Run to Me
Summary: So, you think you know Hunter and McCall? Let's start at the beginning. My beginning. My name is Rick Hunter.
Disclaimer: SJC has left them alone for so long that I feel free to take them and do with them what I will. Even though they are still his. sigh
Author's Note: I guess this will have to be classified as Alternate Universe, but I do use established characters. This is a story that asks "What if…."
(Scratch that,) I thought with a mental shake of my head, (I'm way past mad.) My hands clenched tighter on the steering wheel as I contemplated my current state of mind and tried to come up with an accurate description. Driving down the interstate, heading back to Los Angeles, I figured "mad" was probably 2 or 3 hours ago. Now I am hell and gone past "mad".
I tried each of the adjectives on for size and didn't really feel like any of them was quite right. This was different. Oh, I had been plenty angry in the past and at plenty of different people. But never in my career had I been this angry at this particular person.
As I raced back home, I felt tendrils of fear creep through my veins and taint the rage, diluting it and making me feel even worse. The anger, not just at my partner, had been keeping my fear at bay, but the closer I got to L.A., the more afraid I became. Afraid that I wasn't going to make it in time; that I was going to be too late.
Too late to save my partner.
And then I was going to be left with despair.
Fear and despair.
Two emotions I had never really had to cope with before – I was wandering in uncharted territory here and I didn't like it. Not one little bit. As a cop, I liked to think that I inspired fear in the creeps I went after and took away the despair families felt when I put whoever had devastated their lives behind bars. I'm not supposed to be feeling this myself.
I pressed a little harder on the accelerator when I crossed the city limits and slapped the cherry light on the roof.
For the past two weeks, I had been on loan to a small coastal community at the request of my Captain. Mike Stewart was a new sheriff in town and he had requested someone with experience back him up while he got settled and also to cover the two officers that were out on extended medical leave.
Since McCall was currently involved in testifying on a murder case, I was chosen to go. Truth be told, I really hadn't minded. It was a nice change of pace, there was time for fishing and Mrs. Pinelli, the owner of the local diner kept me fed with homemade creations that rivaled my mother's. Plus, McCall and I hadn't seen much of each other outside of work for the past couple of months or more and I was getting bored trying to entertain myself. The past two dates I'd gone on had been disasters and I was feeling a little gun shy to say the least.
It was one o'clock in the afternoon and I was just about to head out to patrol the usually quiet streets, when I got the call from my partner, in a tone of voice that made my blood run cold.
"Get to the safe house."
I sat up straight in my chair so suddenly, my coffee sloshed across the report that I had just signed.
"Shit! McCall! What are you – "
"There's no time, Hunter. Get to the safe house. Lloyd Perry is here with me." There was a brief pause and I used the two seconds to try and catch my breath. "He was going to walk, Hunter. I couldn't let that happen."
I was nearly speechless with horror, overwhelmed with a flood of questions, but McCall never gave me a chance.
"I set a trap for Lloyd, but he had already set one for me. This is my one phone call. Lloyd wanted me to call you so he can gloat." McCall's voice was flat, completely devoid of any emotion, almost resigned.
"McCall – wait – what – " I had a death grip on the phone, frantic and feeling more helpless than I ever had in my entire life. There was so much I needed to say – to ask. And as McCall had said; there was no time. I could hear a brief struggle, a grunt of pain and then a new voice came over the phone line.
"Hello, Hunter – remember me? It's Lloyd."
I was on my feet without even thinking. "Lloyd – don't you – " I think I was about to start begging.
He cut me off. "Shut up, Hunter! Me and McCall are gonna have a little talk about how wrong it was to try and send me to jail. Maybe if you get here in time, you can join us and I'll be happy to make sure you understand as well." He paused to make sure I knew what he was insinuating.
I did. Believe me, I did. Lloyd Perry was on trial for the sadistic murders of two of his "associates". I knew exactly what he was capable of.
"Oh, and I don't know where this 'safe house' is yet, but you can bet you'll never be safe from Lloyd Perry. I'll find you, and you can take that to your grave. Good-bye, Sgt."
Suddenly I was holding a receiver and the line was dead.
It took me a second to try and figure out what to do first. I decided to call the Captain and explained what I could. He promised to send out units to McCall's house and call Mike to let him know why I was not coming back.
When I arrived at McCall's house there must have been 10 squad cars, an ambulance and 3 vans from the media. A helicopter was circling overhead. I had to park 6 houses down and with my heart in my throat I made my way in. A feeling of numbness was beginning to take hold. I could see the yellow crime scene tape. There was a roaring in my ears as I stepped closer. The Captain met me before I could even get close, both hands to my chest to halt my progress.
I looked at him. It took only a fraction of a second to learn everything I needed to know and already suspected but refused to accept. I shook my head. "McCall – "
"McCall's dead, Hunter. I'm sorry." The Captain's eyes reflected my own grief and rage.
"My partner," I mumbled, reaching up to pull his hands away from me, so I could go and see.
Three guys in uniform banded together to prevent me from going, even as the Captain grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
"Hunter, no. I'm telling you, I'm not letting you go in that house. Steve is dead. I'm sorry, Hunter, but he's gone and there is nothing for you to see in there. I'm not letting you go in there."
I gaped at him, open-mouthed, eyes wide.
Shock was threatening to send me rampaging like a bull elephant when I remembered the first thing McCall said to me when he called. "Get to the safe house."
Without hesitation, I jerked away from the Captain and took off running in the opposite direction: to my car. I could hear surprised shouts behind me, but I never looked back. There was no way I could let them know where I was going and why.
I had to get to the safe house. I had to get to DeeDee.