Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
The agent lay still on his side, pale and unmoving. There was blood splattered on his head and pooling beside him on the concrete.
"Oh, no. Don!"
David reached out and shook his boss' shoulder. This wasn't what it looked like. It couldn't be. They'd been in time. He glanced over at the other body barely two feet away where it had landed after they'd pulled him off Don. Guerra was clearly dead, the gunshot wound through the base of his skull confirmed that. There could have been no reflex shot, the FBI SWAT sniper had aimed to completely immobilise the gangster's body at the moment of death.
"Don!" He shook his boss' shoulder again and this time received a moan. "That's it, Don. Come back to us."
"D-David?" Don managed as he tried to move.
The voice was weak but David had never been happier. This one had been too close. When they'd realised Don had been taken and he no longer had the cell phone with which to locate him they'd resorted to the tracking device he'd been wearing all week. The unit attached to the inside of Don's belt was smaller and its transmitter correspondingly weaker than a cell phone making the process to trace it harder than they'd liked. It was also much further away than they'd expected, all the way out here in Rialto rather than closer in somewhere in Mexicali territory. The signal had been almost non-existent when they had finally detected it. More time was needed to be sure of the correct direction. That delay had so very nearly cost Don's life.
"We're here, Don." David answered. "We got Guerra."
Don relaxed, slumping back to the floor. "Good."
"Don?" The body under his hands had gone completely limp.
Alarmed he checked for breathing and found it shallow but steady, the pulse strong. He took his own deep breath in relief. He glanced around and waved his arm at the paramedics who were running into the warehouse, having finally been given the all clear. As he waited he looked his boss over for injuries and saw the dried blood and matted hair on the side of Don's head. He figured on concussion from an earlier injury when he'd been taken and knew that the impact of Guerra's body forcing Don to the concrete hadn't helped any. The developing bruise he could see on Don's forehead suggested he'd hit the ground with his head as a result.
The paramedics were concerned but not unduly alarmed given their patient's vitals. They efficiently checked the injured agent over before loading him up on the gurney brought in by some other agents. As they headed out one gave a quick run down to David on his condition.
"Thanks. I'll call his family and have them head over to the hospital." David wasn't looking forward to that, Alan and Charlie didn't even know that Don had been missing for the last two hours. But at least it was all over now, Don was safe and Guerra no longer a threat.
This time when Don woke his head was throbbing dully and the surface underneath him was comfortable and soft, definitely not concrete for a change. The air was cool and dry and the light against his eyelids was muted. The space he was in felt smaller, like a room, and it was quiet but he could hear the hustle and bustle of people moving about. His eyes didn't want to open but that was alright. He lay there for a while enjoying the peace before his mind, unbidden, replayed those last few moments in the warehouse.
He remembered his own gun being jabbed into the back of his head as he waited on his knees for Guerra to pull the trigger. Despite his final words, it had mattered deeply that it was going to be his own weapon used against him. It was a final insult that he could do nothing about. There was no sign of his team and he'd known there was no way out of this for him. The gang-banger had won and was about to take his reward.
As Guerra spoke his words to his dead brother, Arrio, Don had made his own silent prayer asking God to allow him to be with his mother in the afterlife. There had been the gunshot and the shock of the sudden dead weight that had fallen on his back forcing him to the ground. Then David had been there and he'd known he was safe. He sighed deeply as the feeling of intense relief again washed over him. He'd had some close scrapes in his time but this had been way too close.
"Dad?" He finally managed to get his eyes to open revealing his father hovering over him.
"Yes, son." Alan answered. "You're at the hospital and the doctors say you're going to be fine."
"Don't feel so fine." His admitted. His head still hurt and he could feel a dull ache in his left arm along with soreness across his back. He saw the drip attached to the back of his right hand and knew he was also on some pain relieving medication.
"They say you have moderate concussion, a fractured left ulna, soft tissue damage to your left shoulder, severe bruising to your back and some other assorted contusions. But I guess you would know that." Alan finished as his son simply nodded at the list.
"I was there." It was an attempt at humour.
"Yes, you were."
Humour that had fallen flat. "Dad, I'm okay."
"I know that, but it could so easily have been different."
"David told you."
"How could he not? You were almost shot, they barely got there in time."
"But they did get there." The argument wasn't helping his headache any.
"Dad," he protested.
"Alright, son. I'm sorry. We were just so worried about you. Charlie was nearly in shock when he heard."
That in turn worried him. He peered around the room but couldn't see his brother. "Where is he?"
"Not in the garage at his blackboards." Alan responded in relief. Charlie had reacted badly to this latest incident of a weapon being pointed at his older brother when he'd been told just how close it had been, but was no longer in danger of returning to P v NP like he'd done a few years ago. He'd grown so much since then. "He's gone to get Amita and he'll be back with her soon."
By the time Charlie returned he was feeling very tired and was struggling to keep his eyes open. He managed to give his own version of what had happened before he was too tired to continue. They left him to get some sleep, promising to return in the morning.
The next morning he awoke feeling much better, the aches and pains less. He put the hard word on the doctor but the man stood his ground and strongly recommended that he stay for another day before going home. He complained to his father when he arrived with Charlie as soon as visiting hours started but didn't get the sympathetic ear he'd been hoping for.
"If the doctor says that's for the best then that's the way it is."
"I can't lay about here forever, there's work that needs doing."
"Work?" Alan spluttered. "But you said it's all over. That man is dead so there is no more threat."
"That's true. But we still have valid warrants and-"
"Don," Alan interrupted firmly. "You've done enough for one week. If there are more warrants then fine, let your agents handle it. You need to rest."
"Fair?" Alan took the word right out of his eldest's mouth. He returned to the interrupted argument from the night before. "What's 'not fair' is you trying to go this alone and nearly getting yourself shot."
"I didn't plan this and I wasn't going it alone." Don argued back, deliberately misunderstanding Alan's true meaning that he hadn't told his family everything until the day before and had refused to let them help him, instead keeping them safely at arms length. "We had tried to work everything so this couldn't happen. We didn't expect him to have a car driven into a crowd of people as a distraction."
David had updated him on that a short time ago, visiting before the official hours. They'd identified the driver of the car from some ATM surveillance footage near the scene. The man had been found and interviewed overnight during which he revealed being paid to drive into the crowd, avoiding the agents that had been pointed out to him. Guerra had set the whole thing up, the tip to draw his target there, the car, everything. The driver had nearly killed one man and had seriously injured several other people all for a baggie of heroin. Don hoped that the withdrawal he was about to experience while he waited in a holding facility for court was long and painful. The low value some people put on human life still shocked him at times. Guerra had risked a crowd of people just to go after him.
"I suppose not." Alan allowed. "But you were there looking for him, weren't you? He'd made a threat against you but you still turned up expecting that he might be there."
"Of course, Dad. That's my job. We've been trying to find him all week. We couldn't pass it up."
"Well, you're going to pass on those last few warrants. The doctor's not letting you out for another day anyway."
"I know." He raised his right hand but dropped it, unable rub his face like he wanted with the monitor attached to his middle finger. His left was in a cast. "It's just frustrating, you know."
Charlie finally felt it safe to butt in. Alan had been upset the night before on the drive home and he'd expected the argument to continue this morning. "We know, Don. But you don't have to push this one any more. Dad's right, let someone else finish the raids. You have to follow your own orders."
"I just spoke to David on the way in. He told me you'd insisted he and Colby take a couple of days."
"Oh." The argument was lost. Not only had he worked just as hard as Colby and David over the last week, he'd also been seriously assaulted. Twice.
Without a comeback to his brother's point, Don lay back on the comfortable bed, wincing slightly at the pressure on the bruise across his back and decided that he really could use the rest. Besides, the paperwork from the last week had been horrendous and there was more waiting to be completed. That work he could happily avoid for a while.
A/N: Thanks once again to all those who read and especially to all those who reviewed, your comments are very much appreciated and I find them motivational. There is another in the works. Stay tuned…