Wish they were mine, but they're not. So I borrow them now and then, just for kicks.
"What's going on?" Deaq stood stiffly, stifling the urge to head to the car.
"Bill was making a lot of noise at lunch, thought you should know."
"Van's probably not answering the phone cause he's afraid it's our boss. What does Bill want?"
"He's threatening to kill your partner."
"You'd better call him off. He even gets near Van and it won't be pretty." Deaq's voice was low and his meaning clear.
"No. We came up here to get away from all that. You have no idea how bad…You take care of him or I will."
Deaq headed for the house, remembering to grab the groceries. He found Van in the kitchen, apron on, fiddling with a large pot of sauce. "Hey, did you remember to get…what's wrong?"
"Nothing." He couldn't quite look his partner in the face.
"Deaqon?" Van had his hands on his hips, head tilted slightly, eyes intent on the man in front of him.
"Saw the Sheriff at the store. He said Bill was making a lot of noise today, and he tried to call but didn't get an answer. I got a little freaked out is all. Sorry."
His heart clenched at the sight of the sad smile on the face he knew so well. "It's nice that you worry about me, but I can take care of myself - been doing it for years."
"I know I don't have to," he responded, "but we watch out for each other now, remember?"
It rained the next day so they slept late, watched a mid day game and had a rousing game of monopoly helped along with beer and popcorn. They did place a call to Billie, and gleefully left a message when she didn't answer. Deaq fell asleep during the evening movie and Van regaled him with examples of his snoring technique when he woke later. There was much laugher, and they finished the day off with hot chocolate complete with floating mini marshmallows.
The next day found them headed to the lake to take advantage of the sunshine. When they realized they had left the drinks behind, Deaq headed back to the cabin. While there, Billie called, and they had a lengthy conversation. He wasn't sure if he was happy or not with her explanation, but decided he could figure that out later. When he returned to the lake, he found the canoe but no Van. He called for his partner as he carefully checked the area, not sure if Van was playing with him or not. His gut was screaming at him, but he took his time. When he found one of Van's necklaces in the sand, he knew there was trouble. He searched more closely and found scuffled footprints and a trail leading into the woods. He ran to the house, called the Sheriff, grabbed his gun and Van's, and set out to find his partner.
Bill had surprised Van on the beach, coming up behind him and putting him on the ground with a kidney punch. Van knew he was in serious trouble and managed to unhook his heavy necklace and drop it in the sand. Bill tied his victim's hands behind him with heavy rope and jerked him to his feet. He threatened to shoot Deaq if he showed up, so Van quietly followed him off the beach.
Once they were in the woods, Bill forced Van to lead. He couldn't protect his face from the branches that slapped at his face, and he tripped several times. Bill would jerk him off the ground by his hands, after landing kicks with his heavy work boots. After 25 minutes they came to a small cave. Bill ripped Van's t-shirt off, and Van fought back with all he had. He knocked his captor off balance with a shoulder in his gut and delivered two kicks before bringing Bill down. As he fell, Van turned and ran, but the rope dragging behind him caught on a rock and he hit the dirt face first. Bill was on top of him before he could catch his breath. He pounded the shaggyhead into the ground numerous times, and wrapped the extra rope around his neck, tightening it until Van struggled to breathe.
"Take your hands off him and back away now." Deaq growled, his gun pointed at Bill's head as he stepped out of the woods. "I won't ask you again." Bill stumbled away from the downed man. "On your knees, hands on your head. Do it!"
He cut the rope off Van's wrists, and loosened the rope around his neck before binding Bill's arms and legs together. He pushed him face down in the dirt before turning his entire focus to Van. He gently unwrapped the rest of the rope from around his neck and placed a hand on his jugular, letting loose a long breath as he found a pulse. "Hey V," he whispered as he carefully worked his hands over the still body. The face was battered and bloody and the wrists were rubbed raw from the rope. "I got you baby," he soothed as he gently took the unconscious man in his arms and headed back to the cottage, leaving his prisoner behind.
The Sheriff and two deputies came upon them about 15 minutes from the cabin. Deaq said nothing, just kept walking. The Sheriff sent his deputies up the trail before turning to follow Deaq back to the cottage.
Deaq laid Van on the couch, and wrapped him in a blanket before heading for the car. The Sheriff motioned him into the squad car, and he drove while Deaq held Van in the back seat, talking softly in his ear -- too softly for the Sheriff to hear.
At the hospital, Deaq stayed in the treatment room, filling out paperwork and answering questions. When the doctor suggested a rape kit, Deaq shook his head, "No, it didn't come to that."
After they finished cleaning the wounds and reviewing the x-rays, which didn't show any broken bones, the doctors left and the Sheriff came in. He found Deaq slumped in a chair, holding Van's hand. "How is he?" Sheriff Danvers asked.
"Beaten, bruised and concussed." Deaq responded woodenly, his eyes remaining on the patient.
"Bill's in jail…do you know what happened?"
"We were getting ready to take the canoe out. I went back to the cabin cause I forgot the cooler. Got a phone call and was probably gone about 10-12 minutes. When I got back to the beach, he was gone. I wasn't sure anything was wrong until I found this," he held up the heavy chain necklace, "in the sand." He dropped his head for a moment. "I called you then followed the trail. When I found them, that animal was on top of Van – he'd wrapped the rope around his neck and was choking him." His voice had gotten progressively louder and he stopped himself as he realized it. "I told him to get off him and get down on the ground. I cut the rope off Van and tied the son of a bitch up. The rest you know."
"Why'd your partner go with him without putting up a fight?"
"He had a gun. What would you do if you had your hands tied behind your back and a rope around your neck?"
"Deaq?" A small whisper came from the bed, grabbing both men's attention.
Deaq stood up and reached a hand down to caress the battered face. "Hey V, glad you could join us."
"I'm not the one that got grabbed and dragged through the woods."
"He said he'd shoot you if I didn't go with him." Deaq turned slightly and shot a dirty look at the Sheriff.
"He's in jail V. Not going to hurt anyone again. Doc says you should rest for another hour and then if you feel up to it, I can take you home. What do you think of that?"
"I can go home?"
"Yes baby, I can take you home in a little bit. Doc just wants to make sure you're doing alright. So close your eyes and rest. Before you know it, it'll be time to leave." The swollen green eyes closed and the breathing settled down.
"I'll be back in an hour and drive you both home," the Sheriff said quietly, before leaving.
Deaq watched Van ease his battered body slowly onto the bed, once he got him home. He got him some water to take his pills with. "Need anything else?"
"Company until these pills do their thing, please," Van said moving carefully up onto the pillows. Deaq smiled, and pulled up an overstuffed chair after tenderly tucking Van in.
They spent three days simply taking it easy. Watching movies, napping or reading in front of the fire. On the fourth day, Van took a walk down to the beach. Deaq watched from the deck until Van disappeared into the wood. He was unhappy to be left behind, but understood his partner's need for a solo walk.
Two days later, they took the canoe down to the lake and paddled out to a small island. They had lunch, took a nap and returned at a leisurely pace. They made a fancy dinner that night and spent the evening yelling at the Dodgers.
They spent their last day cleaning up, and that night they ate at a small diner in town. The Sheriff joined them for coffee and cake, but the conversation remained light.
They spent the first night back in LA with Deaq's parents. They stayed up, talking, watching a game. Neither one was willing to admit their fears about tomorrow, and it took Mr. Hayes coming down at 2 am to get them to bed. Mrs. Hayes made a huge breakfast and forced her boys to finishing it before letting them head to work. They were silent on the drive to the Candy Store, and it wasn't until they left the car in the parking lot that they broke the silence.
"Deaq, whatever today brings…."Van stopped, not sure he could say it.
"We'll get through it together." Deaq finished and that earned him a smile.
They tapped their fists together and entered the old theater. When they saw Billie behind the desk, they smiled and took their seats.