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Into the Light
Ruptured spleen…internal bleeding…bruised kidney….electrolyte imbalance….comatose…
Three hours later, the litany of Ashley's ailments still ran through his head, threatening to drive him mad. She'd been wheeled into surgery a little less than two hours ago and he'd been allowed to see her only briefly before they'd taken her away.
Pale and still, hooked to more wires than a car battery, she'd lain on the gurney, already unconscious. The nurses had assured him that she wasn't in any pain, but he seriously doubted their expert opinions. Afraid to touch her, he'd stroked her hair instead, his eyes glued to her lax face. "Don't you dare quit on me," he'd whispered furiously. "You did not survive the things you have to just let go now."
The steady beep of her heart monitor was her only reply and he chose to be encouraged by that. "Just keep fighting, piccola. I'll handle everything else," he'd breathed against her ear, resting his forehead against the thin pillow beneath her head.
"We need to go now, sir," one of the nurses had said gently, dropping a hand to his arm and urging him to take a step backward as orderlies had navigated her bed out of the room and down the hallway.
Glancing at his watch, he realized that had been exactly one hour and forty-seven minutes ago. Looking around the waiting room, he sighed as he recognized the faces of his team. One by one, they'd joined him, holding hushed vigil as they waited for news.
Shaking his head, he stared at his hands. Again, he'd asked himself how he had missed how serious her injuries were. Sure, he'd heard the harried doctor's explanation about how the tremendous surge of adrenaline she'd experienced could disguise her symptoms…but he couldn't excuse himself. Not entirely. He'd been with her for hours. Shouldn't he have noticed something…anything that could have prevented her from this kind of crash?
Running a hand through his hair as he heard a raised voice in the hallway, his head jerked upright as the waiting room door crashed open and Lieutenant Shea appeared.
"Detective LaMontagne," the man snarled as he stomped into the room. "A word! Now!" he demanded.
Dave's eyes flashed as the man's bark echoed in the otherwise silent room. Rising simultaneously with Will, his jaw clenched. "What in the hell are you doing here?" he asked, his voice low and dangerous as his eyes skewered the younger man.
The blustering lieutenant barely spared a glanced toward Dave as he declared to the room at large, "I'm here because my number one suspect is apparently attempting to evade…."
But his words ceased to exist as Dave barreled toward him and roughly shoved the slighter man into the wall behind him, pressing his forearm against his windpipe. "One more word and I'll make sure it's your last," Dave rasped sharply, his face mere inches from the shocked face of the man that was intent on persecuting his Ashley. He could hear the yells and gasps from his team behind him, but nothing registered beyond the red haze that was clouding his vision. For the second time today, this asshole had appeared to harass an innocent woman, attempting to paint a portrait around her that was in no way an image of what had happened.
"Dave!" Will called out, tugging at Dave's arm as he cajoled, "Come on, man. This isn't the way to help Ashley right now. Let him go!"
Hotch and Morgan chimed in from the either side of him as well. "Will's right, Dave," Hotch encouraged him, pulling hard on Dave's surprising strong grip, the rapidly reddening face and gasps of the lieutenant growing more pained as Dave's forearm pressed against the man's windpipe.
"This dick isn't worth it, Rossi," Morgan growled, his eyes livid on Shea's face even as he tugged on Dave's other arm.
But in spite of the men's best efforts, it was JJ's soft voice that broke through his anger, intruding on his vengeful desires. "Dave, Ashley needs you here when she wakes up, not in a jail cell. Step back from him now."
Pushing violently away from the bastard intent on destroying Ashley, Dave growled. "Get him out of this room or I swear to God, I'll demonstrate personally the difference between self defense and murder," he said, panting with exertion.
Gripping his throat as he slid weakly down the wall, Shea wheezed, "That was a mistake, Rossi. Assaulting a police officer…"
"I believe there are five agents and one well respected technical analyst in this room that would dispute your story and testify that Agent Rossi was provoked into action," Reid stated dispassionately from his seat in the corner as he eyed the purple faced officer in front of him.
"In other words, go while the going is good," Emily instructed blandly, her disgust for the other man obvious. "You aren't wanted or needed here."
Turning to Will, Shea pointed at his subordinate. "You aren't to leave this hospital. I want Seaver under twenty-four hour surveillance until I finish questioning her, damn it!"
"Yeah, because she's gonna just get up and walk out of here after surgery," Morgan said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
"If I were you," Dave said softly, "I'd bring an army with you because that's what it will take to get anywhere near her again," he vowed.
"I'd suggest you remove yourself, Lieutenant Shea," an imperial voice recommended from the doorway. "Otherwise, I'm going to be forced to give my agents permission to remove you. Come back with a warrant or do not come back at all. Any further requests to speak with Agent Seaver will be addressed through me personally," Erin Strauss announced with a cold smile. "That was the official order that I received from the FBI's Director fifteen minutes ago."
Turning, Shea's jaw dropped. "And who the hell are you?"
Lifting her chin, Erin raised an eyebrow. "Someone you really to want to irritate any further than you already have." Erin sidestepped the angry man as he growled under his breath and stormed from the waiting room. Inhaling deeply as she met David Rossi's livid stare, she shook her head. "The Director sends his regards, David. Perhaps now you'd like to fill me in on exactly what the hell is going on?"
SPECIAL SIDE NOTE – Sarah O'Rourke (the professional pen name that ilovetvalot and tonnie2001969 use) has released a NEW book on amazon. Com – Please swing by and check out "The Devil's Snare". Please check out our other books as well. They are "Inescapable Eye of the Storm" and "The Estate" And please feel free to friend Sarah O'Rourke on Facebook!