After saying goodbye to Katie, Danny focused all of his energy on the FBI. Since he wasn't partying and drinking, he had an endless amount of energy to put into his FBI training. After he sailed through Quantico, he started working at the New York City field office. As a new agent, he basically just got to do the jobs no one else wanted. He poured over phone records looking for one number. He spent countless hours looking at surveillance footage. He did anything and everything he was asked and more. He never questioned orders and he always got the job done while keeping a very positive, upbeat attitude. And for all of that, he developed a very good reputation for a new recruit. After his first year, he was transferred to the Violent Crimes Division. His responsibilities didn't change that much, but at least he was working in the area he wanted to be in. He even got to participate in some fieldwork, which made him very happy. He loved the feeling of going out into the field and apprehending suspects. He loved the rush he got every time he pulled out his badge. Being an FBI agent gave Danny an identity that he never had before.
As his career progressed, Danny slowly started to go out again in his personal life. He reconnected with some friends from college and finally felt okay with going into bars and clubs without drinking. He even started dating again, although it was hard not to try and compare every girl to Katie. But even with having a social life, Danny's singular focus was his work. He felt that it was what defined him and gave him purpose.
Danny was in his second year as an FBI agent when he encountered Vivian Johnson from the Missing Persons Unit. The Missing Person's team was heavily involved in a kidnap/ransom plot and needed additional hands to do surveillance. Danny often observed the Missing Person's team while they were working. Jack Malone would sit with his agents around the conference table and they discussed theories and ideas. They were so focused and dedicated. Danny dreamed of being a part of a team like that. The Missing Person's Unit was one of the most elite team's in the FBI, and that's where Danny wanted to be.
"Agent Taylor?" Vivian asked.
"Yes, ma'am." Danny answered as he stood up at his desk.
Vivian smiled at his eagerness. "Your supervisory agent said we could borrow you for some surveillance work. Can you come with me?"
"Yes, ma'am. Let's go," Danny said as he smiled briefly and put on his jacket.
He and Vivian were in the back of a van looking and listening to surveillance footage from an apartment across the street. Vivian explained to Danny that they thought the owner of the apartment was responsible for the kidnap/ransom plot. They were hoping to catch the guy talking to one of his partners.
Danny stepped out of the van and bought two coffees. He brought them back in and handed one to Vivian. "Did he fall asleep in the middle of the day?" Danny asked because he could hear the loud snoring noises coming from the monitor.
"How could you tell?" Vivian asked as she smiled appreciatively. "Thanks for the coffee."
"Anytime…and I mean that…anytime. If I worked with your team, I would gladly volunteer to be you coffee lackey for life."
Vivian laughed as she sipped her coffee. "You want to work for us? I think we could find better uses for you than coffee lackey."
"Really?" Danny replied earnestly. "Because I heard that one of your guys is transferring to LA…at least that's what the grapevine says. And…and your team, Agent Johnson…that's where I want to be."
"Missing Person's can be a tough gig. You can get your heart broken…"
"I can handle it," he replied not wanting to explain the number of time his heart had already been broken. "I'm very serious about this. I thought about saying something to Agent Malone…"
Vivian laughed again. "Not so fast…. I would suggest just continuing to do what you're doing. You're young, Danny. Are you even 25 yet? Maybe a little too young for our team, but it's definitely something to strive for in the future."
Danny nodded. "Thanks. Patience isn't one of my strengths."
"I'm getting a little impatient, too. If this guy doesn't wake up soon, we'll have to leave it for the second shift."
"Oh…no ma'am. I can stay. I don't have to be anywhere…"
"Good for you, but not so good for me. I have to pick up my son in less than an hour."
"Oh…right…sorry. How old is your son?" he asked genuinely curious.
"He's five, and such a handful…"
"Whoa…whoa," Danny interrupted. "Someone is at the door."
They watched a man knock on the door. Their suspect woke up and answered it. The two men started talking about where they were holding the victim. Vivian called in the victim's location to Jack and then she asked, "Should we apprehend the suspects?"
Danny felt a rush of adrenaline. He tried to maintain his composure. When Vivian hung up her phone, she said, "OK…we're going to bring them in. Are you up for this?"
"Absolutely," he answered eagerly.
He and Vivian and another back-up team stormed the apartment and arrested the suspects. The kidnapping victim was found alive and unharmed. Danny loved every minute of it.
A month later, Danny was at his desk doing some evidence analysis. He was reading over some Medical Examiner files, when his phone rang. "Agent Taylor," Danny answered.
"Agent Taylor. This is Jack Malone. Can you come to office ASAP?"
"Yes, sir. I'll be right there." Danny had met Jack on a couple of occasions, but he didn't realize Jack even knew his name.
When he entered Jack's office, he encountered Jack and another agent with a DEA badge.
"Danny…thanks for coming so quickly. We have an assignment for you. I've cleared it with your boss, but it's…uh…it's challenging and highly confidential…to say the least. If you're not up for it…"
"I'm up for it, sir," Danny replied quickly.
The other agent then said, "You may want to hear what it is first."
"This is Agent Sanders with the DEA," Jack explained. "His partner is missing, Agent Pedro Ruiz. Before we go any further, Danny…we have to have your word whether you help us or not…that this information doesn't leave this room."
"No, sir…I mean yes, sir, I understand. I won't say a word," Danny replied.
"We were working undercover in Miami..."Sanders started. He explained that he and his partner infiltrated a dirty Vice squad in Miami. They were getting close to bringing them down when his partner went missing. "We haven't told anyone about this. I'm afraid there could be a leak in the DEA, which is why I came to Agent Malone directly."
Danny nodded. "I'll do whatever you need me to do."
"We need you to go undercover. No one has seen you down there, and no one in the DEA knows you. Agent Sanders has a contact that can get you into the Vice squad. This is going to be time-consuming and very dangerous, Danny. You won't be coming home for quite a while."
"I've got no ties here. I can be there as long as you need me. And I know the area down there…"
"We know. We've seen your file. That's why we picked you. Part of the reason why Sanders can't infiltrate further is because he doesn't speak the language well enough…if you know what I mean."
"I understand. I'm ready, sir. I can do this."
"Viv said you'd be up for it. Let's hope she's right," Jack said uneasily because he felt like Danny might be too green for this kind of job.
Danny left immediately for Miami. It was strange going back there after all the time had passed. He felt like he was returning as a whole new person.
He spent three months infiltrating and gaining the trust of the dirty Vice squad. During his time with the squad, he found out that a disgruntled DEA agent leaked Ruiz's identity to members of the Vice squad. Two members of the squad were responsible for giving Pedro Ruiz up to a Miami drug lord. Danny found out that the drug lord buried Ruiz's body in the Keys. Danny and Agent Sanders collected enough evidence to bring down the dirty DEA agent, the Vice squad and arrest the drug lord.
When Danny returned to New York, he immediately returned to work even though his boss told him to take some time off. Danny hated taking time off. He never knew what to do with himself. On his first day back, he was at his desk when Vivian approached him. "Hey…I heard you did a hell of a job in Miami," she said with a smile.
"Thank you, ma'am," Danny replied quietly.
"I thought you'd be happier. You brought down a whole division of Miami PD. MPD and the DEA are very pleased."
"I just talked to Agent Sanders. He said that he informed Agent Ruiz's wife and family. He was pretty upset. I just…I just…wish we could have found him alive," he responded.
Vivian nodded. "I know…it's rough…especially the first time. But Danny, we knew when we sent you down there that you were going on a recovery mission. You gave his family peace of mind."
Danny nodded. "I guess."
"Come with me," she said as she started walking.
Danny followed her into Jack Malone's office. "Have a seat, Danny," Jack said after Danny walked in.
Danny looked from Jack back to Vivian not sure what was going on. Jack continued. "We were very pleased with your work in Miami. You took a big risk, but you hung in there."
"Thank you, sir."
"Vivian tells me that you have interest in the Missing Person's Unit. I was wondering if that was still the case…after working on such a tough case."
Danny didn't hesitate. "Yes, sir. It's still the case. That's the kind of work I want to do."
"As you know, we've had an opening for the last couple of months. I've waited to fill it until you returned."
Danny looked up at Jack as his heart started to pound. "You mean…"
"I mean that you'll still have to apply, but you have a pretty good shot considering the work you just did."
Danny stood up and shook Jack's hand. "Thank you. Thank you, sir. You won't regret this."
"I hope not. Get your application in first thing tomorrow. Hopefully, barring the squeaky wheels of bureaucracy, we can get you on the team within the month."
"I'll do that…I'll do it tonight. Thank you again," Danny said as he walked out followed by Vivian.
When they were out of Jack's line of vision, Danny turned and embraced Vivian. "Thank you. I can't thank you enough," Danny said excitedly and then quickly let her go when he realized she was taken by surprise. "Sorry…I'm just…I'm just really happy about this."
"You're welcome. You earned it, Danny. I think you've got the right stuff for this job. You're tough, but you have a lot of heart…and you need that more than anything."
Danny went home that night feeling happier than he had in a very long time. He felt like he was really hitting his stride. He always had to work so hard to accomplish everything, and now all the hard work was paying off. Despite his troubled past, his alcoholism, and heartbreaking relationships, he finally found his place in the world.
Note: This is just my vision of Danny's backstory. I think he finally found peace and self-worth through his job. Hopefully, in my third part to the trilogy, he can find closure in his personal life. The third part will be a case file, and they are generally harder for me to write. So I doubt I will post as frequently as I did this one. Thanks for all the reviews.