Author's Note: No, I haven't given up on this story. I am sorry for leaving everyone hanging for as long as I did. But I'm back now.
Cerise had left Lily Rose with Sarah and Letty and went with Sammy to the headquaters. They got out of the car in silence, which had been the entire drive as well. Cerise hesitated infront of the building, then followed Sammy inside.
He led her down a hall, and a flight of stairs to the infirmary and morgue. Cerise stopped outside the door, taking a deep breath. Sammy turned to her. "You sure you wanna do this?" He asked her softly.
"I've gotta know for sure." She replied, looking at the double stainless steel doors. "Its not the first time, is it?"
Sammy placed a hand on her shoulder and Cerise smiled wearily at him. With a nod, Sammy opened the door and led Cerise inside.
The M.E. nodded as Sammy spoke softly and turned, going down the line of lockers, stopping at one and opening it. He pulled the door open, pulling out the drawer. As he unzipped the body bag, Cerise and Sammy came over.
"Oh my god." Cerise gasped as the body was revealed, almost completely charred. She could see the outline of his distinctive features. But almost all identifiable marks were unidentifiable...
"Is this Officer SJ Sands?" The M.E. asked softly.
Cerise stared at the body, almost willing the features to the body. She reached out a tentive hand. It was unreal, to even consider her husband and partner was laying on this table. Unbelievable to even consider that Sheldon Jeffrey Sands had gone down like this.
And even as that thought crossed her mind, she raised her eyes, looking at Sammy who was standing on the other side of the table. He raised his own eyes from looking at the body. For a long silent moment, they stared at each other, the silence conveying the reality between them.
Cerise's other hand went to her mouth, as if to stop the hysterical grin from happening and a nervous giggle escaped her, before she clamped a hand over her mouth. "No." She managed to get out. "It's not Sheldon!"
Sammy stared at her in disbelief. "Cerise!? How can it not be?!"
Cerise turned from the body, feeling shaky with relief. "It's not! Sammy he wouldn't have gone down like that! I KNOW he wouldn't have gone down like that. Not believing Lily Rose and I are dead...gods know he wouldn't have gone down like this!" She stared across the room toward the door, the M.E staring after her with a neutral expression.
Sammy glanced at the body, then headed after Cerise. She flung both doors open, heading out of the morgue. "Cerise, you know as well as I, if they caught up with him, he'd be dead!" Sammy said, breaking into a sprint to catch her.
"Sammy, Sheldon wouldn't have let them catch up. He's out there. And I intend to find him." Cerise answered, heading for the elevator.
Kenji let go of the gun with a hiss, it cabbled to grave with a muffled metalic thud. His other hand went to his shoulder, as the intense pain shot through him.
Sands gave him a dark and psychotic smile, the gun had slid from the sleeve of his jacket.
"You really are a bastard, Jeff."
"So my mother kept telling me when I was a kid." Sands replied with a non chalant shrug. "Now do I have to shoot you in the head, or can I walk away?"
Kenji gave a shaky laugh. In the old warehouse, came the shouts of other officers. Kenji glanced back that way. He looked back at Sands, before reaching out and shoving him with his other hand. "Go!" He hissed.
Sands saluted him with out another word and turned. "Jeff!" Kenji hissed. Sands paused only a moment. "Cerise and Lily Rose are alive, they're with Sarah. And I wasn't going to shoot you."
Sands swallowed hard, processing that information, trying to decide rather or not he could believe Kenji. What motive would Kenji have to lie to him over Cerise and his daughter? What motive would he have not to. He shoved this out of his mind for now and snorted at Kenji's last words. "I know." He said simply, before slinking into the shadows.
Kenji shook his head and watched him go. Rather or not Sands believed him was all up to Sands. Kenji knew how ever, that to finish this, to take down all these secrets, all these conspiracies, Sands was better off playing by his own rules. Now if he could just stay one step a head of the rest of the company.
Cerise left Sammy in the HQ building and headed back across town. Her destination was Cyprus' club. Upon arriving and getting out, she found Brutus already opening the door for her. "He's waiting for you."
"Thank you Brutus." Cerise said, heading inside the empty club and the direction Brutus had taken her before. She took the steps two at a time and entered the apartment.
Cyprus came out of a side room and motioned for her to follow him. He led her into his labs and to a corner set up with several computers. "Any luck?" Cerise asked.
"You know as well as I do it's almost impossible to get a lead on the Sandman..." Cyprus said, Cerise gave him a look. "BUT, I do have this." He turned to his computer and after a bit of typing, pulled up a few shots from the surveillance of the Regency Hotel's lobby. Cerise leaned closer, spotting the familiar figure with a familiar dog.
"When was this?" Cerise asked quickly.
"This morning, about seven am." Cyprus said.
Cerise looked at her watch, it was nearly eleven pm. "He could have checked out by now. Do you have the registry?" Cerise asked looking back at Cyprus.
"Yeah, but not any names I recognizee." He said.
"Let me have it." Cerise said. Cyprus handed her a leftlet of papers, Cerise began scanning through them.
"What do you think he's doing?" Cyprus asked as he watched her pace as she read.
Cerise snorted. "Looking for Dupre...or possibly Carmichael. He wants revenge." She answered as she read through the names.
"Well I think that was a given, but why he's so quiet?"
"He's not. Some of the Company caught up with him this afternoon. Sammy came to tell me he was dead, but when I went to identify the body..." Cerise stopped. "Oh my God..." She looked up at Cyprus.
Cyprus raised an eyebrow. "What?"
Cerise gave a shaky laugh. "I have a feeling that body in the morgue was Dupree.. Damn!" She fished out her cellphone as she sat the papers on the work table next to her and dialed Sarah's number.
"Do you have the whereabouts of Dupree yet?" Cerise asked.
She heard Sarah sigh deeply. "You know I don't, Cerise." Sarah answered.
"Then I suggest you start WORKING HARDER!" Cerise snarled through the phone. She knew Sarah would have bristled. "Sarah, we don't have a lot of bloody time here and you are trained a hell of a lot better then this. Put the the twins on it, I don't care how much man power you have to use. But here's a clue. See if M.E. has identified the body yet, because I've got a sneaky feeling that was Dupree." Cerise had turned her eyes back to the papers as she talked.
"You really think so?" Sarah asked with a dry sarcastic tone.
"Not for sure, but...call it a gut instinct and I think we can trace it back to Carmichael."
"You know I'm getting really sick off all this shit..." Sarah said tiredly.
Cerise gave a soft snort. "You and me both, hun, you and me both." Cerise hung up on Sarah at that.
"How can you keep your sanity through all this?" Cyprus asked.
"I remember I'm doing it for my daughter." Cerise answered with out looking up at him as she turned the page. Then she barked a laugh. "Oh Simon would be thrilled." She said softly, before laying the papers down in front of Cyprus, her nail on a name. Simon Templar. "Find out if there's been any other transactions anywhere in the city by this name. I know you can, Cyprus." Cerise said.
Cyprus gave her a look. "It'll be a bit of a work."
"Yes, but it may be our only lead." Cerise answered, looking at him.
"I hope you know what you're doing, girl." Cyprus said softly, turning back to the computer.
"So do I, Cyprus, so do I." Cerise said softly.
Washu entered the Dakota after the door man let her in and headed for the Southeast lobby, before taking the elevator up several floors. Then down a short hall, toward a door.
Which opened by a tall man with very pale skin, equally pale white blonde hair brushed back from the high forehead. He was dressed in a neat, expensive black suit. His features where fine and chiseled, looking more like a statue come to life. His eyes were a very light color.
He gave her a charming smile as she approached the door. "Ah, my dear Asia, how nice of you to join me this afternoon." Special Agent Pendergast said as she arrived at his doorstep and he held out a hand.
Asia smiled just as charmingly and warmly, taking his hand. "It's all my pleasure, my dear Pendergast."
He stepped back into the apartment, motioning her in. Washu stepped into the hall, with it's rose colored walls, one side a floor to ceiling sheet of black marble which water ran gently to pool at the bottom of the small fountain.
"We'll take our tea in the sitting room." Pendergast said, leading her through the richly furnished greeting hall down another hall that was was rosed colored, and opened the third door on the left, before bowing her in.
Washu stepped past him into the room, feeling for a moment as if she'd stepped back into a victorian parlor in Victorian England. Two wing backed chairs sat on either side of a small tea table which had already been sat with an expensive china and silver tea service. Pendergast gestured for her to take a chair and Washu sat down, as Pendergast sat about pouring two cups of green tea. "You couldn't have arrived at a better time, Asia. The water is perfect."
Washu chuckled, taking her cup, as Pendergast sat down opposite of her. "So I took it from your call, that this was a rather serious matter." He said as he took a sip.
"A gravies matter," Washu replied, doing her best to hid her smirk, Pendergast always amused her, mush to his annoyance. "It concerns a...dear friend, Sands..."
Pendergast raised an eyebrow, as he was about to take another sip and lowered his cup slowly, appraising Asia. "Has he been arrested for cattle rustling again?"
Washu bit back her laugh and looked at Pendergast. "Not quiet." She said, before sitting down her cup. "Aloysius, you know I wouldn't come to you, if I didn't think you couldn't be of some help in this matter...you know that I would never make light of the debt between us." She said softly, seriously.
Pendergast inclined his head, sitting down his own cup. "Indeed, Asia." He gave a soft, almost unheard sigh, and looked at her. "What has Jeffrey got himself into this time?"
Washu reached into the brief case she'd carried up with her and handed him the folder. Pendergast took it, his eyes quickly reading through the contents. Washu waited patiently. After some time, Pendergast lowered the folder, to look at Washu with a started expression Washu or anyone rarely saw on him. "I was aware Jeffrey was a remarkable man, but I truly did not suspect, or even begin to fathom its source."
"It goes well beyond that." Washu said softly, picking up her cup and taking a sip while turning her eyes toward the window that offered a marvelous view of Central Park.
"How so?" Pendergast asked.
"It seems there are several...higher ups in the Company who wish to cover these incidents up...at the cost of innocent lives." Washu said softly, before launching into the whole story.
Pendergast listened with out interruption. "I see." He said at length, before sitting his cup down again. He was quiet for a long moment, before getting up from his chair and walking toward the window, his hands clasped behind his back. "And where is Jeffrey at present?"
"Prague, ferreting out a mole. But as of...this morning, there's been some serious trouble." Washu said softly, before telling Pendergast of the previous night's events.
Pendergast was silent for a couple more minutes. Washu watched him. She knew he was weighing everything. How ever Pendergast may have jested at Sands' expense, he owed the man his life from a previous case the both had together.
At long lengths, Pendergast turned back to Washu. "Well I can only see two possibilities to my assisting on this. Either I accompany you to England to speak to these doctors, or I go to Prague and serve my debt. Which would you rather have of me?"
Washu sat back in the chair, finishing her tea and stared for a long moment at the far wall and the painting on it, weighing her own options. Pendergast's outstanding intellect would be a welcome addition to her own on unraveling the mysteries she was presented with, of course. But he was also a fully trained agent of black ops and would be of great assistance to Cerise in locating Sands. Washu sighed after a length of time.
"To be perfectly honest Aloysius, I think you could better help Cerise in locating Sands..." Washu said finally. "Thats not to say your intelligence wouldn't be of great help to me...but...finding and stopping Sands is of greater urgency."
Pendergast inclined his head again. "Perhaps after I've done that, it wont be to late to assist you." He said softly. He came back from the window, while removing his cellphone from his inner coat pocket. "It will take an hour or two to make arrangements." He said as he dialed, and taking a seat again.
"Of course." Washu said with a nod. "And while you do that, I'll contact Cerise, to let her know you're coming. I'll have all the contact information you need to meet up with her and her team." Washu said removing her own cellphone.
Eric rubbed the back of his neck as he sat on the couch. He'd argued at length with Marie over all of this. She diddn't want to trust El and these other two men. Eric couldn't blame her, but he didn't see that they had much choice.
With a sigh he got up off the couch. It was the middle of the night. Marie was curled up in a chair, Eric had the couch and the other two men had the guest room. Eric moved toward the side door of El's house. Taking his gun with him, he stepped out into the warm night.
But found he wasn't alone. Some one was already sitting on the step, smoking a cigar. Eric looked at Antony, who glanced up as Eric came out. "Can't sleep?" Antony asked conversationally.
"Does it show?" Eric asked with a wry smirk.
"Only too well." Antony answered looking back at the streets of the Mexican town. Eric sat down on the other side of him, staring at the same streets. They were quiet for a moment, Antony puffing on his cigar.
"I never could see how some one could smoke those..." Eric said softly, glancing at him.
Antony smirked slightly. "It's required a taste. I've got a few more if you wish to try."
Eric chuckled softly. "I think I'll pass." He said softly.
Antony chuckled himself. After a few more minutes of silence, Eric sighed. "We're not doing each other any good, by keeping at such a casual distance." He said after a moment.
"We're not exactly friends." Antony said calmly in reply with out looking at him.
"No, that's true. By rights we should be on the opposite sides of the law. By rights, I should have arrested you upon realizing who you were. I doubt Marie recognizes you and your brother, she's a bit young for that...and I'm not sure how Sands has come to be in such...know with common criminals..." He said softly, The words weren't an insult, but he was sure if the other brother had been out here, that's how they would have been taken.
Antony chuckled ruefully. "It actually surprises you to think Sands would be in the know of such...common criminals. And I assure you, Mr. Cameron, there's nothing common about my brother and I." Antony said just as softly, finally looking over at Eric with a smirk that was reminiscent of Sands.
Eric looked at him and that smirk for a long moment, then shook his head. "No, nothing or anyone Sands knows surprises me, Mr. Kilpatrick." He was quiet for a long moment. "You are, aren't you?"
"Are what?" Antony said turning back to the streets.
"Sands' older brothers..." Eric said even softer.
Antony's smirk turned dark and dry. "And how did you come to that conclusion, Mr. Cameron?"
"Well besides the certain resemblance, Sands lack of enuthasim in discusing his family and your brother's oblvious psychotic side which must run in the family, I find it hard to believe Sands would have...called on any one for this, other then family, especially to trust El Marachi around them..." Eric said.
Antony chuckled again, glancing at Eric. "Astute assumption Mr. Cameron. Yes, Daniel and I are Sheldon's older brothers. He has his reasons for not discusing his family, much to my father's pains..." Antony said softly.
Eric didn't reply to that, he leaned back against the stone of the building. "Regardless. The simple fact is, none of us are going to get out of Mexico alive if we don't work together...well maybe you and your brother, but..." Eric glanced back at the house. "I should have never brought Marie into this." Eric said softly.
"Into what?" Antony asked softly.
Eric sighed. "Four years ago, an incident happened in Culican. Sands...partner...wife now, but I'm sure you may know that, Cerise...was shot almost fatally in an alley...Sands claims that a man named Monterio did it...Monterio claimed Sands did it. Two days after it happened, Sands was picked up in the desert with no memory of the event..."
"Right, Sands explained this to me..." Antony said.
"He's one step ahead...as always." Eric said with a slight smirk, then went on. "All this has something to do with...some events that happened to Sands about seven years ago.. Marie and I came down here, to see if we could get to the bottom of it, to find out who really pulled that trigger. Monterio wouldn't have been stupid enough. So the theory presently is there was a sniper." Eric said softly.
"Possible. Makes sense." Antony said with a nod, taking a drag of his cigar. They fell quiet again for a moment, before Antony said. "Sheldon asked Danny and I to come to Mexico and...detain a certain Dr. Guivera." He said at lengths.
Eric looked over at him, a touch of surprise. "Guivera...the man who took his eyes... I get the feeling this is even connected to all this..."
"Is what you're doing for the best of my brother and his family?" Antony asked, looking over at him.
Eric sighed. "I can't say Sands and I are the best of friends. But he's a good man, and a damn good agent. And an innocent man...at least of...this... So yeah."
Antony nodded after a length. "Then we'll work together. Here in Mexico at least." He extended his hand to Eric. Eric hesitated only a minute before taking it.