other place!” The paramedics ended the interview before Ty could ask her anything, citing her vitals as too dangerous to continue with the stress. They carted her off as Ty frowned after them, trying to decide what other place shed meant.

  “THEY got Hannah,” Graham told Pierce and Ross as soon as the two boys walked through the door. “They shot her, man. ”

  “Good,” Pierce responded succinctly.

  “What?”

  “She was a dead weight, man. Why do you think I sent her alone?”

  Graham stared at his former friend, not believing it. “What about the agents?” he asked, heart in his throat.

  Pierce just shook his head, not intending to explain what had happened. “Pierce! What about your white whale?”

  “I said forget him. Hes not worth it. ”

  “You said he was Moby Dick. ”

  “Yeah, well, now hes just a dick, and Im done with him. ” “Why?” Graham needled.

  “Dude, just drop it,” Ross grunted, irritated.

  Pierce whirled on him. “We didnt go after those douchebags. We were watching at the bank, okay? Moby Dick is the one who shot Hannah. ”

  Graham frowned as Pierce stormed out. He didnt understand. Pierce had wanted Hannah dead, but he was upset because Agent Grady had been the one to shoot her?

  He looked at Ross for some sort of explanation.

  “Pierce is scared of him,” Ross muttered. “He thinks he had it wrong and hes not Captain Ahab after all. ” Graham looked back at the door where Pierce had disappeared. “I think he had it right the first time. ”

  TY PACED through Zanes living room, making figure eights around the coffee table and couch as he kept up a constant undertone of muttering and cursing.

  Zane was gone. Just gone. Ty had gone home first. There had been no signs of struggle, which had made Ty feel a little better. But also no note, no phone call, nothing to let Ty know where Zane had gone, who he was with, or if he was okay. So Ty had come over here on the off chance Zane had tried to walk it or gotten someone to drive him by for clothes or something. And again, nothing. Ty was scared and angry. He didnt like worrying like this. He didnt like the abject terror that came with knowing Zane was practically helpless without his sight. And he definitely didnt like knowing that these kids, these stupid, spoiled psychopathic teenagers who were killing people left and right, had it out for him and Zane.
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