Author's notes: Yeah, I'm being bad and starting another story when I have yet to finish my other two. This is actually the first idea I ever had for a CSI: NY story. I had written some of it out longhand but then abandoned it to other ideas. It decided to invade my life and demand that I pull it back out and finish it. I couldn't find the original so I had to start over. I hope you like it. It takes place early Season 3, not long after the episode Love Run Cold but way before Silent Night. The prologue is a little short but it reminds me of what you usually see in an episode before the credits roll. I put it at an M rate due to language in the next chapter. I prefer to err on the side of caution and make it a higher rating than make a mistake by going to low. Feedback is always appreciated.
Disclaimer: CBS, Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, and Ann Donahue own all rights to the characters and premise of the show. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.
Detective Mac Taylor parked the Chevy Avalanche haphazardly next to the car he recognized as Don Flack's. Before emerging from the vehicle, he took a moment to survey the scene, wondering once again just why he was here. The street had almost been turned into a parking lot as five police cars were interspersed among two ambulances, their flashing lights piercing the grayness of the day that had been threatening rain all morning. He knew it wasn't a murder; he hadn't been paged to the crime scene officially. Instead, he'd been in his office working on a mountain of paperwork that never seemed to end when Flack had called and tersely requested that he come to Eduardo's Diner. The homicide detective hadn't explained but the urgency in his voice had convinced Mac to come down.
He got out of the vehicle, curious as to what was going on. He was familiar with Eduardo's Diner as was practically every NYPD officer. Eddie, the owner of Eduardo's, treated every officer to a free meal every Thursday as a thank you for protecting the city. Mac didn't know of any officer who didn't make it a point to stop by Eduardo's every Thursday either for lunch or dinner for a hot delicious meal. Today, however, wasn't Thursday.
Just as he was approaching the diner, paramedics emerged from the restaurant pushing a stretcher between them. At first all Mac could tell was that the patient was a female who'd obviously been beaten severely. The seasoned officer winced at the wounds that he could see and then his stomach lurched as he caught sight of familiar honey colored curls drifting over the unrecognizable face. Then he shook his head. It had to be a coincidence; Lindsay Monroe was back at the lab working. She and Danny had poring over the evidence from a homicide scene the night before all morning. Then he frowned. He hadn't noticed her when he left and it was lunch time. Had she taken her lunch break and decided to come to Eduardo's? He knew the young detective liked to frequent the diner at times other than the free meal so it wouldn't be unusual.
He stopped the paramedics so he could get a better look. He swore as he realized that this unconscious victim was indeed the spunky CSI who had carved a niche for herself at the lab in the year she'd been with them. She'd been beaten viciously, her right cheek taking the worst of the damage as it appeared to be cracked open. He doubted that even if she were awake, she'd be able to open her right eye at all with the swelling that had already set in.
"What happened?" He managed to bark out to the medics who appeared impatient to transport their patient.
"All we know is that she was assaulted inside the diner and then was accidentally tasered by the officers attempting to subdue the assailant. The officers inside can tell you more. If you'll excuse us-"
Mac was flabbergasted that one of his own could have been beaten so severely that he wanted to jump into the back of the ambulance with the medics just to make sure Lindsay was going to be okay. Instead he stepped back where the paramedics could load the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. As much as he wanted to go with her, he wanted to make sure that her assailant had been caught even more. Before the driver closed the ambulance door, Mac asked one final question. "Where are you taking her?"
The driver ran around to the front of the ambulance and Mac waited until the emergency vehicle pulled away before turning back toward the diner. He needed to find Flack, needed answers to the questions swirling around his head. He didn't have to look far; the diner door opened once again and another stretcher was pushed out with Flack and several uniformed officers following right behind. Once again Mac's heart skipped a beat as he recognized the figure in the second stretcher. Danny? It made sense that the young detective from Staten Island would have been with Lindsay. The two were regularly partnered together on crimes and it wasn't unusual for the two to take lunch breaks together.
Danny was also unconscious but Mac couldn't see any evidence of wounds on the young man. Mac frowned. "Flack, what the hell happened here? Tell me we have the bastard responsible."
Flack spoke softly to one of the uniformed officers who then jumped into the ambulance with the medic and Danny. Flack then pulled Mac to one side as the second ambulance pulled off. "You're not going to believe it and you're definitely not going to like it. Hell, I'm not sure I believe it and I've heard it from everyone in the diner."
It took every ounce of self control Mac possessed not to lash out at the younger man. Two of his people had just been taken by ambulance and he was no closer to knowing what had happened. The only thing that prevented him from completely losing his composure was that he could tell Flack was delaying telling the story not to drive him crazy but because he was still trying to process the knowledge himself. He sighed. "Do I need to go question them for myself? Help me out here, Don. Two of my people are on their way to the hospital. I want to know what happened and who's responsible."
Flack glanced back at the diner, still trying to reconcile the version of the facts he'd been told with everything he'd ever believed. It just didn't make sense. "Everyone said the same thing. Lindsay and Danny were eating lunch together. Everything was fine. Nobody even noticed the first blow; it wasn't until Lindsay was on the ground being kicked in the stomach while her attacker held her down with a boot stepping on her wrist that anybody realized something was wrong. They tried to intervene but Lindsay identified herself as an officer and told them to stay back. Someone called 911 and the first officers arrived within five minutes. Lindsay was no longer on the ground but was still being beaten like a rag doll. They tried to taser her attacker but Lindsay stepped in their path and took the charge straight to the chest. She lost consciousness and the other officers were able to subdue her attacker."
The viciousness of the attack sickened Mac but he was still confused. Where had Danny been during all of this and why hadn't he intervened to help Lindsay? Had he been incapacitated first or had there been a second assailant? He nodded toward the diner. "The assailant still in there? I want to talk to him. Find out why the hell he attacked my people."
He took a step toward the diner but Flack's voice stopped him before he could take another one. "He's not in there, Mac. He was transported to the hospital."
Mac whirled back to face Flack, his eyes blazing with righteous fury. "You mean to tell me the asshole who beat Lindsay senseless was transported before she was? What the hell was anyone thinking?"
Flack shook his head, hating this part the most. "Not before, after."
The head of the crime lab's eyes narrowed as he processed what Flack was trying to tell him. He'd arrived in time to see Lindsay transported to the hospital and the only other person to be taken to the hospital after that was Danny. Once again, his stomach dropped and he began to shake his head. It wasn't possible. There was no way what Flack seemed to be suggesting could be true. There had to be another explanation. "Was he taken out the back?"
Flack shook his head. He had a feeling the disbelief he was seeing in Mac's eyes was a mirror reflection of his own. When he had first started hearing the story from the people inside the diner at the time of the attack, he'd felt it had to be some horrible misunderstanding but he'd had to concede that it must be true as he heard the same story from every single person inside. He didn't understand it and he couldn't explain it. He wanted to hold on to what he'd always known to be the truth but it was impossible as the contradiction kept being reiterated by everyone he talked to.
"Mac, everyone said the same thing. Danny attacked Lindsay."