Author: bionic4ever PM
TEM3: Rudy goes missing and when Jaime and Steve are sent to find him, tragedy threatens them all.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Chapters: 6 - Words: 5,631 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-02-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4049617
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The black limousine pulling slowly up the driveway did not bode well for any plans Steve and Jaime might have had for the evening. When Oscar came for a friendly visit, he drove his own car, but when they saw the limo, they knew the Director of the OSI was coming...for one of them.
"Aw, and it was such a good day, too," Jaime said lightly. Reluctantly, but with brave attempts at welcoming smiles, they opened the door to a grim-looking Oscar. "Which one of us it is this time?" Jaime asked without preamble as they moved into the den to sit down.
"Both of you," Oscar told them, staring directly at the Austins, ready for reaction this news might bring.
"No way!" Steve exploded.
Jaime put a gentle hand on his arm to calm him. "Oscar," she said, pulling her husband back down beside her, "it's either/or with us; you know that. We're not gonna risk Jenna having to grow up with no parents." All three adults turned to gaze briefly at Jenna, who was just beginning to pull up onto all four and rock back and forth. She'd be crawling any day now. Jaime turned her attention back to Oscar, her eyes flashing with emotion. "It's bad enough that one of us has to take a risk! Both is just asking too much, and we won't -"
"Rudy is missing," Oscar told them, very quietly.
Steve frowned. "Isn't he still on vacation? Ice fishing up North somewhere?"
"Technically, yes, but he missed his scheduled safety check-in with us last night, and my friends with the local police department found his cabin empty this morning."
"He probably spent the night in the fishing shanty," Steve suggested. "You know how he likes peace and quiet when he's away -"
"Safety check-ins are not optional," Oscar pointed out.
Steve shrugged, trying to avoid the worry creeping up to grab him. "I've ignored more than a few of those mandatory phone calls myself..."
"Rudy isn't you," Jaime told him. "He follows procedures...unless he's in trouble." Oscar nodded. "Oscar, I should go; I can hear him if he's trapped somewhere."
"No, Sweetheart," Steve argued, "I can spot him from further away."
"Which is precisely why I need both of you," Oscar concluded.
"I'll call my aunt to stay with Jenna," Jaime said, reaching for the phone.
"She's already on her way; be here any minute," Oscar told her. "Golden's police department tells me they've had fairly significant snowfall in the last 24 hours, so -"
"That'll make it easier to find him," Steve said, "if we can follow tracks in the snow."
"Yes, but it also presents a real danger to the two of you. Make sure you stop by the lab and pick up those insulated snowsuits Rudy designed for you," Oscar instructed. "We don't know how long you'll be out in that weather, but if you aren't protected, we may need a second search team to look for you."
"We'll be careful," Jaime promised.
"And it shouldn't take long," Steve assumed. "He just waited a little too long for the big one to bite, and lost track of time; we'll bring him home."
- - - - - -
Rudy had not lost track of anything, except his own whereabouts. As for time, he was painfully aware of every passing second.
- - - - - -
Jaime stared out the window as the plane sped toward Golden. "Steve...?" she began tentatively. His eyes were closed, but she knew he wasn't sleeping.
"Do you really think Rudy's just having too much fun to call in?"
"No." Steve took her hand, knowing his opinion would upset her. "He's too responsible for that. He's in trouble – stranded somewhere...or worse."
"Why didn't you say that to Oscar?"
"Because then we'd be sharing this flight with half a dozen suited NSB penguins who would be of absolutely no use in the Canadian wilderness. We'd end up holding their hands like a couple of bionic baby-sitters. They'd only slow us down."
Jaime nodded and closed her eyes, too, still holding her husband's hand.
- - - - - -
Rudy's eyes were open, but he couldn't see. The last thing he remembered, he was in his shanty, dozing a bit while he waited for the next fish to strike. When he'd opened his eyes (about an hour ago), he'd found himself bound hand and foot. His mouth had been taped and something covered his face or possibly his whole head. Rudy sensed that he wasn't alone; there were several people standing over or around him, but no one was talking – not to each other or to him. He began pulling at his bonds, testing them, and was almost instantly stilled by a fist to his stomach.
No one spoke a word, and the silence was deafening and far more terrifying than anything his unknown captors might have said. In the last hour, he'd been struck every time he moved, but the quiet that surrounded him grew louder and more threatening until finally, he stopped struggling. He could only wait; for what – he had no idea.
- - - - - -