Okay, the "Memories" main story takes place in the beginning of 2008, and this fic takes place one year later at the end of 2008. The flashbacks happen a few months before Memories at the end of 2007.
November 2nd, 2008. One year after the events of "Memories"...
The idea to install a drain in the floor had been a good one. Mopping left traces of blood between the tiles and Law felt it was unfair to make his men scrub a floor they hadn't actually dirtied. Hosing everything down was so much easier. You could clean the chair, the table, and even the walls all at once. Saved a lot of time and energy.
Leaning against the heavy metal door, Law puffed lazily on a cigarette and watched as the prisoner's face was slammed into the table. Again. A tooth joined the crimson pool underneath their feet and the beaten man howled.
Law had gotten used to this sort of thing after a few months on the job. When the arms of the organized crime underworld had first taken him in so lovingly all those years ago, their traditions and… business methods had been a shock. Fortunately, Law was highly adaptable and he had quickly and smoothly tailored himself to the lifestyle. He didn't like it, not in the least, but it got things done. That was all that mattered in this world, and if one thing was for certain, it was that Law got things done.
In less than three years Law had climbed the rungs of the Southern L.A. unit, and before five years had passed him by, he was sitting at the top—an underboss with a territory spanning from L.A. all the way to San Diego. It was a staggering accomplishment for someone so new to the organization, but Law had proved himself time and time again that he was the man for the job. He was smart as well as cunning, ruthless but fair, and most importantly, he treated his men with the utmost respect. No matter how high Law climbed in this world, he never forgot the people that helped him get there. Law was successful, because he made people want to follow him. His men were loyal into death, and that was the stuff that made strong men truly powerful.
Watching the fist of his most loyal, most dependable man crunch into the cartilage of his prisoner's nose, Law sighed and thought about how it all might be over soon. If his right hand man could get this snitch to talk, if he could get this information they so desperately needed, then he could leave this life. He could go home, or at least leave California. He could start a new life somewhere far away where he didn't have to handle drugs or factions or Families. He wouldn't have to deal with allies turning on one another and murdering each other in the dead of night.
Just this last job and it would be over.
"Careful," Law said quietly, taking another long drag. "You break any more of his face and he won't be able to answer questions."
Amber eyes turned to him and a red tongue flicked out from between thin lips. Kidd regarded him from beneath a blaze of red hair. He straightened slowly, wiping his knuckles on his bloodied shirt. Even though he had been exerting himself in beating the prisoner for the last twenty minutes, Kidd seemed unaffected. He stood tall with a lazy roll of his shoulders, his breath not labored in the least.
"I left his mouth alone," Kidd's voice was melodious, a startling contrast to his flashy and frightening appearance.
Law smiled softly and pushed off the door. "Yeah, but you might scramble his brain."
Kidd looked down at the bleeding, sniveling man before him. He grumbled and kicked the chair the prisoner was sitting in. "You should've talked to me, Jimmy." Bending at the waist, Kidd brought his lips in close to the man's ear. Trembling, Jimmy tried to jerk away, but Kidd pulled him back and spoke softly as if they were sharing a secret.
"Now you gotta deal with the Boss."
Law smirked at Kidd as the taller man moved aside. They both knew that Law wouldn't lay a finger on Jimmy, but Jimmy didn't know that. Law's reputation was sound, but dreadfully untrue. Law had learned from experience that striking true fear into someone, bending someone completely to your will, was more mental than anything else. No, Law wouldn't hit Jimmy. He wouldn't break his fingers or any of the other popular tactics.
Law would just talk to him until Jimmy pissed his pants in fear.
Kidd pulled out a chair, and Law sat across from Jimmy. He slowly placed his cigarette pack, his Zippo lighter, two peppermint breath mints, and a small pocket knife on the table in front of him. He leaned back and cross one leg over the other.
"Jimmy…" he said softly. "Why has it come to this?"
Jimmy breathed heavily and winced as he tried to straighten. "You don't understand, man. You don't get it. He'll fucking kill me if I tell you what I heard."
"You think I won't?" Law absently cleaned underneath his nails.
Jimmy looked from Law, to Kidd, and back again. His eyes started to water and his lips trembled pitifully. He squirmed in his seat, mewling softly.
"Man, I'm dead if I tell you, I'm dead if I don't, I got no options here. Whatever, man, just kill me already."
Law uncrossed his legs and sat forward. He rested his elbows on the table and picked up the pocket knife. He turned it slowly between his fingers as he spoke.
"Did you know that I went to medical school, Jimmy?"
Jimmy's eyes widened, watching the knife.
"Yeah... Everybody knows that."
Law nodded. "I got through all four years, but then I dropped out when I was supposed to start my residency. You know why I did that, Jimmy?"
Jimmy shook his head. "No."
Law smiled and flipped open the knife with a snap. "Because I discovered something about myself, Jimmy. I discovered that I like hurting people a whole lot more than I like helping them."
Tears started to run from Jimmy's eyes. "Ah… please, man… please don't…"
Law twirled the knife dexterously over the backs of his tattooed fingers. "You have two options. One, you can tell me what Kizaru is planning. If you do that, I'll get you protection, and a way out of this city."
"There's no way out of-"
"Two," Law continued, "You don't tell me what Kisaru is planning, and I'll make sure I use everything I learned in medical school to make sure that you don't die…" he pointed the knife directly at Jimmy then, "…while I cut the truth out of you."
Jimmy sobbed. He looked at Kidd, who ignored him as he pulled at a stray fiber on his jacket.
"Don't look at him, he's not gonna help you," Law said softly.
Jimmy turned back to Law. He stared at the crime boss for several long moments with panic-filled eyes, but then he slumped in the chair and let out a ragged breath.
"Okay…" he wheezed. "Okay… I'll tell you what's going down."
The next evening, Law sat in the back of the Audi Sedan, watching the doors of the small diner across the street. It was late, almost eleven, but the darkness was a perfect cover.
"Hey Boss," Jean said from the driver's seat. "Who's this Button we're meeting here again? Never heard of the guy."
"You don't know him," Law answered. "And only I'm gonna meet him. You two are gonna stay here."
Jean turned around, his usually pinched eyes were wide as he regarded his boss. "You serious? You're gonna go in there without any backup? I know we're out in the middle of bum-fuck Egypt, but this place is like cop central!"
"I'll be fine. Just wait for me here. I shouldn't be more than a half hour or so."
Jean turned incredulous eyes to the other passenger. "You hear this, Kidd? You okay with Boss going in all alone?"
Kidd sat gazing out the window with a bored, almost detached look in his eyes.
"You know, Jean, your voice makes me wanna kill babies."
Jean snorted. "Whatev, man. You'd do that anyway."
Kidd shook his head. "I told you we should have brought Bepo. At least he's quiet."
Law slid the magazine into the 45 Compact, and tucked the pistol into his high ride holster. Kidd handed him his jacket and he pulled it on, covering the piece completely. He slid a beanie hat on over his hair and sighed happily. Law liked the feel of jeans and knit caps a hell of a lot more than the stuffy, designer suits he wore to impress his men.
Turning to Kidd, Law took the cigarette pack the other man offered him.
"Thirty minutes. Any longer than that, come and get me. But not before. I don't want to draw attention unless we have to."
"I know," Kidd said quietly.
Law opened his mouth to say more, but remembered at the last moment that they were not alone. He bit back the words he so desperately wanted to say, and simply nodded. He exited the car into the cool evening air and made his way towards the diner.
The door bell rang as he entered, and a pretty girl with blond hair and a splash of freckles smiled at him.
"Hello," she said merrily, "late night."
Law smiled back, reading 'Katy' on her nametag. "Yeah, just getting off work."
"Would you like some coffee?"
Law glanced around, seeing who he was looking for almost immediately, sitting at a booth in back.
"Yeah, that'd be great. I'll take it over there with tall, dark, and mysterious."
Katy nodded. "Sure, have a seat. Would you like anything else?"
Law shook his head. "Naw, just coffee is fine, thank you."
Making his way past tables and windows of pastries and pies, Law slid into the worn leather seat of the booth and propped his feet on the table's floor stand. The man across from Law, looked up with coal-black eyes. He was huge, at least a head taller than most men, with wide shoulders and thickly muscled arms. He was as intimidating as one could possibly get, and devastatingly handsome in a rough sort of way.
Law grinned, shaking his head. "I love the beard."
Detective Dalton Drum smiled, softening his features considerably. He raised his palm to the neatly trimmed goatee. "The wife hated it. Always wanted me clean shaven."
Law slumped comfortably into the booth and nodded to the waitress when she brought him his coffee.
"She finally left?" Law asked when they were alone once again.
Dalton nodded. "Took the kids to her mother's in Long Beach."
"I'm sorry," Law said quietly.
"It's okay," Dalton replied. "It's kind of a relief. We were so past fighting that we had come around to being civil to each other again. But it was like I was living with a polite stranger that knew a horrible secret about me." The detective took a swallow of his own coffee. "It was so uncomfortable it started giving the girls nightmares."
Law felt cold inside as he listened to Dalton basically describe his relationship with Kidd. Law's second in command, and former lover, had been doing the same thing for the last few months. He was polite, followed orders to the letter without question, but it was hollow. Fake. Dalton was absolutely right, it did feel like Kidd was a stranger that knew some horrible secret about Law that he could use any time he wanted. It was devastating, and there was nothing Law could do about it.
"Kids okay now?" Law asked, trying to forget his personal troubles for the moment.
Dalton nodded. "I see them every couple of weekends. We'll eventually work out a schedule. Carla's been real cool about custody."
"That's good," Law nodded.
"Oh," Dalton sat back and reached into the inner pocket of his jacket. "Almost forgot."
The detective pulled out his cell phone and brought up the picture menu. He showed it to Law, who started scrolling through the photos.
"Oh wow…" Law grinned. "They got fat."
The photos were of the men Law had gone through police academy with. Several of them had ended up working in Dalton's precinct and sent messages to him through Dalton when the two of them met every few months. Several of the pictures had the officers holding up signs saying things like "We Love You Law" or "Come Home Soon Jerk".
Law smiled. A warm feeling started in his chest and spread to his limbs as he scrolled through the pictures. He appreciated these little things Dalton did for him more than he could possibly say. One of the main reasons Law had been chosen for this long term undercover operation, was because he had no family. He had no hard ties to his former life, and therefore could completely integrate himself into his alternate ego without breaking off important relationships. Dalton saw that, and took the time to make connections to his former life for him. He gave Law something to hold on to so he wouldn't be completely lost.
Law handed the phone back to the detective, feeling better than he had in several weeks. Dalton deleted the photos and slipped the phone back into his pocket.
"So…" Dalton's voice turned serious. "You sent me an urgent message last night. Something come up?"
This was where things started to hinge. This was the moment that everything in Law's alternate life started to fall apart; to break down. This was the reason he had gone undercover in the first place.
Law took a breath and leaned forward.
"It's happening in three days. Kizaru's meeting with his partners at the pier. There's gonna be a hand off. Weapons, drugs, you name it, it's getting unloaded."
Dalton leaned in, his powerful arms resting on the table top. He laced his fingers together to cover his mouth. "And you know Kizaru's going to show."
"He has to," Law said. "He'd never leave it all to Akainu. Kizaru still thinks Akainu's trying to take over his territory. He'll be there in person to make sure Akainu doesn't cheat him out of what's his."
Dalton nodded, his eyes staring at something over Law's shoulder. "You find out who their contact is?"
Law swallowed. "Well… You were right when you figured it was someone in the department."
Dalton leveled his stare. He studied Law's face and took a breath. "Who is it?"
Dalton closed his eyes. He ran a hand over his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I knew it… I knew it deep down. It had to be someone high up in the department, but damnit that's high. He's thinking of running for state rep."
Law rested his head in his hand. "This is gonna reopen so many cases… is it worth it?"
Dalton looked at him then, his eyes blazing. "Absolutely. We bring him down, we bring down a powerhouse in the crime world. If we have to reopen cases, we'll reopen cases. It's the right thing to do." He took out his phone again. "Besides, you've been on this case for the last seven years. You deserve recognition for it."
"I don't think-"
"Shut up." Dalton said firmly as he typed into his phone.
Law sat back, unable to keep the smile from his face. Dalton was the same as always. Good to the core, and absolutely unshakable.
When the detective was finished, he slipped the phone back into his coat and smiled at Law.
"Wow. This is huge."
"That's really an understatement," Law chuckled.
"Do you need anything?" Dalton asked.
Law shrugged, his insides churning as he thought about how to ask for what he really wanted.
Dalton noticed his discomfiture and leaned in close. "You do. What is it? I'll help however I can."
Law laced his hands together and stared at his tattooed fingers. There was no way, but he had to at least try. If he didn't try, he would regret it for the rest of his life.
"I uh… There is one thing I'd like to request… But I'm not sure how it'll go over with the guys up top."
Dalton raised his eyebrows. "What?"
Law took a breath.
"I want to request immunity for Kidd."
Dalton stared at him for a long moment. His eyes were probing, penetrating as they studied him. As the seconds ticked by, Law felt less and less confident that his request had been appropriate. There was no way Dalton could understand. He didn't know Law was in love with Kidd and would do anything to protect him. Law sat defiantly staring at his superior, jaw set and hands shaking. He knew with this he was going to ruin his reputation, ruin everything he had worked for in the last six years, but he didn't care. He had to try. He had to.
"Okay," Dalton said simply.
Law blinked. Had he just imagined that? "Uh… excuse me?"
Dalton nodded and slipped his hands into his pockets. "We'll need him to testify."
Law relaxed. Of course, Kidd was a true underworld crime lord, and his account would be far more convincing than Law's ever could be. They would be able to bring down half the organized crime in California if they could get Kidd to testify. And Law could get him to testify.
"I um…" Law smiled. "Thank you. That was… I was worried…"
Dalton waved his hand in dismissal. "Don't worry about it. I know he means a lot to you."
Law's eyes widened. He felt like something hit him in the chest, knocking the air from his lungs as Dalton grinned at his stunned expression.
"Come on," the detective motioned with his head, "get on out of here. You're thirty minutes are almost up."
Law, his head spinning, nodded and slowly stood. He dropped a five dollar bill on the table and turned to go.
"Oh, and Sergeant," Dalton called after him.
Law turned, the title still ringing in his ears. "Yeah?"
Dalton regarded him seriously once again. "It's been an honor working with you."
Law squirmed, embarrassed and flattered at the same time. "Thank you."
With that, he turned back and headed out the door. The cold air nipped at his face and hands as he jogged across the street towards the car.
By the time they returned to Law's condo, it was almost one in the morning. Jean punched in the code for the gate, and they pulled up in front of the two story, French style building. Law exited the car and watched as Jean pulled away to park in the underground garage. Kidd stood beside him, finishing the last of his cigarette.
"You need anything before I go?" Kidd asked.
"Actually, yes." Law turned and motioned for Kidd to follow. "Come up, we need to talk."
Kidd followed without a word, depositing his cigarette butt in the sand-filled can outside. Once Law had unlocked the door and they stepped inside, the two men ascended the curved staircase and moved into Law's study.
"I want you to do something for me," Law said as he sat at his desk. He unlocked the center drawer and pulled out a ledger and bank book. "Tomorrow, take this to my personal bank. Don't go to the one in Hollywood, get further out like in North Hills or even Santa Clarita." He scratched his name and bank number before singing the bottom and ripping the slip free.
He handed the slip to Kidd, who took it carefully, eyeing it and then Law in turn suspiciously.
"This is blank," Kidd said quietly.
Law nodded. "Take out however much you think you'll need for a few months, and get the hell out of California. Go North, go East, I don't care, just get away and stay away for a while."
Kidd frowned, glancing at the paper again. "What the hell's going on?"
Law sighed and leaned back in the seat. "They're raiding the meet on Thursday night."
Kidd stilled, his stance going defensive and eyes blazing as he studied Law critically. "Raiding? Are you fucking insane?"
"Kidd, don't argue. This is the perfect chance to-"
"Perfect chance to what? Get killed? Get a shit-ton of your police buddies killed? Kizaru and Akainu are gonna be there, and now this police commander Sengoku's involved too? You've done some stupid-ass things before, Traf, but this is the fucking-"
Law shot to his feet, slamming his hands down on the desk with such force that it stopped Kidd's words in his throat.
"This is what I've been working for! This is the only chance we're ever going to have to catch these guys! My contact is bringing the entire precinct, military, even FBI involvement!" He bore his teeth and snarled across the desk at the red head.
"This is my chance! This is my best chance to be done with this! I can get out of this life and I can go back to what I was before! I can be a normal person with only one life!"
Kidd moved closer, his voice dropping dangerously low. "You already have just one life! You're not a cop anymore Traf! You've lived this life for too long!"
"This is not me!" Law snapped. "I have to end this!"
Kidd roared and swept the lamp and a stack of papers off the desk in a fit of rage. "And what about me!? Huh!? You think you can just throw some money at me and I'll disappear!?"
"Yes! Because I'm going to request immunity for you, but it's not guaranteed you'll get it! They could get you in a cell and find they really like you there! I wouldn't be able to live with knowing I did that to you!"
Kidd gripped the edge of the desk so hard his palms turned white. His rage was palpable as he snarled across the desk at Law. He seethed, slamming the polished wood down on the floor.
"You don't decide what I do just to make yourself feel better. I've never run from anything, and I'm not starting now."
Law sneered, straightening. "Then you're a fucking idiot."
Kidd leapt over the desk, slamming his feet into Law's chest. The two tumbled to the floor. Law rolled, but Kidd was on his feet and grabbing him from behind before he could get away. Law twisted, swinging his fist and connecting with the side of Kidd's neck. The red head cursed and pushed away, giving Law a chance to get to his feet. They faced off, and Kidd clocked Law once real good in the face. The smaller man fell to the floor once again, but was able to bring a low kick around and take out Kidd's legs. Law crawled to his partner, and twisted a fist into the larger man's jacket collar. They rolled together, hitting and kicking and cursing until Kidd twisted, and Law felt a sharp, cold edge against his throat. Kidd had grabbed a piece of the broken lamp, and now had Law at his mercy.
Law breathed hard underneath his former lover. He watched those eyes that used to regard him with such humor and affection, watch him now with maniacal rage. Why was it like this? How had they come to this? It broke Law's heart to see the man he loved lose control because of him. He lifted a hand to run his fingers over a smooth cheek as he lay pinned to the floor, broken glass pushed against his throat.
"Kidd… Kidd please…" he pleaded.
Kidd blinked at Law's touch. The fire in his eyes evaporated at Law's quiet words. He looked down at the glass in his hand and startled, as if seeing it for the first time. He threw the shard aside, and pulled himself off of the smaller man.
Law closed his eyes and listened as Kidd got to his feet and brushed himself off. He heard the crumple of paper, and looked to see his partner slipping the bank slip into his pocket. He turned, started to say something, but then closed his mouth and headed for the door. Law sat up, and leaned against the side of the desk, smarting as a sharp pain shot through his ribs.
"Traf…" Kidd said softly from the doorway.
"Yeah…" Law answered.
Kidd turned, but didn't look at him. "Don't die." Then he opened the door, and slipped out.
Law sat for a long time after Kidd had left, simultaneously relieved and disappointed that he had actually gone.