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Author's Note 2 - I had to do this mini-epic because I was disappointed with the resolution of Ashley's storyline. After all, they teased us with her serial killer father. We should really do something with the guy, right? Right. Anyway, this is a mini-epic that I intend to update every one to two weeks. I hope you enjoy it. Let us know!
Into the Light
He was reaching for the dusty bottle of scotch...the one he only ever touched when he'd had a really shitty week...when the phone rang. Normally, that sound wouldn't have bothered him much, but it was almost one in the morning. And he'd been home exactly two hours.
In his experience, a ringing phone at that time of night usually indicated one thing.
A new case.
And after four days on the road chasing a serial arsonist intent on single handedly decimating the Mormon population throughout Utah, catching another psycho wasn't ranking up there in the top three things he wanted to do with the rest of his night.
Grumbling under his breath as he reached for his cell, he answered gruffly, his voice patently unwelcoming. "Rossi," he bit out impatiently.
"Dave?" an unfamiliar voice asked, the sound muffled by the noises in the background.
"Yeah," Dave answered, his brows drawing together as he strained to hear the woman talking on the other end of the line. "Who's this?"
"Dave, this is Andie Swann," she repeated again, plugging one finger in her free ear as she pressed her own phone harder against her hair, blinking as another siren shrieked in the background.
"Andie?" Dave echoed, his mind slowly kicking into gear as he remembered the fellow agent on the other end of the line. "What's going on?"
"Dave, we've had an incident tonight," Andie explained quickly. "Agent Seaver was involved. And since she doesn't know very many people in our unit yet, I thought..."
"Wait!" Dave interrupted, his heart thumping as he heard Ashley's name. "Is Ashley hurt?" he asked, his eyes already darting the room, looking for his keys.
"She's unharmed, Dave, if that's what you mean. But she's hardly what I'd qualify as okay," Andie murmured, looking through the open door of her new agent's apartment at the woman still huddled on her couch.
"What happened, Andie?" Dave asked quickly, spotting his keys on the coffee table. "Where are you?"
"We're at her apartment, Dave," Andie answered calmly, avoiding the question while providing the basic information. "The situation has been maintained."
"What situation?" Dave asked angrily. "You said she wasn't hurt, right?"
"She's got a few minor injuries," Andie sighed, watching as Ashley woodenly shook her head at another paramedic that approached her. "But at the moment, she's refusing medical treatment."
"For what?" Dave said, his voice just shy of shouting.
"Mostly just surface wounds. Listen, her father was being transported to one of the local hospitals this evening for what appeared to be complications with his cancer. He killed the two guards traveling with him and escaped."
Stiffening as Andie explained what had happened, Dave swallowed hard. "He came after, Ash?"
"Yes," Andie confirmed softly. "Dave...she killed him," the other agent said quietly. "It was a clean kill; there's no question about that. But...she's in shock, and I don't know her well enough to be able to reach her. I got your number from Will LaMontagne. He's the lead detective on scene. I was hoping..."
"I'm on my way, Andie," Dave replied swiftly as he stomped toward the door. "Just keep an eye on her until I get there."
"Will do," Andie agreed. "Just...," she said as she peered inside at Ashley's wan face, "just hurry, Rossi."
Dave made good time reaching Ashley's end of town, the mostly deserted streets free of traffic. Parallel parking behind one of the many police cars dotting the street, he quickly shoved the gear shift into park and shut off his own lights. Slamming his truck door as he climbed out, he looked around for a familiar face, finding none, he headed toward Ashley's apartment door.
Reaching the sidewalk, he was stopped by one of the uniformed cops. "I'm sorry, sir. No one is allowed in the complex at the moment," the young officer said, dropping his hand to his gun.
Dave impatiently flashed his own badge as he heard an accented voice call, "Y'all let 'im through, boys."
Glancing up, Dave met Will LaMontagne's gaze and nodded at the other man appreciatively. "Where is she?" he called as he jogged up the short flight of concrete steps toward Ashley's door.
"Still inside," Will answered, striding toward Dave. "It's still a mess in there, I'm afraid, but Agent Swann said we needed to let her stay put until you got here. I wasn't sure if you'd even made it home yet. When I got the call, JJ had barely stepped through the door."
"Thanks for calling me," Dave said gratefully. "You called anybody else on the team?"
"Nah, man...I figured y'all needed your rest. It ain't like we don't know what happened in there," he said, nodding toward the open door. "She was defending herself against a convicted serial killer. It's pretty much open and shut, Dave."
Releasing a relieved breath, Dave asked, "I'm assuming she hasn't given a statement yet?"
"Nah...I'm not even sure she's aware of what's goin' on, Dave. It took me twenty minutes to convince her to put the gun down once I got here. I don't think she even remembered who I was. When I got here, she was curled in a corner, rocking back and forth, holding the gun. She calmed down a little when Agent Swann told her you were on your way though. We at least were able to get her off the floor and onto the sofa."
"Jesus," Dave muttered, running his hand against the back of his neck. "That bad, then?"
"'Fraid so, mon ami," Will nodded gravely. "Listen, Dave, I can wait to get that statement. I'm assumin' you came over to fetch her, didn't you?"
"Yeah," Dave acknowledged softly. "Her mother is dead. No siblings. No anybody, as far as I know."
"Yeah, that's about what JJ had told me about her," Will replied, glancing down as the medical examiner's car pulled away from the scene followed by the coroner's van. "Well, the body's gone. We're going to clear out soon. This place isn't gonna be livable tonight, man."
"I'll take her back to my place," Dave said with a wave of his hand. "Andie said she was mostly unhurt," he prodded, looking at the young detective for confirmation.
"They scuffled," Will said slowly, uncertain how much he should tell Dave.
"Scuffled?" Dave repeated, raising an eyebrow.
"Her father...he tried to...," Will floundered, at a loss for words. "He didn't, but..."
"Christ," Dave bit out, his eyes narrowing. "He tried to rape her?" he hissed.
"Honestly, Dave?" Will sighed. "I don't know. She's got bruises along her arms and the strap of her tank top on one side was torn. His face had scratches down one side like she'd clawed him. You do the math."
Inhaling deeply as he clenched his hands inside the pockets of his jeans, Dave nodded tensely.
"Like I said, Dave, she ain't real verbal right now. The most either Agent Swann or I got out of her was a yes or no answer. Hopefully you can do better."
"I'll try," Dave nodded.
"Just give me a call sometime tomorrow to set up a time to get a final statement from her, all right? I can put this to bed as far as the department goes as soon as that's done."
"Do you think we could do it at my place, Will?" Dave asked as Will stepped out of the way.
"No problem," he said softly.
"Thanks," Dave murmured before he disappeared into Ashley's apartment with a heavy heart.