What If Conclusion

Messier? Pride was surprised when he saw the police captain heading toward them. "What brings you all the way out here Jim?"

Messier had think fast. He was on his way to get the truck out of the storage container when Pride spotted him. Damn. He had taken care of LaSalle's phone but he didn't think about Pride being able to use GPS to track the location of the truck. He needed to play this cool.

Shoving his hands into his coat pockets, he thought quickly. "Got a call about another dead body out here. Dispatch said it might be that of a civilian. How 'bout y'all?"

Pride shifted his a gaze to Brody as an uneasy feeling formed in his stomach. He prayed to God that the dead body wasn't LaSalle. He chose his words carefully. "Brody and I are working on a case involving stolen contraband."

Messier had no choice but to play along. "Well that there's a mighty nice piece of contraband in there." He said looking at the truck. "Doesn't LaSalle drive some thin' like that?"

Pride smiled tightly. "It's an agency lease but yeah as a matter of fact he does."

"Speaking of LaSalle, how's he doin?" Messier added.

"He's fine. I've got him work'n on another case at the moment." the two men locked eyes for several seconds until in a stroke of luck Messier's phone rang.

"Gotta take this" Messier said fishing out his phone. "But, uh good luck on your contraband case." He added before nodding a cordial acknowledgement to Brody.

Brody held her tongue until she was certain the shifty police captain was out of ear shot. "Ok, so why did you just lie to him about Chris?"

"Before I spoke to you this morning, I went to see Cassius. He gave me some information that leads me to believe that Messier is our mole." Pride explained. He wanted to act on this new found piece of information but Chris' disappearance had taken priority.

"So you think Messier knows something about Chris?"

"Possibly, " Pride said. He hadn't been amiss to the fact that the police captain had seemed to have taken a vested interest in his missing agent.

Hot. The shipping container had become stifling hot. Though his oxygen supply still seemed to be plentiful he felt like he was ready to pass out. LaSalle thought as he began to grate his bound wrists up against the hard metal at his back. He had managed to root around enough to find a small nick in the metal, that would break through the plastic zip tie that was holding his hands captive.

Sweat was running down his forehead and the duct tape gag made it hard to breathe. In a little bit he might not have to worry about Messier coming back and putting that bullet in his head. The heat might do the murdering bastards job for him.

He just about had the zip tie he thought when the door to the container suddenly swung opened. It was Messier.

Stepping inside Messier pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and blotted his forehead. "Whew it's hot in here." He shoved the handkerchief back into his pocket and moved toward his captive, "You'll never guess who I just ran into"

Chris winced as Messier ripped the duct tape from his mouth.

" Your buddy Pride's smarter than I thought." Messier pulled out the gauze allowing the agent to take in a huge gulp of air.

Thank God, he could breathe again. Chris continued to take in large labored breaths while Messier reached back into his pocket and pulled out a gun. LaSalle's gun to be exact.

Chris lunged at larger man, his hands free, from the zip ties. Messier fell backwards and two men rolled over one another, exchanging blows as the gun skidded across the floor of the container.

Messier might have been older but he was a lot heavier than Chris and what he lost in age he gained in power. Straddling the younger agent he managed to get off a couple of key blows until LaSalle took the upper hand. He almost had him until Messier managed to produce a loaded syringe, driving straight it into Chris's thigh.

Unlike last time, the syringe was full. There was enough M99 to take out an elephant.

Messier waited until the agent dropped, before pulling to his feet and picking up the gun. Strolling back over to the flaccid and slack looking agent he pondered a moment before taking aim. "You were a good cop and an even better agent."

"Still is," Pride appeared with Brody guns ready.

With Pride covering Messier Brody made her way her fallen partner. "His pulse is slow" she told Pride.

"In about another minute it'll be non- existent" Messier said as Brody picked up the empty syringe.

"What did you give him?" She growled as Messier surrendered his weapon and put his hands up. The police captain said nothing as Pride began to cuff him, infuriating Brody even more.

"What did you give him?" She repeated watching Pride give his former friend a shove.

"Answer the question."


Brody whipped out her cell phone dialing 911. "That's a large animal tranquilizer. It's fatal to humans." By federal law veterinarians were required to carry an antidote in cases of accidental injections. They needed to get LaSalle to a hospital now.

"Why?" Pride demanded. He thought Jim Messier was one of the good ones. Over the years they worked side by side on several occasions. Now, Pride wouldn't say they close friends, but rather good acquaintances. The feeling that Jim had crossed over to the other side stung.

" They're out numbering us, Pride and their winning." It didn't hurt that Sasha Broussard had offered him a boat load of money to make certain that her contraband cleared the port.

"And LaSalle?"

Messier smirked. "You and LaSalle are just too good. You were just about to figure things out and I needed more time."

Pride grabbed the handcuffed man by his shirt front. "If LaSalle dies, I will make sure that you get the death penalty."

"I wouldn't expect anything less," Messier replied noting that Brody had started CPR.

Six hours later, Meredith Brody sat staring pensively at the man she had performed CPR on for eight minutes before the paramedics arrived and had taken over. Although they had given him the antidote on site, but his body had been slow to respond. She'd watched them as they used the AED device in the ambulance to restore normal heart rhythm and for a moment she thought she had lost her partner.

All she could think about was how Chris had shown up at her house wanting to talk and she had turned him away. Maybe if she hadn't of been so caught up with her ex coming to call and wanting to defend her honor over an accidental fat lip she would have been there for her partner.

Loretta and Percy had been in several times trying to sway her to take a break but she refused to leave his side. She had promised him that the next time she saw him that they would talk. It seemed so silly now that she had gotten so angry over a fat lip. Everything that had happened over the last couple of weeks now seemed so trivial. It was if all should be forgiven or should it?

Standing up, Brody placed her hands on the siding, looking down at his still form. "Ok, you wanted to talk? Let's talk. Just because someone you loved was killed, it, doesn't give you the right to just to give up. Nor does it give you the right to hold everything inside until you explode. I still need you out there watching my back with you brain and emotions fully in tact. I don't need you to fight my battles for me. Now about Baitfish, I understand how you got yourself in that position where you needed to pull that trigger, I really do. But you have to understand my position. I killed 8 people after my sister died. My life was hell until I came here and I don't want to see you go down that same path. So, whatever deep hole you've crawled into I'm going to be there to pull you out whether you like it or not. I 'm not going to let this swallow you, I can't."

Damn it. She paused for a moment to swipe at her eyes. She swore she wouldn't get upset. Turning she reached for a tissue, not expecting to hear a reply.

"Why?" He swallowed in a dull version of his normally thick southern accent.

Brody whirled back around, trying hard not to crack a smile. She had just read him the riot act and it would seem utterly ridiculous if she were to suddenly fling her arms around him like a love sick school girl. "How long have you been awake?"

"Long enough," he'd heard every word and hadn't missed the emotion that was clouding her voice.

"How do you feel?"

Chris tried to sit up a little taller only to be met with an almost unforgivable combination of a headache and vertigo. The ASU marching band was giving the performance of a lifetime in his head. "Like I've just been on my Krewe Kraw ten times over."

"You deserve worse than that." She said trying to play the part of the stern mother who's child had just gotten drunk for the first time.

LaSalle pulled his lips into a thin line. "I take that you're still mad about the fat lip."

Brody looked away for a moment. "What I am most angry about is that you preach that we're a family so much, yet you won't me in."

Well now wasn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? LaSalle thought as he flicked his tongue out over his lips. "What do you need me to do?" He asked not wanting to debated the issue.

Brody crossed her arms over chest. "For starters, you're moving out of your house. You can stay on my couch until we find your another place to live." It wasn't healthy for him to stay in the place where the woman that had he planned to marry someday had been viciously murdered.

"Ok" Chris nodded but what when your ex comes to call?" It would be a little awkward when the lover who wanted to beat the hell out of him suddenly showed up to find the rogue agent sleeping on her couch.

Brody sucked in a breath. Again, she was trying not to let her true feelings show. "Not that it's any of your business but I told James that I didn't want to see him anymore."

"Good for you." Chris smiled secretly pleased that she'd finally cut the womanizing playboy loose.

Brody's brow furrowed. "What makes you say that?"

"You deserve better is all." He smiled into her miffed looking stare. "So what's next?" He knew her list of demands was going to include more than just him sleeping on her couch.

"You're going to some sort of grief counseling."

LaSalle rolled his eyes at that one.

"The woman you wanted to marry was a licensed therapist." Brody countered. "And you've seen what it has done for Cade."

"All the more reason not to go," Chris returned stubbornly.

"Then talk to Nate Getz."

"The NCIS shrink?"

"You know Pride can make you."

"But he won't"

"How do you know he won't," Brody challenged.

"Because that's not the way we do things around here. You see me and King we've got this agreement. I don't mess in his personal affairs and he stays outta mine." That was the way it had been for the last decade. If Chris needed Pride's help he'd ask and vice versa.

"Not this time Christopher," Pride entered the room with coffee in hand. " I've already made arrangements for Nate to get here as fast as he can." If Pride was going to have to spend the rest of his life indebted to Hamilton he was going to make damn sure the version of LaSalle that came back from all this was the same man he'd groomed him to be: first one through the door last one out.

Brody waited until Pride stepped out in the hallway to take a phone call to issue her her final demand. "Lastly, there's the issue of your clothing."

It wasn't all of his clothing just a few things: specifically that grey t-shirt and the black one. He'd been wearing the black one the night Savannah died and the grey one when he'd shot and killed Baitfish.

"What d'heck is wrong with my clothes?" He clipped wondering why Brody felt such a need to put him back together.

There was one thing however, he couldn't wait to start life as her new room mate.