Thanks to bammi1 for all of your help and being the best beta ever!

Chapter 23

Roosevelt Hospital, Thursday Day 34

Bobby stumbled at the curb, his energy waning. The street was busy, but no taxis stopped. He felt unsteady, a taxi whizzed by occupied with customers. The wind and chill bit at his body and soul. He headed to the corner where he thought more taxis would be available.

He waited hoping for an easy escape, the world seemed to conspire against him. Every cab was taken. He stepped from the curb and found himself out of balance. The scene before him dimmed, pain dealt a mighty blow to his body and he felt weak and dizzy. A hand reached out to steady him.

"Bobby, it's too soon man. Come on back to the hospital." Fin soft voice filled with concern reached him.

"Bobby, I care and I want to see you healthy. For once in your life let someone who cares help you."

Fin gently guided Bobby back to the side walk. Bobby stared at his feet, shivering in the cold.

"F… fin. Pl… please. I… don't…"

"What, you want to go home. I get it! You don't want all this attention. You want to be alone to think."

"Y… yes… damn… it!"

"Bobby, letting you go home would be wrong on so many levels."

Bobby struggled to escape Fin's grasp.

Fin held on to him tightly. "How about we go to your place and talk about this."

Fin embraced Bobby. He felt the tension build then slowly drain from Bobby's body turning into tremors.

"I got ya partner. I won't let ya down. I know… you need some space."

Fin guided the shaky detective to his car and drove him home. Bobby leaned against the cold window watching the lights of city drift by. New York, he was seeing the city for the first time since his abduction. He felt good wrapped in the lights and sounds of the city.

Fin parked in front of Bobby's apartment. He helped the trembling man to his apartment. Bobby pulled the keys from his jacket. Fin gently helped him guide the key into the lock and open the door. Bobby stood in his dark home letting the familiar settle his mind and soul.

Fin turned on a lamp, giving the apartment a warm glow. He turned and closed the door, rotating the dead bolt. He watched Bobby head to his books.

Bobby shuffled to the first set of shelves housing his books. He gently touched the spine of several books, each bringing him the memory, the joy of escape and discovery. He looked at the coffee table where his cigarettes and lighter rested. He pulled a cigarette out of the pack and picked up the lighter. He went to the small balcony and opened the door.

He carefully dropped into a chair on the balcony and lit a cigarette. He took a small drag trying not to cough.

Fin looked around the cabinets in the kitchen. He retrieved a couple of tumblers and a bottle of Glenlivet. He portioned a finger's worth in each glass and added a small splash of water. He walked out to the balcony and handed Bobby a tumbler.

Bobby graciously took the tumbler and brought it to his nose. He inhaled the aroma and sighed. He took a light sip and rolled it around his tongue letting the slow burn slide down his throat.

Fin held his glass up and tapped Bobby's. "Here's to partners, the family we choose."

Fin leaned against the door frame taking a sip of the expensive drink. He watched Bobby juggle the cigarette and drink with one hand. Fin knew that everything was wrong with this picture, but so right for Bobby.

Bobby relaxed. The burn of the scotch and the chill of the night seemed so good. He couldn't handle the cigarette, so he put it out in the ashtray he kept on the balcony, and savored the scotch. He finished the scotch and leaned his head back closing his eyes.

"I… wan… ted… this… for… so long." Bobby stammered.

Fin retreated into the apartment. He walked into Bobby's bedroom and pulled the covers back on the bed. He went to the balcony to retrieve his injured partner.

Fin removed the tumbler from Bobby's hand. "Come on Bobby, beddy bye time."

Bobby groaned and pushed out of the chair. He followed Fin to the bedroom and fell into the bed. Fin removed his shoes and tucked Bobby underneath the covers.

"Night partner. We will talk tomorrow. Ok?"

Bobby shifted and grumbled something incoherent under the covers, falling into the safety of home and finally the end of a horrible ordeal.

Home. Thanks Fin, for understanding.

Epilog – Six Months Later

Along the edges of a darken city walks a solitary man. He looks back at the windows of light, thinking of the souls behind those windows. Like a priest he feels responsible for those souls, their lives and safety. Unlike a priest, hefeels his soul is lost, forgiveness and solace long gone.

The rages of the past few months had not been good to him. He has a slight limp. The cold knifes through his back and joints like an old enemy. His smiles are false, his energy spent on movement to avoid what snakes through his mind. He rubs the back of his neck, thinking of what had happened.

He walks with a heavy soul, weighed by the torment of many sorrows. He wishes no one will ever know what they can lose, what can be taken.

Please, what I have lost… never let another innocent lose… for that I will ransom with my life, my sanity.

He gives voice to the victims who can no longer speak for themselves. His mind held captive by the perversity who steals them. Empathy haunts him, yet humanity captivates his soul. This is not love of life… it is the passion of redemption.

He has a partner who didn't know, but somehow instinctively knew him. The knowledge warms and brightens his spirit.

Jesus Fonseca, the drug lord of the Riviera Maya, found dead, puncture wounds driven through his hands and feet. Brutally raped and murdered, left drifting in the Hudson River. The brass considered the crime the beginning of a drug war in New York.

He looked at his palms, the circular scars of his life.


Author's Note: A sequel is in the planning stages. Let me know if you would like reading more about Bobby before joining the Major Case Squad. All ideas are welcome!

Thanks for your support and patience. - Tesa