A/N: the characters and original story of Beyond Vengeance do not belong to me. There is no profit being made.
While there was so much else to worry about, I knew in the back of my mind that I would be attending the funeral for one of my daughter's best friends. I couldn't imagine what that would be like or what her parents were going through. It was so unnatural for someone that young, that vibrant and that healthy to be dead.
And it could have been Jeannie. God forgive me for being that selfish, but I couldn't stop thinking about what more could have happened on that bus.
At that moment, in Rudy's office, my hands were tied and I was angry. After Valerie was brutally killed on the way home from college, it didn't take long to figure out who the sick bastard was. Leonard Collier Cord. It's not like he was hiding. Jeannie could identify him but couldn't exactly link him to what had happened on the bus. That was a part of his plan and it made him happy. That smirk on his face made me sick! He did it and it was all there out in the open. Yet there was no proof.
Cord had twelve years to think this through - to calculate it down to the smallest detail. He anticipated everything - every thought I would have and every reaction. He even got me to deck him in my own office in front of Steve and the rest of the squad. Rudy was right - it was a bush play.
I had to figure a way to catch Cord. I had to stop him before he got to Jeannie.
It worried me to see him like this. He loves his daughter so much. It would kill him if anything happened to her. He felt so helpless and I understood that.
The law is there to protect people. It's there to also protect men and women who have committed crimes and paid their debt to society. For the most part, it should - without question. But every so often someone slips through the system who is simply pathological.
Mike couldn't understand why Cord had been released so early. It was because he knew how to manipulate the system and those around him. He convinced the right people that he was reformed and ready for society. Yet he was really someone without remorse and filled with an intent to torture and destroy. He was hellbent on revenge. That was Cord.
I could see the frustration in Mike's eyes. When you're a cop, you must follow higher standards. Mike's hands were tied and he wasn't able to do all he could to protect the one person he loves above all others.
When presented with a choice to protect Jeannie or stay on the force, there was no question. He would leave the force. And he was willing to quit right there on the spot. He had slammed his badge on Rudy's desk. Rudy would never have accepted his resignation, but it was a message just the same: he was a desperate father and would give it all up for Jeannie's safety.
I thought very little about what I would do next. As soon as I heard Rudy pulled the tail on Cord, it was a reflex. For Mike to be so willing to give up his life's work to nail this madman said more to me than you could imagine. The least I could do was give up my afternoon and tail the guy.
I was surprised when Steve suddenly announced he was feeling ill. We both knew what he was up to, and thankfully, Rudy played along. Oh, I know Rudy was just following rules before. That's his job as Captain. I've known Rudy my entire career. He was just as frustrated as I was. He certainly didn't want anything to happen to Jeannie.
When Rudy returned my badge, I pulled Steve aside to thank him. He smiled for a half second, but didn't want to hear it. I think he was a little embarrassed. But he needed to know how much his actions meant to me. He was going above and beyond. Not that he doesn't always put in the extra effort. He does. That's what draws me to him.
But this was for me and Jeannie. This was personal. He was willing to risk his life without question. At that point, I didn't realize how real that risk would be.
I don't think he thought that far either.