At His Mercy
Summary: The thought of being so damn helpless just makes Lassiter all the more determined to get out of this alive. Lassiter POV, spoilers for Shawn Has the Yips.
A/N: This focuses on the thought processes of Lassiter, at the end of Shawn Has the Yips, so there are major spoilers.
I guess it's true when they say that no good deed goes unpunished; I was honestly just trying to give back, to be there for the man that I knew had lost everything.
God knows that this case has eaten me up for the better part of three years; for at least five months after the trial, that scumbag – Petrovich – haunted my dreams.
So when Petrovich was killed, I wasn't choked up at all. And when I called Mr. Salamatchia and arranged to join him at the cemetery, in order to pay respects to that poor kid, I felt good about it. Like maybe I could help him get some sort of closure.
But instead, I get a gun shoved in my face and Mr. Salamatchia is handcuffing me with my own damn cuffs, and I'm powerless to stop him.
I don't get it, and I tell him so. I'm supposed to be the good guy.
"Petrovich pumps drugs into our schools and my son ends up dead. And you lock him away on a gun charge? That's my definition of not getting it." spits Mr. Salamatchia.
And there it is, the answer.
He blames me.
And while my first and most powerful reaction is anger, I also feel a rush of guilt. The truth is, I've been blaming myself too. I couldn't put Petrovich away for life, even though he deserved it and so much more.
I couldn't do it.
The guilt almost overcomes me, but then my logic takes hold of my thoughts. The guilt fades and leaves me just plain mad.
This guy tried to kill me. And McNab.
A would-be cop killer, targeting the SBPD. My guys.
And what have I done about it?
I've allowed myself to fall into his trap.
"Put 'em down." orders Salamatchia. I put flowers on Bobby's grave. It's humiliating to be so helpless, to have to follow this man's orders and kneel for his mercy.
"Look, a gun charge was all I could get him on at the time, all right? I wanted him off the streets. What was I supposed to do?" I ask.
The look that Salamatchia gives me is full of hatred and a tinge of insanity. "Poison him. Blow him up. Make him dead."
"That's murder." I state, trying to keep the contempt out of my voice.
"No. That's justice."
Salamatchia begins to arrange the flowers on his son's grave. "I'm a soldier. I've killed people whose muddy boots Petrovich wasn't good enough to lick. His death...and yours...is just my way of bringing things back into balance. You see my point?"
I hear an opening there, a hint of desperation in his voice. I hope to talk him out of this and make him see sense.
"What I see is a decent man whose grief has driven him to the breaking point." I say carefully.
"Don't pretend that you feel something for me, please." he scoffs.
That gets me angry all over again. "I've given the better part of my career chasing the Petroviches of the world because of people like you!" I pause to calm myself, and when I next speak, my voice is low and calculating. "I understand the pain that he's put you through."
"I've lost my only child." Salamatchia rasps. "Gone through a divorce! Just what the hell do you know? Huh?"
He's angrier now, and I try for my last chance. "Mr. Salamatchia, pl-"
"Now...sorry, Detective." he says, and now he has the gun to the back of my head. My mind is in overdrive. He is really going to shoot me – there's no talking him out of it. My heart is pounding quickly, ready to burst out of my chest.
I know, with certainty, that I am about to die.
O'Hara's voice acts as a trigger. Mr. Salamatchia yanks me off of my knees and spins me around, using me as a shield. I see that Guster, Spencer, and O'Hara have arrived together. O'Hara already has her gun drawn.
The sight of them all standing there gives me both new hope and a new sense of fear.
They might save me.
Or they might just see me die.
God, I don't want them to see that, and I certainly don't want any of them getting hurt because of my mistakes.
"Drop it!" demands O'Hara, but I can tell by the iron clasp that Salamatchia has on my back that he isn't giving up anytime soon.
"No." he replies forcefully. "You drop it or I'll kill him right now."
O'Hara looks at me for instructions. I want to tell her not to do it. I want to tell her that she shouldn't give up her only protection just for me – but my mouth won't say the words. Instead, I motion for her to put the gun down, hoping that this one decision won't be the one that gets us all killed.
"Now!" yells Salamatchia, and O'Hara obliges slowly.
With my partner now weaponless, my new-found hope begins to diminish.
And then Spencer is reaching into his pocket and for a second, I think a rather offbeat thought:
Who in their right mind would give Spencer a weapon?
"Hey!" yells Salamatchia, and I realize that his gun is now pointing at Spencer and not me.
Instead of pulling out a gun or weapon, however, Spencer merely pulls out a cordless phone from his pocket.
Which makes more sense – in a completely ludicrous sort of way.
"It's okay, it's totally out of range." jokes Spencer as he sets the phone down.
The gun is at my back again, and Salamatchia addresses Spencer. "I recognize you," he says.
"Yes, sir. We're both listed on the Petrovich case." replies Spencer, motioning to himself and Guster.
"No, we are not." argues Guster, and I wonder if they might be enough of a distraction to get me out of this.
"I'm not going to lie, Gus."
"No," Salamatchia interrupts their bickering. "I saw you in the bar. I know everything there is to know about that case – you weren't on it."
The moment hangs, and a now-or-never feeling takes hold of me.
After a second, it becomes obvious that Spencer feels it to. He moves quickly, and I watch, with both horror and hope, as he scoops the cordless phone off the ground and throws it.
Straight over our heads.
As Mr. Salamatchia processes this act of what seems like outrageous stupidity, I make my move. I spin around quickly and see Mr. Salamatchia's gun go flying. I use the cuffs around my wrists as my only weapon and get them around his neck. I choke him just enough to put him on his knees, and then I step over him and pick up his gun. When I have the weapon firmly in my hands, I know:
Everything will be okay now.
I keep the gun steady as I drag Salamatchia to his feet.
"Good work." says O'Hara, and her voice is tinged with relief.
"Yeah...great work, Lassie." says Spencer carefully, but Guster turns to him in irritation.
"Did you just throw our cordless phone at a tree?"
"A man's life was hanging in the balance. It was clearly our only move." he argues.
O'Hara turns away from them in exasperation, then proceeds to help me cuff Salamatchia. Then, as she takes my own cuffs off of me, she asks, "Are you all right, Carlton?"
"I'm fine, O'Hara."
"I'm glad, Partner." she says with a small smile.
We decide to have Guster and Spencer take O'Hara's car back to the station, while we take the criminal in my car.
Before opening the back car door so that Salamatchia can get in, I stand and face him. He glowers at me, but I'm the one in control now.
I don't owe Salamatchia anything and I know it. His vigilante justice killed Petrovich. He would have just as easily killed McNab and I for something we had absolutely no control over.
But still, I find myself unable to keep my mouth shut. I have to make him understand.
"I'm sorry about your son," I say honestly. I pause for a moment, letting my words sink in. "But I'm also sorry that you blame me. I got Petrovich off the streets for three years. It was the most I could do."
Salamatchia scoffs. "I took him out for good, Detective. Don't tell me you're sorry about his death."
"I'm not." I reply coldly. "But I couldn't be like you. I still have a job to do. I still have people to arrest. I don't want anymore kids, like Bobby, to get hurt."
The mention of his son's name brings tears to Mr. Salamatchia's eyes. He looks away from me and towards the horizon.
I know that this is how the story ends. Salamatchia will not apologize for trying to kill me. In fact, he probably hates me just as much as ever. But I hope that someday, he'll remember my words and realize that I was sincere.
I have Salamatchia get into the backseat. I shut his door, open my own, and settle myself behind the steering wheel.
O'Hara is beside me and I glance her way as I start the car. She gives me a knowing nod and a ghost of a smile, and there's a silent understanding between us.
She's glad I'm okay.
And I'm glad she's okay.
But crime never stops, and we still have work to do.
A/N: Reviews are greatly appreciated.