Title: Wounded Healer
Summary: Small lead up to the Season 3 opener "People With Money"...just a scene I had running through my head that I felt deserved a bit of development. My first (and only?) NY bit...we'll see!
Disclaimer: I own nothing! CSI: NY is NOT mine...the characters...not mine either. I barely own the computer I wrote it on...so...don't sue!!!
It was a hot day.
Too hot to be running in Central Park. Yet there he was, passing Strawberry Fields for the fifth time, almost done with his slated ten mile jaunt. The sweat running down his back, between his shoulder blades, made him feel alive. It was only incentive for him to keep going.
Without slowing, the detective pulled the white tee shirt off over his head. Using it he wiped the sweat from his forehead, and then tucked the wet cotton garment into the waste band of his shorts.
He smiled offering a nod to the young woman he passed as she ran pushing a stroller. She was attractive, her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. It had been the fourth time they'd crossed paths that morning.
Turning, heading east further into the park, he could feel the sun beating onto his bare back. It would easily reach the hundred degree mark within the bowels of the city. Reason enough to dread starting back to work. He was on the midnight shift tonight. With the elements playing together like they were, things would be insane in Manhattan.
He wasn't sure why he'd started running. And it was running. He was not a jogger. The woman he'd just passed was a jogger. No, he was definitely a runner.
But, he still found it ironic.
He'd always preferred the Elliptical machine at the gym; the nice, air conditioned, primo gym that gave him a discount because he was NYPD. He'd always made cracks about the marathon runners as they ran the city route every fall. Never would he have ever thought about actually training to become one of them.
But then again, his life the past several months had anything but made sense. The very fact that he was in Central Park halfway through his tenth mile was the furthest thing from making sense. Hell, if Danny caught wind of his newest hobby… He'd never hear the end of it, especially if he knew he was considering marathon running.
He'd quit trying to make sense of things. He'd quit trying to rationalize why things went to bupkiss. It was just easier not to think about it.
The sun was slowly working its way to its peak in the sky. If he picked up his pace, he'd be able to finish under the hour and a half he'd slated for his workout.
Passing along The Lake, he took a quick cut off the path. Crossing over Bow Bridge he made his way through the trees. It probably wasn't the best move to make, seeing as the terrain was rough, but there was something more…exciting for lack of a better word…about running off the runner's trail.
Running wasn't really all that exciting. It was just…relaxing.
Picking the trail back up on the east side of the park, he slowed his pace. His breaths were hard and deep as he slowed to a walk with his hands on his hips as he arrived in front of the Metropolitan Art Museum. It was crowded, more so than on a normal weekday. The Museum was running a special family weekend event through the month of September. Suddenly the weekend was beginning on Wednesday.
"Need some water?" Mac Taylor asked the man offering him a sweating, still-cold bottle of clear liquid.
"Thanks," Don Flack nodded to the man accepting the offered drink. "What are you doing here?"
"Stella told me you'd picked up a new hobby," the criminalist smiled letting his eyes take in the park. The word was out. "How far'd you go today?"
"Only ten," the detective gulped down the water. "Too hot to do anymore."
"So, you're doing good?" Mac asked his eyes inadvertently falling to the scar just below the man's rib cage. It had already faded quite a bit.
"Doc released me back to the field," Flack nodded running a hand through his sweaty hair. "I'll be back to work tonight."
"That's good… You got some time?" he asked leading the way from the museum toward Fifth Ave.
"Sure, what's up?"
"Something I want to show you," he stated blankly as he hailed a cab. "Get in."
The rumble of machinery was nearly deafening as the cab rolled to a stop in the West Village. Climbing out of the cab, the New York City detectives turned to survey the scene. The office building was nearly operational.
"When Claire died five years ago, I had nightmares for months," the criminalist started as he leaned against the guardrail barricading the rebuilding project just a few yards away. "I don't know how long it took me to get the images out of my head. I still have times when I can barely get out of bed in the morning, when I still expect her to come through the door at night, when I wake up and expect her to be beside me.
"When I found you after the bomb went off…" he trailed off, "and then sat with you in the hospital. I thought of the times I should have had with Claire. The moments the terrorists took from me. Those last moments. I thought of everything I should have had, but will never have the chance to get."
"Mac…" Don tried to interject. As the man continued, though, his eyes wandered to the construction site. The site that, just months earlier, had been devastated by a few pounds of C4.
"We can't let them win, Don."
"Mac, just so you know… I already talked all this out with the department head shrink," the younger man offered a slight grin. It wasn't like Mac to go mushy.
"I know," Mac nodded. "I just wanted you to see the progress being made down here. The best thing we can do is to continue moving forward. That day took me to a dark place, a place I hadn't been in since Claire died. I felt this anger…this hatred… And…I was scared," he looked to the man beside him. "I saw you laying there…hurt…and I was scared."
"Mac, shit happens, you know that," Flack shrugged, "especially if you're NYPD," he paused for a moment to take the scene in once more before turning his back on it. It had been a dark day, a day he really couldn't remember. Frankly, he wouldn't have it any other way. They'd gotten the bomber. The trial date was set.
He knew there was risk in his job, a risk that, everyday put his life on the line. "I'm okay, Mac," he laid a hand on the man's shoulder. "And this?" he pointed to his ribs. "This will fade, this will heal. We'll all heal."
In silence the men began walking down the street, away from the chaos of rebuilding. Away from the darkness that, now, haunted them both.
"You hungry?" the criminalist asked the younger man.
"Mac, I smell," the detective started.
"Yeah, but I'm not talking the Ritz or anything," he pointed to the street vendor on the corner. "I was just going to buy you a hot dog," he gestured to the vendor for two dogs.
"Careful, Mac," the man shook his head with a grin, "people'll start expectin' this from you all the time. This touchy feely stuff is really outta character."
"Yeah, yeah," the former Marine laughed as he paid the vendor and accepted his change.
Walking a couple more blocks back to 5th Ave. the men stopped once more.
"I've gotta run," Don looked at his watch. "You on tonight?"
"Got the night off," Mac shook his head.
"Thanks for lunch," he nodded in reply as he stepped to the curb toward a waiting cab. "Oh and Mac?" he paused just before sliding into the back seat.
"If you tell anyone I took up runnin'…" he raised his brow toward the man.
"Yeah, yeah. My lips are sealed."
"Especially Danny. You know he'd never let me live it down."
"Get some rest," Mac nodded as he watched the cab pull away, swallowed up by the city. Swallowed up by the chaos.