He lay there not knowing, not moving, and not feeling. As he slowly opened his eyes, he saw the worried look of his partner staring down at him. She gently lifted his hand and took it into her own. As she did so he could see the dark red liquid on her fingertips. It was then that the pain set in. His whole body seemed to scream in agony. He attempted to lift his head but felt so dizzy that he had to lie down again. He could feel something warm and squishy drip down his body. He looked back at his partner and saw in them fear and sadness.
"Lie still Rick,' she said. "The ambulance is on its way." He had always admired her bravery. Now it seemed like he was the one who was unsure. He wanted to speak to her but all that would come out was jumbled phrases. He wanted to tell her how much he admired her, hell, how much he loved her but he couldn't. All that he could muster was a weak smile and squeeze of his hand. As he thought back to what had happened he began to close his eyes. As he drifted, somewhere in the distance, he could hear a woman scream and in that instant he knew his life was over and he hadn't gotten the chance to say good-bye.
Rick sat bolt upright in bed. The "screaming" alarm clock still rang in his ears. He threw it across the room and it smashed into a few jagged pieces. He rubbed his eyes and squinted around the room. He ran a hand through his hair and sat on the edge of his bed. The floor was cold under his feet and yet he didn't care. The scene of his latest nightmare was still running through his head. He had been having reoccurring nightmares for the past few days. All of them centered around the same warehouse and in every one he was dying. In every one he didn't say good bye. The only thing that was different in each one was how he was killed. In the original one he had been strangled, then in the next one he had been tortured and in this one he had been stabbed. He jumped into the shower still unable to shake his dream. He put a pair of jeans on (tight of course) and a blue muscle T-shirt. He then went downstairs to make breakfast. The phone rang. "This early?" He reached for the receiver and on the other end came a familiar voice. "Hey partner. Did I wake you?" Rick smiled. "No, the alarm clock that I got from Novak before she remarried did the job." He could hear Dee Dee chuckle. "Well get up. We got another murder. On the corner of Olympic and Crenshaw." Rick groans. "It's my day off." McCall says, " Oh OK. I'll just tell the stiff that the next time he dies to make sure that it's a day when Lt. Hunter is working. Come on." Rick says, "Thanks for your support. Give me five." McCall chimes in before he hangs up. "Oh by the way…Good morning." Rick clears his throat and says, "Yeah, another wonderful day in LA" McCall laughs and hangs up. Rick pulls the burnt piece of toast out of the toaster, goes upstairs to change and then runs out the door, making sure to chuck his breakfast in the trash as he does.
As he drove down the street he remembered back to the day when McCall had come back to the department. He had been sitting in his office looking over some paper work when his secretary came to the door. She knocked and then entered. "There's someone here who would like to speak to you." Rick looked up. "O.K. Send this person in." He then looked back down at the ever-growing stack of paperwork in front of him. In strolls a woman, brunette, who does not utter a word. Only stands in the doorway and looks at her old partner. "Oh so is that how the Big Guy is going to treat his Brass Cupcake. Stone walling me eh?" Rick looked up in amazement and stared. Then the biggest smile she had ever seen crossed his face. He jumped up from his chair so fast that he knocked it over along with three plants that had been sitting behind it. He didn't care. As Dee Dee closed the door he grabbed her, lifted her up off of the ground and spun her around. Then he put her back down and they hugged for what seemed like a long time. As she stared up into his big blue eyes she was swept away again and for a minute felt like she could've kissed him. It took all of her might to restrain herself but she did. "Wow, how long has it been, huh?" Rick muttered, a tear welling up in his eye. Dee Dee glanced down at the ground and then back up at him. "Too long, " she said and then without thinking she put her hand to his face and he bent down and kissed her. Just a small kiss to remind her of what she had missed for so long. "What about Alex?" Rick said. Dee Dee looked up at him and said, " He's still in London, packing." Rick had a look of dismay on his face. "No, he…um…well, we're divorcing. He's going back to Africa." Rick looked sad and said, "Oh I'm sorry." McCall laughed a nervous laugh and said, "Don't be. He was right when he said that we had lived rich full lives apart from one another. It just wasn't meant to be. So I came here…to the only person I knew of that could help me. I called "Extension 315." Ya know what response I got? He left 8 yrs ago ma'am. I think he's a Lieutenant now. So I came up here and here I am." Rick looked at her for a moment and that asked her to sit down all the while wondering why she needed his "help." He picked his chair back up and most of the dirt from the plants he deposited in the wastebasket. "Did you hear about Charlie?" He asked in a low voice. "No what happened?' McCall began to feel regret for asking. "He…um…he died. He was at home with his cat when he had a heart attack. He picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1 but he passed out before the operator could get his address. When he didn't show up to work the next day I went by to see if everything was OK…" Rick trails off. "He was sprawled on the living room floor, still clutching the phone." McCall reached across the desk and grabbed his hand for a few tears had begun to fall. "Oh Hunter, I'm so sorry." She wanted to wrap her arms around him and hug him but that would be unprofessional. Actually the more she thought about it the more she didn't care about "professionalism" or "departmental rulings." He knew how she felt because she had told him later. She walked slowly around the desk and wrapped her arms around his neck. They then proceeded to cry on each other's shoulders.
Hunter was snapped back to reality when he heard the familiar wail of police sirens. He looked up and saw Lt. McCall already snooping around the dead body. He stopped the car and stepped out. It was another bright day in LA and Hunter immediately put on his sunglasses. As he walked over to where McCall stood he could feel that something was amiss. She walked up to him and said, "It's one of ours." Rick thought she meant a police officer but she didn't. "It's Paulie. Poor guy didn't know what hit him." Rick shook his head and went to investigate for himself. There he was. One of the best snitches they had ever had was now being placed inside of a body bag and loaded into the awaiting van. "This never gets any easier." He mumbled to himself. There had been a few people standing around and Sergeants were taking their statements. "No it doesn't." Said McCall. Rick walked over to one of the officers. "Any leads?" he asked. "This man over here saw a shadow of a man in a trench coat this morning around 4:00 a.m. which is approximately when this man died." He said there was a quarrel between the "mystery man" and another man. The dead man tried to break up the fight and was shot in the process. The other man ran off into the night. That's all he knew." Rick smiled and patted him on the back. "Thanks." He walked back over to McCall who was talking to an elderly woman. "Do you know what this man looked like?" The woman responded, "It was dark so I couldn't see a lot of anything but I did notice that he had on a lot of flashy jewelry." McCall looked around. Sure enough where all of the ambulances and such were there were a few lawn lights. Enough light, she speculated, to be able to make out a shadow. If this jewelry was shiny it may have reflected the light. She thanked the lady and compared notes with Rick.
One of the eyewitnesses had given them a general description of the man who ran off and was able to make a sketch with the sketch artist. He had been out walking his dog at the time of the quarrel. When the man ran past him he almost ran into him. "Thank g-d for insomniacs." Rick says under his breath. "The drawing should be in later today." McCall says with a smile. "Well partner this may be an easy one." Rick says. "No they never are." McCall says back. They walk down the road where the "runner" had gone and in between the piles of garbage lying in the ditch they found a bracelet with the initials A.J. and wondered who it could be so they give it to the crime lab for prints. "Dee Dee, I don't know about you but I haven't eaten. Come on let's go down to Sid's Café for a bite." McCall rolls her eyes and laughs. They both knew that Sid's had the worst of everything.
"L 56 come in," blares the radio. Hunter was still picking the food out of his teeth with a pick when he heard the announcer. "This is L56, go." "Hunter, the fingerprints are in as is the sketch." McCall listened intently but nothing could've prepared them for what they heard next. "They both belong to a Mr. Arnold James." Hunter looked at McCall with shock. McCall was numb. What had Sporty gotten himself into this time? "Thanks Barb. L56 out." Rick threw the magnetic siren on top of his car and they dashed off to the shoe polisher that Sporty James was always at.
"I'm telling you Hunter I don't know where Sporty is." Hunter scratched his head in frustration. It was bad when even his best friend didn't know where he was. As they walked away McCall got an idea. "Remember that place that Sporty hid out at when he was accused of taking $1,000,000?" "Dee Dee you never cease to amaze me." Rick said with a smile. "I'll take that as a compliment." McCall says walking cockily back to the car. "Sometimes the lamest line can go a long way." Rick says walking behind her. "I heard that Hunter!" She laughs and shuts the door. He smiles and they speed off to the only other place they can think of that Sporty would be.
"What are you talking about?" Sporty asks inquisitively. "Look Sporty, we have an eyewitness that puts you at the scene of the struggle. We have your bracelet. Now try to lie your way out of this." Rick says his voice rising in intensity. "Look I want to help ya I really do, especially my favorite police serge—lieutenant or her 'big guy' but there isn't much I can tell you." He looks over at McCall. "All I know is that this hairy guy comes up to me and asks me where to find you two. I didn't know at the time so I told him so. He started shaking me. That's when Paulie showed up. The mystery man pulled a gun and that's when I split. I got scared. I heard the gunshot in the distance but I kept running. My bracelet keeps falling off so it was only a matter of time before it did so. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and I ran right into someone walking a dog. That must've been when my bracelet fell off. I swear that's all I know!" Sporty was shaking. It wasn't like Sporty to actually shake. "You said he was hairy, how so?" Dee Dee asks. "He had a lot of arm hair and beard. He definitely had a beard because I grabbed at his face. He Caucasian too." "What's he want with us?" Hunter asks to no one in particular. "I don't know man, but he's not coming to chat up old times and have a few drinks, ya got me?" "Thanks Sporty, you've been a huge help." Dee Dee looks down at Sporty and for what must be the first time she notices that he is on the verge of tears. "Aw Sporty, you're worried about us aren't ya." Rick says smiling. "Yeah." Sporty mumbles. "Don't worry Arnold. We'll be fine." Dee Dee smiles. "You two fine? Now this I gotta see!" Sporty chimes in smiling again. "Goodnight Sporty wherever you are." Dee Dee says rolling her eyes. Rick follows her out the door. Sporty yells to them, "Just watch your backs all right." Dee Dee turns around and yells, "we will Sporty." Rick adds, "Yeah you just worry about Sporty James and his Enterprises and leave the watching to us. Stay low." Sporty smiles and shuts the door.
"Hunter, McCall, in my office!" Captain Darwin yells. "Have you been bad again, McCall?" Hunter asks smiling. "Yes and I think I need to be punished." She winks and gives his tie a little tug. "It's times like these when I'm thankful for female partners." Hunter says as he begins to walk away. "Oh brother." McCall says still smiling to herself. As they enter Captain Darwin shuts the door behind them. "Have you come up with anything on this 'Paulie' situation?" "As a matter of fact we have, sir." Hunter opens a manila folder. "We found the man who owned the bracelet and he told us that the man who attacked him was hairy and Caucasian." Hunter smirks, he knows they don't have much. "That's it? No confession? No smoking gun? All you have is Cousin It?" Captain Darwin's face begins to turn many shades of red. "No I think cousin It had long hair. Our guy was just slightly fuzzy." Hunter says with a poker face. McCall bites her lip in an effort not to laugh. "Get out, both of you. Get out and don't come back until you have SOMETHING!" He slams the door behind them.
Hunter and McCall make it back to there desks just in time to crack up. In between fits of laughter McCall sees something which makes her blood run cold. She stops laughing immediately. "Oh SHIT!" She says and stands up. Hunter looks bewildered. Just a few seconds ago she had been overcome with laughter and suddenly she was yelling vulgarities through the precinct. Talk about mood swings! "McCall do you have Turrets or something? What's eating at you?" Normally she would've come back with some off color joke but not this time. Her face had turned a ghastly shade of white and the look on her face was that of pure horror. Hunter swiveled around in his chair in time to see Alex begin to storm into the office. "Well would you look at what the cat drug in?" Hunter says leaning back in his chair. McCall grabs Hunter by the arm and he stands up. "Lt. Hunter, what a shame to see you again." "It's been awhile but it's always so great to see you." Hunter says looking into his eyes. "So have you slept with her yet?" Alex asks. Hunter can feel his blood begin to boil but he keeps his calm. "Alex, can we take this somewhere else? By the way what brings you to LA?" Many officers stand and watch the spectacle unfold, just waiting for Rick to explode. "You know why I'm here. I've come for my wife. Unless of course she's found some one new such as maybe you?" As he says you, Alex pushes his index finger into Rick. Just then Dee Dee steps in between the two. "Alex, back off. There is nothing between Rick and me. There is also nothing between me and you. So whether or not I've found a new love is none of your business anymore. Now I have work to do as does Lt. Hunter. So if you have anything else to say please do so and leave." Alex's hand clenches into a fist. Rick glares at him. "Don't even think about it." He says standing to the side of Dee Dee. "If I can't have you no one will, that's a promise." Alex says through clenched teeth. "Just leave, Alex. Just leave." Rick says. Alex looks as though he is about to say something but then he turns around and walks back to the door. "No one, Dee Dee." He yells across the precinct and then he disappears.
McCall walks off to the ladies room trying to keep her tears inside. Hunter follows. Even though it was the women's room Rick doesn't care. He knocks and then walks in. No one is in there except his partner who is leaning against the wall. She looks up at him, with a red face. Her mascara has begun to run. He grabs a tissue for her and wipes away her tears. He then takes her into his arms and holds her close. When he knows that she has stopped crying he lets her go. Still holding her, he looks at her with concern written all over his face. "Is that why you wanted my 'help' when you first came back? Did he threaten you when you left?" McCall looks away from him. Rick grabs her chin gently with three of his fingers and makes her look at him. "Dee Dee, did he hit you?" McCall looks at him and weakly says, "yes." Rick feels as though his heart has just been ripped from his chest. "My g-d. Why didn't you tell me this before?" "I never thought that he would come and track me down. I never thought that I would have to deal with something that I worked so hard to forget. Now, it doesn't matter. Ya know the scary thing is that I think he is nuts enough to fulfill his threat!" McCall begins to sob again and Rick stretches his arms around her again. "Nothing will happen to you, Dee Dee. As G-d is my witness, nothing will harm you."
To make her feel better Hunter takes Dee Dee out to dinner. Not much conversation is spoken between the two. Suddenly Rick looks up from his plate of spaghetti at the same time Dee Dee looks up from her Fettuchini. "You don't think..." Dee Dee says. The events of the day run through his head. The mystery man had wanted to find them. He was hairy and had a beard. Rick remembered that when Alex had come in he was wearing a black trench coat! "ALEX!" Hunter says standing up. "We gotta go." He drops a 50 on the table and they both race out the door. Alex had left the hotel phone number in case she wanted to talk. Dee Dee had passed it off when she left, thinking that he just never gave up. She calls him and tells him that she needs to talk. Of course this was a setup but they hoped Alex wasn't bright enough to figure that out. Alex agrees to meet her at the hotel where he is "staying." When McCall and Rick pull up at the hotel Dee Dee walks in. Hunter stays by the door to look for anything unfamiliar. The concierge stops her. "Lt. McCall?" "Yes that's me." Dee Dee says unsure. The concierge smiles. "A man told me to tell the beautiful Stepfanie Kramer look alike that he wants you to meet him here." He hands her a small piece of hotel stationary. "Thank you." Dee Dee says and slowly walks back outside. She is caught off guard by Rick who had been hiding in the bushes. "Well?" "He wants me to meet him here." Dee Dee hands him the paper. Hunter recognized the address some how. "Hey, tell me something. Do I look like Stepfanie Kramer?" She asks. "The woman who plays Gee Gee RiCall on THE HUNTER?" Rick asks confused. "Imagine my surprise if they aren't one in the same." Dee Dee says as they walk to the car. "No you are 10 times prettier than her." McCall rolls her eyes. "Oh please." She gives him a playful shove. " Why?" "The concierge thought that I did. Ya know come to think of it you remind me of Fred Dryer from that show." Rick looks at her with disgust as he turns the ignition. "Oh please that big, Neanderthal with the balding head?" She smiles and they drive off to the address on the paper.
As they pull up to the address Rick suddenly has a strong feeling of Deja Vue. This was the building from his dream. Suddenly he is filled with dread. Reluctantly he follows McCall inside. As they enter the darkened warehouse, McCall removes her gun from the holster, as does Rick. Both of their hearts race as they turn the corner into a dimly lit room. A man stands in the middle. As they come closer they realize that it's Sporty! He doesn't move. McCall and Hunter stand directly in front of him. Suddenly a bright light turns on and they realize that Sporty has been hung from the ceiling and then lowered until it appears that he is standing. McCall covers her mouth and tries to stifle the scream that is rising in her throat. "Oh my g-d." Hunter says. Tears fill both of their eyes but they soon realize that a huge danger awaits them if they continue to stand here. Hunter walks around to the other side of the room. Suddenly Alex jumps him and Hunter's gun is knocked away. Fist to fist they fight. Alex knocks him in the stomach and Rick falls. Alex is an expert at Ti Quan Do and so Rick doesn't stand a chance. McCall sees him fall and screams. As Alex starts to charge at Dee Dee Rick gets up and chases after him. In his haste he doesn't bother looking for his gun. His only concentration is on getting to his partner before this asshole does. He tackles him and Rick punches and punches and punches. Somehow in the confusion Alex slugs Rick. Now with a bleeding nose Hunter continues to try to knock Alex out. He succeeds. Hunter slowly arises and begins to handcuff him. Alex however didn't stay down and he was able to wiggle out of Hunter's grasp and reach for his gun. Rick goes for his holster and then realizes that he hasn't picked his gun up! Alex hits Rick with the butt of it and he falls hard. Hunter tries to get up and shake the disorientation from his head. "I told you if I couldn't have you no one will. So I found your informant that you always talked about and I asked him about you. Unfortunately your friend Paulie just got in the way. I found Arnold and well, I took care of him." Dee Dee says, "You sick bastard," as she aims her gun at him. Alex aims his gun at her and laughs. "Yes well at least you'll never know any other love than me." Rick, in the meantime has gotten up and finally oriented enough to know what is about to happen. Just as Alex is about to pull the trigger Rick jumps in front of Dee Dee. The gun goes off and Hunter lurches backward. Another gun shot goes off as McCall shoots Alex. Other officers come running in. They had been patrolling the area and had heard the gunshot. Alex is still alive and groaning in pain. "Officer down." McCall yells. "Book him." The officers do as she says and pull Alex out to the awaiting squad car. McCall who had already knelt next to her partner's sprawled body leans over and lifts his head. She looks into his eyes which are almost totally closed and tears begin to fall, just like in his dream.
He lay there not knowing, not moving, and not feeling. As he slowly opens his eyes, he sees the worried look of his partner staring down at him. She gently lifts his hand and takes it into her own. As she did so he can see the dark red liquid on her fingertips. It is then that the pain sets in. His whole body seems to scream in agony. He attempts to lift his head but feels so dizzy that he has to lie down again. He can feel something warm and squishy drip down his body. He looks back at his partner's eyes and sees in them fear and sadness.
"Lie still Rick,' she says. "The ambulance is on its way." He has always admired her bravery. Now it seemed like he was the one who was unsure. He wants to speak to her but all that will come out is jumbled phrases. He wants to tell her how much he admires her, hell, how much he loves her but he can't. All that he can muster is a weak smile and squeeze of his hand. As he thinks back to what has happened he begins to close his eyes. He lets out his final breath and suddenly there is no more pain, no more suffering. In the distance he can hear the wailing siren and McCall cry out his name. "I love you." She cries and then he is gone. As she sits there the EMT's walk in. She looks up at them, hands covered in Rick's blood and begins to cry. She clenches Hunter's body to her and wails as she rocks him back and forth. NOOOO! She screams continuously. "Nooo!"
At the funeral, Dee Dee is asked to speak a little about her partner. She feels nothing, she's numb as she walks toward the coffin. The coffin that she never thought she'd see her partner put into. She begins her speech.
"Rick Hunter was always someone I could talk to when I had a problem. He was always someone to laugh with. He was my partner. When I was raped, he was there. When I was shot, he was there. Even when I didn't want him to be he'd push his way in anyway. (slight smiles from the mourners) Rick was a guy I looked up to...literally and figuratively. That bright shining smile was always an inspiration to me. Even when he made me eat his junk food, I still respected him. Like an old friend we'd stay up until all hours of the night just talking. He died to save me. As he told me once, "the wedding vows are a distant second to the unspoken bond between two partnered police officers, ...You and I are supposed to die for one another right?" He didn't know how right he was. Rick was my best friend, a confident, a brilliant police officer and an amazing partner. I never thought I'd see him go down, but at least I can say I'm happy to have known him. Those memories will forever be in my heart." She places a dozen roses on his coffin and says, "I miss you Rick. I know you're somewhere up there looking down and thinking "works for me" but I just wanted you to know that I will never forget you. I love you 'Big Guy.'"
She goes back to her spot in line and begins to silently cry. The guns go off and the flag is folded. McCall feels as though her world as been torn apart as she slowly walks over to where he is to be buried. As they lower him into the ground she can't help but smile. Her time with him, though it seemed short had been long and memorable. His eternal smile helps her go to sleep that night.
A few days later she walks into the precinct with her dinner in a bag (Chowder with mustard and a chili dog). Everyone has already gone home that night so she is alone. She sits down in his chair and leans back, remembering back to how he had stood up for her with Alex. "Alex is now sitting in a jail cell for the rest of his life and my best friend is dead. Hardly seems like justice but maybe the inmates will take care of him," she thinks to herself. She starts to rummage through the remaining things in and on his desk and comes across an envelope. Written on the front in Rick's handwriting is Dee Dee. With tears in her eyes she opens the envelope. Inside there is a video tape. She goes into the conference room and pops the tape into the VCR. After the snow clears she sees a familiar man. His arm is up to the screen obviously fiddling making sure the camcorder is taping him.
Finally he sits.
"Hey Dee Dee. If you're watching this it must mean I'm no longer here, cause I know you'd never go through my stuff." He winks. "Well Mckie D's I guess this is an end of an era. There are a few things I want to get off of my chest and I obviously can't join you at Sid's Cafe this time. I love you Dee Dee McCall. You are my closest friend and I know that I could always tell you anything. I'll always be there for you. In your darkest hour, when the world is to much to bear. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and think of me. You'll always be in my heart and soul. I'll carry you with me no matter where I end up. Come hell, sorry about the pun, or high water I'll see you again. So don't cry sweetheart. Dry your tears. Think about the good times, allay your fears. Never knew I was a poet did ya?" He smiles THAT smile. "I have been having some nightmares lately, in all I die and in all I can't say good bye. So maybe this is my way of saying Aurevoir instead. If there's one thing I've learned from our life together it's that no matter where we go or what we do we'll always have the memories. I'm amazed and proud of you babe. You've got the rest of your life to look forward to so go out there and give em hell Lt. Show them why you became a cop. You're always my brass cupcake, I'm always your head hunter and together..." McCall says it at the same time as him. "we make our own kind of music." He flashes his pearly whites again and she breaks down. He bites into a chili dog as does she. "Works for me. L56 over and out." he says, smiles and then all too suddenly the snow returns and he is gone.
"I love you Rick Hunter where ever you are." McCall says through tears as she continues to eat. She takes the tape out, turns off the VCR and walks out of the precinct. As she turns back a final time she swears she see Hunter sitting at his desk, arms folded, leaning back and smiling his smile that always reminded her of an eclipse. She shrugged it off and exited, the image stuck in her mind for a long time to come. "I love you too Dee Dee." Rick says, wiping a tear from his face. Then he stands up and fades out.