Unkindest Cut of All

Chapter Twenty-Two

As soon as the sergeant got off his phone with Detective Beaumont, he turned to Casey and Eddie and said, "I'm going to head back to the precinct. Alvarez, you're with me. We have work to do. Shraeger, I know that you want to stay here with your partner, so I'm going to let you."

Casey responded, "Thank you, Sir."

"He's a stubborn SOB, so don't let him try to get up next time he wakes up," Brown continued as he walked toward the door. "I need him on our team."

"I'll do the best I can," Casey answered as their boss turned and left the room.

Alvarez quickly spoke up saying, "I'll be back to visit him as soon as this case is all wrapped up. Don't worry, everything's going to work out just fine. Jason woke up once, which means he hasn't given up yet and he won't."

Casey smiled and then he turned to follow after the sergeant until Casey quickly called out, "Good luck, Eddie!"

Meanwhile…

Beaumont slowly walked down to the office where the techs of the department worked in order to follow out Sergeant Brown's orders. If there was the slightest chance that the accusation against Cole was true, then she wanted to know; she needed to know. She couldn't believe that her partner was dirty, even if he did have a bad past, but Cole was now a man of God, who went to church more than twice a week, he had a beautiful and loving fiancée, and he was the kindest man she knew.

After Casey had lashed out at her while at the hospital, Beaumont realized that at least to some degree, the rookie of their team was right. A part of her was in love with Cole, though she would never act on it as he was engaged and she was with Walsh; or at least she was until recently. She doubted she could be with him anymore after he had kept this big of a secret from her for all this time. She was still mad at him and would be for quite awhile.

"Hey, Allison," one of the woman in the lab suddenly said, causing Beaumont to snap out of her thoughts. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes, fine," the detective replied. "I'm sorry, there's just a lot on my mind right now."

The woman nodded as she responded, "Oh, I know. I can only imagine how you must be feeling, you know, with Detective Walsh in the hospital right now. I hope he's going to be…"

Beaumont cut her off as she had become irritated and said, "I know. Listen, I need you to reprint the database search on our two suspects from Walsh's diner that we had had you run last night. Somehow, I misplaced the ones that Detective Cole gave me and we really need it again."

"No problem," the woman answered as she ran her fingers across the computer keys and quickly reprinted the reports. "Your male suspect seems like quite the psycho. Is he your guy?"

"We're not… not sure yet," Beaumont stuttered as she looked down at the new rap sheet for a Tommy Granger in surprise, as she discovered that Sergeant Brown had been right; that Cole must have hidden it the night before. "Thank you."

As Beaumont slowly walked away, she began to read through the information printed in the report, but stopped in the hallway before heading into the squad room where she believed her partner was waiting for her to come back. The tech had been right. This guy did appear to be a psycho as she read that he had been in and out of prison for robbery, assault, and even murder of a shopkeeper in a store he had robbed along with the same man, who had shot her the day he attempted to kill Walsh; Frank Lutz.

Somehow, he had been released from prison early thanks to him giving up information on another criminal in exchange for a reduced sentence and when she read his release date, which was two days ago, she realized that it was the same day Cole had said that his visitor had come into town. However, it was the last page of the rap sheet that hit her the hardest, as she looked closely at a picture that was of Lutz, Tommy, and who the report claimed was Tommy's brother as they were working to steal an armored car. It wasn't perfectly clear, but Beaumont could see that the brother looked an awful lot like Cole.

The knots in her stomach tightened as she suddenly took off running toward the squad room in anger and looked around for her partner, who was no longer there, then called out, "Where's Cole?"

Both Banks and Delahoy stood up from their desk as soon as she came in, obviously in a panic, and the detective that believed he would not live to the age of forty-three quickly asked, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Take it easy, Beaumont! What's going on?"

"Where did Cole go?" she asked again, but with more anger in her voice.

"We don't know," Delahoy replied. "Shortly after you left the room to answer your phone, he received a call himself and took off as soon as he hung up. He didn't say where he was going."

Beaumont stomped her foot on the floor and angrily began to shout, "Son of a…"

As he and Alvarez suddenly walked into the squad room, Sergeant Brown interrupted, "What's going on, Detectives?"

"We're not really sure, Sir," Delahoy answered as she looked over at his partner, then back at their boss. "Beaumont came in here just before you did, demanding to know where Detective Cole was. Again, we have no idea."

"Alvarez, I need you to put a bolo out on Cole, now!" Sergeant Brown ordered as Eddie then quickly took a seat at his desk and began to do as their boss said.

Both Delahoy and Banks looked between the sergeant and Alvarez in confusion as Banks asked, "Is there something going on here that we should know about, Sir?"

Beaumont said angrily, "Tell us what's really going on, Serge. How deep into this is Cole, really?"

"I'm afraid that we couldn't tell you any of this before, as we were hoping that we could prove that this was all a misunderstanding, as well as for Walsh's welfare, but it appears the cat is out of the bag," Sergeant Brown replied as she looked between the four detectives inside the room. "Detective Cole is not, who he says he is. In fact, his name is not Henry Cole at all. His name is Navan Granger, a man we suspect is the brother of our shooter."

"Our shooter's name is Tommy Granger," Beaumont responded very quietly as she was fighting to keep in her anger and the shock that her partner had betrayed her. "I have his rap sheet right here. There's a picture of him, Frank Lutz, and Co… Navan stealing an armored car."

Delahoy looked between her and their boss as he asked, "Cole; are you sure you have the right man, Sir? I mean, the guy can't even say the word, semen, without feeling the need to say a quick prayer to ask God for forgiveness."

Banks nodded as he added, "My partner's right. Cole can't possibly be involved in what happened to Walsh."

"We're not sure how deeply he's involved with the kidnapping and attempt on our lives, but we do know that he had a small hand in Kowalski's death," Eddie spoke up after he got off the phone, then began to put up the information Walsh had gathered on both Cole and Frank Lutz up on the board. "Walsh began to suspect him the day Frank Lutz tried to kill him at his diner. He shared some of the information he had gathered with his partner, but didn't want to risk getting her more involved to protect her. This is that information that proves that Cole and Navan Granger are indeed the same man and that they are connected."

Eddie continued to walk through the information that Casey had explained to the rest of the team, including that Walsh had confronted Cole about his involvement in Kowalski's death and that he didn't deny it. He then went on to explain that Walsh never said any of this to anyone, including their sergeant, because he was only trying to protect, who he believed was a good man, who had made stupid mistakes when he was younger and was now trying to turn his life around.

Sergeant Brown sadly said, "We do not believe Cole is nearly as bad as Tommy or Lutz and that he was probably just stuck in the middle as he was trying to protect his brother and childhood friend. However, he's gone too far. We need to find him and when we do, we will get him to tell us how to find his brother. I promise you, Allison, we will do whatever we can for him, but once we find out exactly how he's involved in all this, he will have to suffer the consequences. One thing is for sure; Detective Cole no longer exists, as he is no longer an officer of the law."

Detectives Beaumont, Delahoy, and Banks all sat down at their desks once again in silence, as they worked to absorb all of the information that had just been explained to them. Beaumont was on the verge of tears, as she realized that this would destroy his relationship with his fiancée, just as it has already destroyed her own, and that she had wronged Jason. Sergeant Brown allowed them time to take it all in, as there was nothing for them to do, but wait for someone to respond to the bolo that Alvarez had put out on Cole. A minute later, Eddie picked up his phone as it began to ring.

"Eddie Alvarez," he answered quickly and then listened to the caller on the other end of the line, as the others could see that the call was urgent from the look that suddenly appeared on his face. "We're on our way!"

"What's wrong, Alvarez?" Sergeant Brown asked as soon as he hung up the phone.

Eddie quickly explained, "There's a shootout going on right now at the hospital. Casey says that there are multiple shooters working their way up to Walsh's room right now, as they're taking the hospital staff hostage."

Brown quickly shouted for everyone to gear up, then grabbed his phone and began to call in for backup to have them meet them at the hospital by the time they arrive. All of them knew without a doubt that Tommy Granger was behind the attack, as he was hoping to finish off Walsh once and for all. Each of them hoped that it wasn't so, but they believed that Cole was probably somehow involved in this as well, as it would explain his sudden disappearance.

Back at the hospital…

Casey sat in the chair beside her partner's bed, while he remained asleep, but as soon as the shooting began two floors down from them, Casey bolted and headed toward the door in order to find out what the commotion was from the security detail outside the door, both of them raised their weapons to be ready for the shooters in case they were coming for the man they were in charge of protecting, while one of them spoke over their radios to the security guards that worked for the hospital to get details of the attack.

Casey could hear the screams and shots being fired from below as she quickly asked, "What's going on?"

"They're busy with rounding up the doctors and nurses, as well as any of the security officers down on the ground floor," one of the guards replied. "It sounds like a few people are hurt, but the men don't appear to want a bloodbath, as they're concentrating on firing up in the air or past the people down there."

"Which means, they are definitely here for one person and I'll bet it's Walsh," Casey responded angrily as she quickly pulled up her own gun and walked back toward her partner's bed, then pulled out her cell phone to call for help.

As soon as she hung up, she looked down fearfully at Walsh and found that he was awake as he softly said, "I know that you're not… going to want to, but… you need to go and help them."

Casey shook her head as she argued, "I can't leave you alone. Are you crazy? They're here for you."

"And I've got two… armed guards outside my door," Walsh retorted as he slowly struggled to sit up and then moved to pull the tube out from under his nose once again. "This is part… part of the job, Casey. You're a cop. Civilians come first; rule number one. I'll be all right."

"I thought rule number one was cops first?" Casey asked sarcastically, knowing what his answer was going to be. "That is what you told Alvarez."

A smile appeared on his face and then he answered solemnly, "Not in this time. Be careful out there; pro… promise."

Casey nodded and replied, "I promise."

Outside the hospital…

Sergeant Brown and Detectives Beaumont, Delahoy, and Banks all drove up and got out as SWAT and what appeared to be most of the city's policeman began to surround the building. As the team from the 2nd Precinct worked to put on their vests, Sergeant Banks walked over to the members of SWAT that were in charge in order to get updated on the situation.

"As of right now, we have at least seven men, all heavily armed, that have taken several of the hospital staff, as well as a few of the security officers hostage on the ground floor," the leader said. "They have yet to make any demands, but according to one of the men assigned to keep guard outside your man's room, they believe they're here for him, although they haven't made a move to that floor yet; just the first two."

"They're probably just working on making sure that every threat has been dealt with first in order to make sure there are no surprises," another member of SWAT added.

The sergeant responded, "Whatever it is they're doing, we need to stop them before my detectives end up dead. What's your plan?"

The SWAT leader answered, "We're planning on moving in as soon as my men are ready. We've already got a few men inside to survey what's going on and they claim that taking the seven men down, shouldn't be too much of a problem."

"Just be sure that Detective Shraeger doesn't get caught in the crossfire, as she'll no doubt be working to help out the hostages herself as soon as she gets the chance," Sergeant Brown replied.

"Understood, Sergeant," the leader responded. "We'll let you know when we're ready to go."

Back inside…

As she walked out of Walsh's room, Casey had talked to the guards outside in order to make sure they knew not to leave their post for any reason. After they reassured her that they understood, Casey walked slowly and cautiously down the hospital's corridors in search for the hostages and their captors. The armed men had yet to make it up to their floor, so Casey worked to get all of the nurses and doctors that had yet to be found into a place where they could hide and stay out of sight until the threat was over. Then, she made her way down to the floor below and waited for the right moment to make a move that wouldn't end up with her getting shot. About twenty minutes later, SWAT came charging in and worked to take the men out.

As soon as the commotion started up again downstairs, one of the doctors stumbled out from one of the stairwells just down the hall from where the guards stood outside of Walsh's room. As he did, he called out to them for help and once they saw that he appeared to be hurt, one of the guards rushed forward to help him, while the other remained at his post. However, as soon as the guard reached him, the doctor suddenly pulled out a gun out from under his jacket and shot the guard in his chest, then quickly turned his gun on the other guard as he attempted to take the shooter down first. Unfortunately, the guard's shot missed and he was killed before he could try again.

The shooter, disguised as a doctor, stood up straight and began to walk toward Walsh's room until he a voice called out from behind him saying, "You can't do this, Tommy. Do you honestly believe this is helping us; helping me?"

Tommy turned to face Cole and saw that he had his gun raised and aimed directly at him, as he answered, "It's obvious that you don't see it this way, Navan, but all I'm trying to do is give you a reason to stop fooling yourself and to come back to being the man you used to be. You're not this cowardly, God fearing man you somehow forced yourself into believing you are."

"I am Henry Cole," he replied shakily. "I don't want to be that man you think I am, but both you and Frank drew me back into your world and made me do things I wish I could take back. You're ruining my life. Doesn't that matter to you at all? I was the one, who killed Frank, Tommy, not Walsh. Frank was going to shoot him and his partner, so I killed him to protect them and to stop him from blackmailing me into helping him to commit more and more crimes. I couldn't take it anymore."

"You shouldn't have done that, Navan," Tommy responded angrily. "He was like a brother to us. He was family! If you let me do what I came here to do, I will let it go and leave town, just like you want. You can go back to being Detective Henry Cole."

Cole shook his head sadly as he answered, "I can't. I've already gone too far. And I can't let you kill Detective Walsh; I won't."

Tommy raised his own gun and just as he was about to fire he said, "That's too bad, Navan, because I know that you don't have the guts to kill me."

"He may not, but I do," another voice replied shakily, but firmly as a shot sounded and Tommy suddenly collapsed to his knees, as red began to blossom out from a new wound in his chest.

"Jason!" Cole exclaimed in surprise as he turned to see the detective leaning up against the doorway of his room for support, with a smoking gun raised in his hand. "You're awake?"

Walsh nodded slowly, then Cole looked down sadly at his brother as he fell to the floor onto his back and died with hatred in his eyes. When, he turned back to look at Walsh, the man, who just saved his life suddenly began to collapse as well, until Cole stepped forward and caught him. It was then that Casey, Eddie, Sergeant Brown, and Allison all arrived in the corridor and rushed forward to help.

Both Casey and Eddie pulled her partner from Cole's arms and as gently as they could, worked to help him back into his bed, while both their sergeant and Beaumont stood in the hallway, staring at Cole with disappointment etched on their faces. He only looked down in shame, as he knew that he was finished.

Beaumont was the first to speak as she asked angrily, "How could you do this? You were my partner. I trusted you with my life! Why did you not tell us you were in trouble the day Lutz arrived? We could have protected you and instead, I ended up with a bullet in my gut."

Cole responded, "I'm so sorry, Allison. I wanted so badly to tell you, but… I was so afraid that you wouldn't understand that I wasn't the man I once was and I didn't want to lose my badge."

"I'm afraid that that's exactly what's going to happen and unfortunately, you are worse than the man you were once," Sergeant Brown answered as he pushed him into the hospital room and worked to cuff his hands behind his back.

"Serge is right," Casey quickly replied as her partner struggled to breathe through the pain as it began to flare up again. "Earlier, Walsh told me he vaguely remembered waking up in the shipping container your friends had stuck him in and he saw you standing above him. You knew where he was all day and you were going to let him die."

Cole tried to explain, "Yes, but I realized my mistake, which is why I rushed here to the hospital when my brother called me to tell me that he was going to take care of Walsh once and for all. I was trying to save him."

Sergeant Brown spoke up again saying, "Which will be taken into account when the charges are brought against you, but it won't help you much. Jason ended up saving you instead; not that I blame you for not being able to kill your brother."

"I don't understand, Co… Navan," Casey firmly responded. "How could you do all this, after everything Walsh has done for you? He kept quiet about your past because he believed in you and because he wanted to protect your partner from finding out that you are not the man she grew to love."

"Do you know… what Shakes… Shakespeare said… in his work, Julius Caesar?" Walsh struggled to ask no one in particular as his eyes remained tightly closed because of the pain. "He wrote, 'Judge, O you gods, how dearly… Caesar loved… him! This was… the most unkindest… cut of all; For when… the noble Caesar saw him stab, Ingratitude, more strong… than traitors'…"

They all listened to Walsh in surprise and then when he couldn't finish because it was too hard for him to speak, Casey continued, "Arms, Quite vanquish'd him; then burst his mighty heart.' I think what Walsh is trying to say is that you were a trusted friend and that to be betrayed by you, was even more hurtful than by those, who beat, stabbed, and shot him. He trusted you, considered you a friend, and even after he tried to help after he found out about you, you stood over him as he was freezing to death and did nothing to help him in return. If Walsh hadn't escaped from the container, he would be dead by now. If you ask me, you don't deserve any leniency. You won't get any sympathy from me."

Cole looked down at Walsh and then when both Sergeant Brown and Beaumont began to pull him out of the room as the doctor finally made his way in the room to help Walsh, he softly answered, "I'm sorry."

"Thanks… for… for the gun." Walsh struggled to say to his partner as the doctor and nurse worked to bandage up his now bleeding arms, thanks to him ripping them out when he got up.

"I was afraid that something bad was going to happen," Casey replied. "I just didn't expect this. I'm glad I gave it to you to protect yourself, but you shouldn't have gotten out of bed. It was stupid."

Jason tried to keep his eyes on her as he responded, "It's our job… to protect… the people we can… no matter who… who they are."

Casey nodded sadly as she and Alvarez watched him fight off another flare of pain coming from the wound in his abdomen, as the nurse was now working to re-bandage it to stop the blood flow, as he had ripped open the stitches, until they could work on him to repair the damage he had caused.

In order to distract him, Eddie spoke up as he asked, "So, Shakespeare, huh? I never figured you to be that type of guy."

"What can I say?" Walsh asked groggily as he was beginning to lose consciousness. "I'm a fan… of the… classics, as Casey is… too, apparently. Thank you, both; for… for everything."

"You're welcome," they both answered as Walsh's eyes closed once he finally passed out.

Because Walsh had ripped out the tubes from his arms and had gotten out of bed to save Cole's life, he had to go in for surgery once again in order for the doctors to repair the damages. This time, Casey's partner remained unconscious for almost a week, due to the strain his body had been through. Casey, Eddie, and Sergeant Brown visited Walsh the most as they sat with him after they were off duty. Eddie had brought him numerous gifts as a way of thanking him for all he did to save his life. Delahoy and Banks stopped by only once, as they both had a deep fear of hospitals.

Beaumont finally came in one night, as she was unsure of what to say or how to act around him. A part of her was still angry with Walsh for keeping all of this a secret and for keeping himself so distant from her, but then after everything had been explained, she slowly began to understand that he only wanted to protect her because he really did love her. However, she realized that things couldn't go back to the way they were before, so when Walsh finally came to while she sat there, she knew that she needed to end things between them.

He was the first to talk as he groggily whispered, "It's good to see you. To be honest… I didn't expect to, at least not here."

She nodded and then replied, "I wasn't sure if I should, but I don't want to leave things between us like this. You know, awkward."

"How are you doing?" Jason asked as he looked over at her with compassion, as well as sympathy in his eyes.

"Not great," Beaumont responded truthfully. "Cole, I mean Navan, is in prison and I'm still struggling to deal with the fact that he's responsible for all of this. After we arrested him, he confessed to everything. He told us that when Kowalski had discovered his secret, he panicked and called in Lutz to take care of the problem and then when you found out, he called Lutz again. Col… Navan started everything. I trusted him and I lov…"

She suddenly cut herself off as she realized what she was about to say, when Walsh continued for her, "You loved him."

She looked at him sadly as she said, "Jason… I…"

"It's all right," he answered softly. "I already knew. You talked about him all the time when we were together. You and I were good together, Allison, but I knew… that you would never feel the same way for me, the way that I feel for you and that is my… fault. I should have told you a long time ago that I loved you. You will find someone… that will love you, the way you want them to. And about Cole, I'm sorry."

"Thank you, Jason," she replied as a smile appeared on her face. "I hoped that one day I may be able to forgive him, but after what he did to you? I don't want to. Maybe this way, it will be much easier to get over him. Oh, and his fiancé left him, as I'm sure you expected she would. I feel terrible for her, but she's going to move back home, to wherever she's from. She'll be all right too."

Allison kept talking with Walsh for awhile longer, until he became tired and fell back asleep. After six weeks of being stuck in the hospital, Walsh was finally released and when Casey brought him into the bar where most of NYPD hung out, everyone shouted out surprise as they had thrown together a welcome back party for him.

Eddie walked over and handed him a beer and after he thanked him, Walsh turned to Casey and said quietly, "You do realize I hate surprise parties, right?"

She laughed and after taking a sip of her own beer she responded, "Yes, but frankly, I don't really care. You almost died and it was partially because you were a fool to risk your life trying to save everyone else's. This is what you get."

"All right," Walsh answered as he laughed along with her and Alvarez. "You know, I wasn't really sure if I was imagining this or not, but I vaguely remember you whispering something in my ear as the paramedics were working to revive me. Remind me again what you said?"

"I begged you not to die," Casey replied solemnly. "I told you that I needed you and I meant it. You are the best partner I've had because you understand me. You don't know how rare that is for me to find."

Walsh smiled as he responded, "I think I have a pretty good idea."

The End