Despair of the Heart

A UC story by Deana Lisi

Disclaimer: I don't own Frank Donovan or anyone else on his team, but I do own the original characters. Thanks to Karri for a cool idea she gave me, and thanks to her and Ruse for helping me figure out a title and summary for this story…I dunno what it is, my brain refused to work! LOL

As Frank walked into the Nest, he could literally feel tension in the air. Quickening his steps, he wondered what kind of new case his team had been dealt. They'd had a slow week, and the higher-ups had told him that they might have something new for them. If he was right, they'd apparently held to their word.

Walking into the main room, he spied the other four members of his unit quietly sitting at the table, awaiting him. "Good morning."

"Mornin'," four voices answered. They didn't sound very happy.

"I take it the new case came in," said Frank, walking towards the coffeemaker.

"Yeah, Frank," said Jake.

Frank deliberately prevented himself from showing unease at Jake's tone. He was their leader; he had to be strong for their sake. "What does it entail?" he asked.

"It's a kidnapping," said Alex.

"Who's the victim?" Frank asked, picking up the coffee pot.

Silence followed for a few seconds, before Monica—being the brave one—stood from her chair and made her way over to him.

"Frank," she said, softly. "The victim is Alanur Bay."

That was the last thing Frank expected to hear, and he missed the coffee mug, spilling the scalding coffee all over his arm and hand.

Monica gasped, grabbing the pot and setting it down.

The others stood when they saw what happened, and Alex ran over, to where Monica was gripping Frank's arm, pushing his sleeve up so she could see how badly he'd burned himself.

Frank was hardly aware of any of it. My mother has been kidnapped! Kidnapped! She's in the hands of a possible psycho! What is he doing to her? What has he already done to her? Suddenly he realized that he was being pulled towards the kitchen, where Alex turned on the water and Monica stuck his arm under it.

The cold water on his burning skin brought him back to reality, and he stood there, only now noticing the bright red discoloration over his left hand and forearm. The sleeve of his black shirt was soggy, and he was fleetingly glad that it was made out of cotton. Who cares about a shirt! My mother is missing…she could be dead! My father* and my fiancée** were murdered…will my mother be too?

Focused on Frank's burns, the two women didn't yet see the emotional anguish in his face.

"How does it feel now, Frank?" Alex asked a minute later.

He didn't answer, and she looked at him to see his eyes closed, his expression grief-stricken.

Sighing, Alex grabbed a towel from the drawer and soaked it, wrapping it around Frank's arm and hand as Monica shut off the water.

"Frank?" Alex said.

Frank finally opened his eyes, his expression changing into an unreadable one when he realized that they were watching him.

Turning to leave the kitchen, they saw Jake and Cody standing in the doorway. They were worried about their boss too, knowing how he'd tragically lost his father when he was only sixteen…finding his bloody, dead body, his young mind then suppressing the memory for years to come.

They all desperately hoped that this case wouldn't end with the loss of his mother.

Jake and Cody stood aside as Frank left the kitchen, seemingly on autopilot as he headed towards the table.

"I'll get the first aid kit," said Cody, running off.

The others followed Frank, sitting in the seats closest to his.

"Details," Frank said, scrubbing his good hand over his face.

Monica sighed, picking up a file. "The kidnapper's name is Andrew Harris. American, 40 years old. He's been suspected in a mass of kidnappings that happened all over the Midwest, but the police never found any proof other than the fact that he was a new acquaintance of each missing person." She flipped through the papers. "The victims were all female, ranging in ages from 5 to 40...until now."

Cody suddenly came running back in, carrying a huge plastic box. He brought it over to the table and sat it down, yielding it to Alex, who immediately opened it.

"What happened to my mother?" Frank asked, his voice sounding strained.

Monica closed the file, with a sigh. "The police finally obtained a warrant for Harris' arrest, after they finally found enough proof to implicate him in one of the kidnappings. An officer spotted his car and they followed him to a convenience store. When they walked in to arrest him, he grabbed the person who was in line in front of him…"

"My mother," Frank said, as Alex unwrapped the wet towel from his arm.

Monica nodded.

"Did he…hurt her?" Frank asked, afraid of the answer.

Monica shook her head. "He used her against the cops, and pulled her out of the store with him. The cops made chase…but he somehow got away."

Frank clenched his fists, wincing when his left hand protested the movement.

"Hold still," Alex chided him, slathering burn cream on his skin.

The cream felt cold and tingly, and it only served to irritate Frank more then he already was. He opened his mouth to tell Alex to stop, that it wasn't bad, but when he looked at his arm, he changed his mind. Their coffee maker was known for making coffee hotter then it should be. He realized that when his shock over the situation wore off, he'd really feel just how badly he'd gotten burned.

Something suddenly struck him. "Where was she kidnapped from?"

Monica opened the folder again. "Chicago."

Frank closed his eyes. He didn't even know that his mother was in town. She wasn't due back from Egypt until the next day. "When did this happen?"

"Last week."

Frank jumped to his feet. "LAST WEEK?! This madman has had her for a WEEK?!"

The girls both stood. "Calm down, Frank!" Monica exclaimed.

Frank leaned his right hand on the table, again closing his eyes. When someone is missing for that long, they usually aren't found alive!

Someone was tugging on his arm, and he all but collapsed back into his chair, his legs not wanting to support his body. She could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere right now…

Everyone silently watched him, not knowing what to say. They were sure that if they spoke, Frank probably wouldn't hear them anyway.

Alex finished wrapping gauze around Frank's hand and arm, gently laying it in his lap rather then on the hard table.

"What I'd like to know," said Cody, softly, as if expecting Frank to flip out at the sound of his voice. "Is why the FBI gave you a case that's so personal?"

Frank sighed, closing his eyes. "They don't know she's my mother. That's the only explanation."

Everyone nodded, knowing that the FBI would've never given him this case if they knew Frank and Alanur's relationship.

"And I want it to stay that way," Frank said, fixing his team with a glare.

Everyone nodded, each of them secretly thinking that Frank wasn't emotionally fit to handle the case, but knowing that voicing that opinion could get them into very deep trouble.

"Was Harris armed?" Frank asked.

Monica had hoped that Frank wouldn't ask that. "Yes, he had a gun."

Frank said nothing, trying to revert himself back to his usual not-openly-reacting self. "Why did the FBI wait a week to give us this case?!" he suddenly realized.

Monica opened the file again. "Someone else was working on it…Agent Ted Johnson. Do you know him? He'd been tracking Harris for a while, before suddenly disappearing."

"Ted Johnson…" Frank tried to remember the name. "I've seen him a few times. When did he disappear?"

"He last had contact with the Bureau on Thursday."

The day before they informed me we might be getting a new case, Frank realized. "He may've found Harris…"

"And was either kidnapped himself, or killed," said Jake, regretting his statement after he said it.

Frank was silent, and the four of them watched him intently. Though he fought to keep his expression normal, they could see the fear and grief for his mother in his eyes.

"Our course of action," said Alex. "Should be in finding out where Johnson was the last time he was heard from."

Everyone nodded.

"Do we have that information, Monica?"

Monica shrugged. "In a way. He'd gotten some kind of tip regarding a warehouse. Where, he didn't say."

Frank sighed. It was always an unknown warehouse. "Are there pictures of Harris and Johnson in your file?"

Monica nodded.

"Make copies. We'll need to ask around…" he suddenly stopped, reaching towards the folder.

Monica pushed it closer to him, watching sadly as Frank flipped through it, finding what he knew was there.

A picture of his mother.

Alanur looked quite young for her age, and Frank wondered where the FBI had obtained the picture from. She was smiling, her long, wavy black hair cascading around her shoulders and down her back. She'd gotten the curls from her father…

Everyone startled when Frank suddenly slammed the folder onto the table, frowning when they saw his face change.

"What is it?" Alex asked.

"My grandfather…" was all Frank said.

Everyone sighed. Ardeth Bay was very old, nearly 101. News of his daughter's kidnapping and possible death would surely kill him.

"I doubt he knows about this, Frank," said Alex, desperately hoping that it was true.

Frank turned the picture around, quickly reading the info on the back.

Alanur Bay

Ethnicity: Egyptian

Address: unknown, possibly somewhere in Egypt

Next of kin: unknown

Frank sighed with relief. The Med-jai tribe was still so secretive that even the FBI didn't know about it. "Take these pictures on the road and question people; informants, business, everyone, especially if their located near a warehouse. Make extras, Cody, we're all in on this one."

Everyone nodded, and Cody took the pictures from Frank, quickly running over to his precious equipment.

As they waited, no one spoke, each of them watching Frank worriedly.

Frank didn't acknowledge their looks, staring down at the tabletop. He was in the middle of one of the worst crises imaginable, and he honestly didn't know how he would deal with it. He's had my mother for an entire week…is she still alive?

* 'Déjà Vu' : storyid=1064408

** 'Till Death Do Us Part' : storyid=1205322