Rating: maybe PG13, to be safe.
Summary: The team gets very, very frustrated with doctor-patient privilege! And Sam deals with a problem of her own. My very first M/S fic. Please R&R!
MISSING: CAROLYNN CASPER
Martin examined the photograph Jack was now fastening to the whiteboard. Carolynn Casper, age 14, had gone missing from her home in one of the city's slums on June 2nd. Her dad woke up, and she was gone. Used to her comings and goings, Mr. Casper hadn't reported his daughter's disappearance until three full days later, when she didn't show up for her photo shoot in Live Now! magazine.
Yeah, this girl was a model. Martin could see it in the picture. Long black lashes framed baby blue eyes, red lips curved in a sultry expression; her skin shined. Long blonde hair floated down around her face. Then again, Martin thought, he definitely couldn't judge her shallowness by long blonde hair. He glanced over at the woman sitting two chairs down from him, next to Vivian. Samantha Spade had to be the most complicated person he knew.
Martin mentally slapped himself on the forehead. He'd done it again. He'd started thinking about Samantha and had missed the beginning of his boss's speech. That was happening a lot lately. Martin sighed, and tried to listen to what Jack was saying.
"...was last seen arguing with her best friend, Cai Sanford. Martin, Danny, I want you two to talk to Cai, see what she knows. Sam, Viv, interview the father. Whoever finishes first gets to join me in taking on Live Now! later." Jack paused, and looked each of his team members in the eye. "I know it's been over seventy-two hours already. Odds are not good. Let's move."
Martin grabbed his coat and glanced around, waiting for Danny. He was glad for Samantha. This long after the shooting, and she still ended up with mostly paperwork. It would be good for her to get out in the field again... Now Martin really did slap his forehead. He was doing it again.
Danny glanced at him oddly. "You ready?"
Focus, Martin told himself. "Yeah, let's go."
Danny glanced over at Martin, his partner, from the passenger side of Martin's black Solara. They had only met two years or so ago, but they were the best of friends, and Danny could always tell when something was on a friend's mind. And Martin had been unusually silent the past few days. Danny resisted the urge to smile and shake his head. He bet he knew what it was about. He hadn't missed Martin's staring during the briefing. Samantha was Danny's other best friend, and both of them were happy that way. But Martin's interest, he knew, was more romantic.
"Look, if it's that important to you, talk to her."
Martin shot him a dirty glance.
"No, I mean it, man. Ask her out."
Martin tried to ignore him, then sighed. "You can't just ask someone like Samantha Spade to go out with you."
"You just don't. I mean, why would she want to go out with me, alright, I'm the rookie here."
"I know her better than you do. She may surprise you." Danny's voice took on a sing-song tone. " You won't know till you ask."
"Just because you two have worked together longer doesn't mean you know her better."
"But I do anyway."
Martin shook his head. "Okay, fine. Maybe you do. But she might not be over Jack yet.
Danny grinned. "A lame excuse, and you know it."
Danny looked up at the old, run-down apartment house Martin was currently parking in front of. "Great place to raise a teenage girl," he commented sarcastically.
"I know," Martin responded, "It's not exactly the Ritz, is it?" The two friends got out of the car and went into the building.
"This is it." Martin pointed to the number above the apartment door. "Room 117." He knocked firmly on the old rotting wood that served as a door; there was no response. "Mr. Sanford? FBI! Open up!"
The agents could hear heavy footsteps inside; the door slowly creaked open a crack. A dirty, scruffy-looking, big-bellied man looked out with a scowl. "Whata ya want?"
Danny stepped forward. "Mr. Sanford, we need to talk to Cai."
Mr. Sanford sneered and turned. "Jus' a sec."
The door closed in their faces. From inside the apartment, Danny and Martin could hear the big man yelling. "What 'choo got yerself inta this time! Don' tell me nut'in' girl, ya got the bloody coppers at my door! Well, ya better find out!"
The door opened again and a girl of about fourteen was pushed out of the room to run smack into Danny. Then the door shut, and the agents could here locks being pushed into place on the other side of the door.
Danny set the girl back on her feet, and didn't let go of her arm until she had regained her balance. He peered at her; she stared at the floor. "Cai Sanford?" The girl nodded miserably. "Look, you're not in trouble, we just need to ask you some questions." No response. "It's about your friend, Carolynn Casper."
Cai looked up, startled. "What?"
"She went missing three days ago."
Cai looked upset at this news, but not necessarily surprised. Noticing this, Danny prodded, "Do you know where she might have gone?"
"Okay, when did you last see her?"
"Uh... About a week ago. We were, um, shopping."
Danny, noticing her hesitation, decided that shop-lifting was more like it. He also knew there was an eye-witness saying Cai and Casper had argued three days ago. "Are you lying to me?"
"What? I... No."
"I think you are."
Martin leaned down toward her. "Look, we can do this here or at the office, it's your choice."
Cai lifted her chin, but her eyes remained on the dirty tiled flooring. She fiddled with her sleeve and smoothed down her maroon and gold shirt, before finally meeting Danny's gaze and staying very purposely silent.
Vivian didn't think much of the apartment house that David Casper and his daughter lived in. She didn't trust the stairs to hold, so she stepped over them and in through the lockless door. Samantha followed her lead.
There were no windows in the drab, gray hallway she now stood in. The little light that illuminated the place came from dull, bare bulbs dangling from short cords overhead. Their glare bathed everything in a sickly yellow that almost made Vivian want to throw up.
The door to apartment 2B didn't have a lock either. Still, Vivian knocked before calling, "FBI!" and stepping inside.
There were two people inside, a young man slouched in a chair and another man glaring at him.
Samantha stepped forward. "David Casper?"
The man didn't take his eyes from the youth. "Yes?"
"Agents Spade and Johnson, we need to ask you a few questions about your daughter's disappearance."
"I don't know anything about it. Ask him. He knows."
Vivian looked at the young man, who glared right back up at Mr. Casper. "I di'n't do nothin', man!" he protested.
Both men broke their staring contest to glance Vivian's way. "We're not accusing anyone, here. Mr. Casper, would you please step into the hall with me for a minute." It wasn't a request. Shooting one last dirty look the young man's way, Mr. Casper followed Vivian out.
Viv closed the door behind them.
The lady gingerly took the seat across from him. He bet she was hoping it wouldn't fall apart under her. It held. She looked up at him. He was watching her warily, so she started the conversation. "I'm Agent Spade from the Missing Persons Unit, and you are…?"
He glanced at her suspiciously before answering, "Name's Zar."
Agent Spade looked at him skeptically. "Zar."
"Yeah, short for Lizard." Zar thought that if it hadn't been rude, the lady in front of him probably would have rolled her eyes. Maybe Agent Spade was still a girl, then. She actually looked to be about his age. Then he chided himself. He refused to fall for a cop!
"Well, Zar, do you mind telling me what your birth name is?"
Now he scowled at her. What did it matter what his birth name was? He hated it, and never used it. But then again, his first rule of life on the street was to never draw attention to yourself. And mostly, that meant don't upset a cop. Okay, fine. What did it matter if she knew his birth name? He'd never actually been caught thieving, never actually reported for underage drinking, never actually busted for drug dealing. His name wasn't on record. It wouldn't help this girl-cop at all. "Nigel Simmons."
Agent Spade scribbled something in her notebook. "How do you know David Casper, Mr. Simmons?"
Zar smirked. "I'm Lynny's boyfriend. I'm twenty-three," he added, watching her reaction closely. Respectable people, like this agent seemed to be, often blanched at the thought of the nine-year difference in him and Carolynn's ages. This girl, though, Agent Spade, didn't bat an eyelash, which was disappointing. He suddenly wondered if she had ever dated someone almost a decade older than she was. "You can call me Nigel," he suddenly blurted. Now where had that come from?
She glanced up at him, and he couldn't read her carefully guarded expression. "Samantha."
He grinned. "Sam Spade?"
She flashed him an obviously fake smile, then continued flipping through her notebook. When she had settled on a page, she said, "Got anything to help me find your girlfriend?"
"I'm the one who saw 'em arguing, Lynny an' Cai." He pointed out the window behind her. "Through that window. They were on the other side of Jefferson Street."
The agent, Samantha Spade, turned and glanced out the window, then back at him. "You hear anything?"
"Nah, they were too far away, but - " He stopped. What was he doing? To think what he had almost blurted! "But, uh, they looked real angry."
She studied him closely, and her mouth curled up on one side. "You're not telling me something," she said in an almost sing-song voice.
How much of the truth did she need to know? How much could he tell without getting in trouble? He thought for a moment, then said, "Well, I did see Lynny go into the phone booth down there, after Cai had left. She started dialin' a number, but hung up 'fore she finished. Then she left. 'S all I know."
"Why didn't you tell the police this earlier?"
"I forgot." He tried to make it sound as believable as he could, and thought he might have succeeded.
Agent Samantha Spade stood up. "If you 'remember' anything else, give me a call." She handed him a small white card. Her business card. He looked down at it, then pocketed it.
Vivian again led the way through the narrow door as she and Samantha left the apartment house.
"Amazing," Vivian muttered.
"How little that man knows about his daughter."
"Mmm. Well, at least we have something." They did. Armed with the information Nigel Simmons had provided, they had managed to bully the owner of the drug store down the street into giving them video footage of the phone booth three days back, from the store's security cameras.