They parked the cars far enough away that they called no attention to their arrival. Two OSI backup cars filled with security personnel were standing by, and a block away, there was an ambulance and paramedics waiting for the go-ahead to move in. Steve was staring in the direction of the warehouse, when Oscar spoke in a low tone to him.

"Any ideas?"

Steve pointed toward a corner window that was the sole source of light in the building. "See that?"

"Yeah."

"When you hear the sound of glass breaking, go through whatever door you find into that room."

Oscar turned to Russ. "Ready?" The younger man nodded, and Goldman looked back at the agents behind him, and then at Steve. "Let's go."

--------------------

Jonathan Giles turned as he heard the crash of the glass, and looked up in time to see a man flying though the window as if propelled by a rocket. Glass shards exploded into the air, and Giles reached for his gun while trying to cover his eyes from the debris. Steve knocked the man to the floor with a force heavier than necessary. Oscar, Russ, and the security team broke through the door to the room, a second later, guns raised and ready to fire. Oscar spotted Wells lying on the floor and ran to him.

"Rudy?" Goldman knelt down, and gently pulled Rudy into his arms, cradling the man's head on his chest. "Rudy....can you hear me?" Wells was unresponsive, and Oscar put his fingers to Rudy's cartoid artery, but he couldn't find a pulse. "Oh God, no, please, not this man...." Oscar cradled Rudy closer, his voice a low whisper, "Not this man....."

Russ holstered his gun, tears stinging his eyes as he looked at the sorrow on Goldman's face. The security team took Giles from Steve, and Oscar pulled his gun, pointing it at the man.

"Stop!"

The man turned, and after Oscar let Rudy slip from his arms, he walked toward him, his intent clear.

"Oscar, no!"

"I'm sorry, Steve, but I can't let this piece of garbage walk out of here." Goldman glanced over at his old friend, his eyes misted over. "Rudy's dead." He turned back to Giles. "And you're responsible."

Steve watched in horror as Oscar's hand flexed around the handle of the gun, his knuckles turning white from gripping it so hard.

"Oscar, please, put the gun down."

Goldman's hand began to shake as it pointed toward Giles' head.

"I can't, Steve."

Austin's voice was soft, "Rudy wouldn't want this..... you know how he feels--" He stopped himself, and took a breath, continuing, "How he felt about guns."

Russ, bending over Rudy, yelled to Goldman, "Oscar! I've got a pulse."

Oscar looked back toward Rudy, and then at Steve, who moved closer, until he was standing next to Goldman, their eyes locked in a silent understanding. Steve gently put his hand on the barrel of the gun, and removed it from the large hand that had gripped it with a grief few would have had the courage to feel.

Steve squeezed Oscar's neck, and felt the man tremble under his hand. "It's okay, Oscar. It's over."

Goldman nodded at Steve, and walked over to Rudy, once again kneeling down to hold him. Russ picked up a syringe and bottle from the floor on the other side of the room.

He yelled over at Oscar, "Rudy's been shot him up with LSD, and from the looks of this bottle, I'd say he was given a truckload."

Oscar bit his own upper lip to keep the tears at bay. "He's so cold.....where are those damned paramedics?" Oscar pulled Wells closer. "I'm so sorry, Rudy. It should have been me."

The voice that responded was like gravel, "No, Oscar, it was supposed to be me. Just like it was supposed to be Tommy Maloney 40 years ago. I realize that now." Rudy's eyes slowly opened, and they were filled with pain. "Just like Jaime and Steve are meant to be bionic. Life isn't some big mystery; there are no accidents. Everything we do matters, Oscar, everything." Rudy stared into the dark brown eyes looking at him with tremendous worry. "I'm not making any sense to you, am I...."

Oscar brushed a gentle hand over Rudy's forehead. "Shhh......you've been through hell, Rudy, and I want you to just take it easy now."

He grabbed a hold of Oscar's arm as a wave of pain shuddered through him. "Oscar...."

"I'm here."

"Please....make it stop. I can't take this anymore...."

Oscar gently stroked Rudy's forehead to calm him. "Hang in there, Rudy. Just hang in there. I've got you, and help's on the way."

Steve stood beside Oscar, as the gurney rolled in. He watched as the paramedics carefully took Rudy from Goldman, and then he helped pull Oscar up from the floor.

He looked into the dark brown eyes. "Who's Tommy Maloney?"

Oscar shook his head. "I have no idea."

They followed the gurney out of the building, and watched it load onto the ambulance. Steve got in with Rudy, and Russ agreed to drive Oscar to the hospital to meet them there. As they were getting in the car, Russ turned to Goldman, puzzlement on his face.

Oscar looked at Russ. "What?"

"Tommy Maloney."

"What about him?"

"You're never going to tell Rudy, are you?"

"Get in the car, Russ."

"Don't you think he should know the truth?"

"Russ, there are some things in this life that should remain as they are; not every mystery is meant to be solved. Now get in the car."

"Why are you still protecting him from this?"

Oscar sighed, "If you don't get in the car right now, Russ, I will call NSB Agent Wolinski, and inform her that I have proof beyond doubt that you have a burning crush on her."

Russ turned pale, got in the car and closed the door. Without a word, he started the engine, and headed toward the OSI Medical Center. As they were getting out of the car at the medical center, it hit him.

"Wait a minute....you can't prove that I have a crush on her!"

Oscar smiled. "Yeah, but she doesn't know that...."

Russ watched Goldman as he walked toward the hospital, the relaxed air Oscar was known for finally returning to his stride. Russ wondered if he'd ever uncover all the layers that comprised Oscar Goldman. Somehow, Russ doubted it.

The End