A/N: You're sooo gonna hate me. The last ep of "The Unusuals" and Walsh's support during Casey's first EID case made me love our lovely Jason so much I just had to write some Walsh!whump. This fic is more about people around Walsh than Walsh himself, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.
English is not my native language, so point out all mistakes you can find, I'll really appreciate it unless it's stickling.
Disclaimer: I own no rights over the characters you can recognize in this work.
"Where's Walsh?", Casey asked Beaumont after arriving to work slightly late that morning. Allison only shrugged.
Casey looked around. She knew Walsh had something to do, but she's had no signal from him for the last three hours.
"Listen up, guys," Sgt. Brown called from the door to the main room. He looked troubled. "Got some bad news for you." He paused, waiting for everybody's attention. "Two hours ago Jason Walsh was shot and thrown into a river."
Pause, filled with shocked gasps. Casey felt she had to sit. Allison paled.
"He almost drowned, lost a lot of blood, but was revived and is in surgery right now," Brown continued. "We don't know who Walsh was after..."
"You said he was revived," Casey interrupted. "You mean he almost died?"
"Yes, Schraeger, but he's alive and in good hands. Now we have to catch the one who did this to him, okay? I will supervise the investigation, but everyone without a case is welcome to help, especially Alvarez."
Sarge's choice could not be better. He left the opening for all of them to be involved and was able to make sure everything stayed on right track. Walsh was very popular and keeping any of them away from this case was impossible – a lot harder than after Kowalski's been killed or with Beaumont shot during Lutz case. Sarge also knew about Allison's involvement with Walsh, Casey was his partner, Banks and Cole had to handle their cases and Alvarez was the best detective they had right now (second after Walsh), painfully professional prick everyone was avoiding despite his progress towards being more of a member of their team, so his choice was the best possible.
Alvarez stood up and went to the Sergeant to get necessary information. Casey didn't know what to do. She was lost.
"We should go and see him," whispered Allison. "No-one is going to want anything from you."
"And you?", Casey asked, looking into her dark eyes.
"Cole will cover for me," she replied with warm smile. "Come on. Later we can help catching the perp."
Walsh was still in surgery when they reached the hospital. Casey after a minute of thinking passed her phone number asking the call her when there were any news and then contacted Alvarez. She was not a type for sitting and waiting. She would do anything for her partner.
Beaumont went with her.
"I remember...", started Casey, driving a car to a meeting with Alvarez. "... when Kowalski was killed, the first thing Walsh did was empty Kowalski's locker of everything that his wife wouldn't like. Then he went to meet with her, later with his mistress to make sure she wouldn't show up at his funeral."
"He can be very protective," admitted Allison.
"You think Walsh has similar secrets? That one day I'd have to empty his locker?", asked Casey.
"He's alive," Allison protested. "And he'll stay alive. He's a fighter."
"He's a great guy," Casey admitted. "I consider myself lucky he's my partner."
"Even if his coffee is awful," Allison added. Casey laughed.
"His cooking in general is awful."
"I don't want to empty his locker," Casey whispered. She felt Beaumon't hand on her shoulder. "Call Alvarez," she suddenly ordered, taking a U-turn. "Screw this, he can handle it."
Allison took her phone out and dialed a number.
Back at the hospital they were told Walsh was still in surgery. The women decided to wait.
Shortly after that they also learned that Walsh had Casey listed in his file as his medical proxy. She couldn't be more shocked, but Allison wasn't surprised.
"You're his partner. He always does that. Burt was his proxy before he was killed, now it's your turn."
That made Casey think about Walsh's family, which he apparently didn't have or wasn't in contact with.
A nurse came out another two hours later, informing them that Walsh was transferred to recovery and they cannot visit him yet. That they almost lost him on the table. He was shot in the right lung and the fact he was dumped into ice-cold river and basically drowned didn't actually help much with his chances of survival. He couldn't breathe on his own, was comatose and in hypothermia. The next two days would be critical.
The nurse agreed to them looking at him through a window to his room.
Covered with heating blanket from waist down and bandages on his chest, with breathing tube sticking out of his mouth, hooked up to IVs and monitoring, he looked small, smaller than usual. His skin was grey, he had bags under his eyes and he slept with a frown on his face. He was so far from smiling, always doing something detective, that Casey wanted to cry. She touched the glass and made a silent promise to do everything she could to find people responsible for this.
"The guy that fished him out of the water is also here," Allison whispered to her after a minute or two. "He was hypothermic and kept for observation, but he's released now. We should talk to him. You going?"
Casey nodded, unglued herself from the glass and went after Beaumont.
The police got the call about unconscious man thrown into a river from security officers working in company near 52nd Street in Brooklyn. The man that found him in the water was just passing by.
"He was conscious when I noticed him, heard his call for help," the middle-aged man explained. "He was actively swimming, near the shore, I just had to help him get out. He passed out as soon as he was on solid ground, coughing blood..."
The man shivered, not from cold, but memories.
"He was wet, I couldn't see how exactly bad it was. I just called out for someone passing by and made them call the ambulance. I noticed he stopped breathing so I started CPR. I got a little cold, but nothing serious."
"You saved him," said Allison. "Do you know the river well?"
"Yes. There is basically no current, so he landed in the water somewhere nearby. Besides, I heard the sirens, so someone must have seen the whole event and called the cops."
"Thank you," Casey said. They left the man alone. "Security said he had been unconscious when he had been thrown," she said to Allison.
"He wasn't or he woke up when he hit the water, apparently," Beaumont guessed. "How cold must someone be to try to drown a man who had little chance of survival in the first place, being shot?"
"They must have heard the security approaching and wanted to make sure he died. I think we should go there and talk to those officers," Casey replied. "I'll call Sarge and tell him where we're going. Maybe he sent someone else there or went himself, we shouldn't double ourselves."
"Good idea. He won't be happy that we're on this..."
"Actually, this case should be handled by another precinct or even Internal Affairs, we all are too involved," Casey observed. "But he left it to us. We should use this opportunity as much as we can."
Brown told them to talk to security officers and that he already had a warrant for the tapes from security cameras – Alvarez was sent to collect them. Brown refused to promise they would wait for them before watching the tapes, but the women had no time to get angry and argue.
The embankment before old factory was marked as a crime scene and still processed. Casey and Allison didn't want to disrupt the work of criminal lab, so they watched from a distance. Someone took a sample from quite large pool of blood on the concrete. After introducing themselves the women were told the lab cannot find the casing of the bullet that struck Walsh: the bullet itself went through and through and laid nearby.
"He got hit in the lung," Casey observed. "If it went through, the force must have been bigger than from usual handgun."
"Sniper rifle?", suggested Beaumont, visibly shaken over the concept. That would mean Walsh went into set up trap and was shot from large distance.
"Or shot almost point-blank, but it's unlikely since we can't find the casing and your friend is alive. If it's a rifle, it wasn't shot by a sniper," said one of the lab officers. Seeing their raised eyebrows, he added: "Your friend wasn't killed on the spot, ergo: poor shooter."
"Why use a sniper rifle then if you cannot really shoot?", asked Casey.
"Emotions. Some sort of quickly planned revenge?", suggested some female officer from the lab, with nametag saying 'Ashley Talley'. "He's a cop, no matter how good and friendly, he has to have enemies. Besides, these are just speculations. We will send you the results as soon as we get them."
"Thanks," said Casey. She then started to lead Beaumont towards the factory, but Ashley stopped them.
"I know Walsh, you know," she said. "He's a sweet guy and a great detective. I promise to treat this case as a priority and give you something as soon as I can."
"Thank you, we appreciate that," replied Casey. They shook hands and went on their way.
Security men that spotted Walsh in trouble still were on their shift. They were visibly tired of the noise around, but understanding and agreed to describe the whole event and even show them their copy of the recording from CCTV cameras outside – tapes were at the company's HQ.
"When this guy showed up and stopped just before cameras we didn't really suspect there's something fishy about to happen," said Bob Salinas, one of the officers, rewinding the tape. The recording had surprisingly good quality, the women recognized Walsh without doubt. They even noticed that he had had his gun and a badge. It was visible he had chosen this spot so everything would be recorded on tape. He'd stood on his spot for five minutes, then started to talk to someone off-screen. The camera hadn't moved, neither did Walsh. He had been arguing with someone for a few minutes, then had frozen. The women saw him saying one word, like a name, then reaching for his gun, then he was thrown back and landed on concrete. They saw that he had tried to roll on his side, coughing blood.
"I ran out at this point, left my colleague dialing 911," said Salinas. "I had some distance to run, so when I got there, I saw only a pool of blood."
Someone else appeared on screen, ran to Walsh and checked on him. Then turned towards direction he came from and shouted something to someone. After two seconds he glanced, visibly panicked, towards the building (straight into camera, making Casey very happy), quickly took Walsh's gun, picked up no longer moving detective and threw him into freezing water. Then he ran away. Soon after that Salinas appeared on screen, talking into his walkie-talkie.
"It's not the guy that shot Walsh," observed Beaumont. "We thought it was either point-blank or from a rifle, so we can rule out the former. If it wasn't a rifle, then short distance."
"We have to find this guy anyway. Maybe he knows the shooter," replied Casey.
"Soon after that I heard ambulance coming, but not to my spot, but slightly down the river. Police came, it turned out the guy was found and taken to a hospital. We answered some questions and went back to work." Salinas shrugged. "Now you know everything we do."
"Thank you. If you have anything more to add, just call me," Casey handed him her card.
"I'm sure you know how to do your job," Salinas started hesitantly. "But while watching the tapes I wouldn't concentrate only on the main event, but some time before and after. It looks like a set-up. Maybe someone will show up. But as I said," he shrugged again. "You know what to do."
"Let me guess: you're an early retired detective?", Beaumont asked with polite smile.
"Yeah, PI whose career sunk," Salinas admitted. "I wish I could help more. Perps that got the guts to try to kill NYPD cop really should be..." He made a gesture of breaking a neck.
"Thanks for everything. There was nothing more you could do," said Casey, shook his hand and left.
Back at the precinct they learned that Alvarez and Sgt. Brown were already watching the tapes in Brown's office. Some technician from the lab was called in to extract as much information as possible. Beaumont went to their boss' office to point out what they were likely to find and to speed up the extraction of the image of the man that had thrown Walsh into the river. Casey sat at her desk with intention of making some notes on what they've learned so far, but was distracted by painfully empty desk opposite hers.
She has been working with Walsh for over a year and had to admit she admired her partner. Helpful, warm, friendly, funny and professional, he was a great friend and cop. He was an expert in reading emotions, showing next to nothing himself. Well, maybe that wasn't fair said. There were just not too many things that could shake him.
He cared. That she knew. Cared about people he was working with while staying professionally detached from victims, not letting his emotions dim the image of the crime he was solving.
Sometimes lazy, trying to make his life as simple as possible, he still managed to maintain the title of precinct's best and everyone admitted that without shame, even Alvarez, who finally gave up in very unprofessional and already lost prank war with Walsh.
He lived mostly on coffee, sandwiches with pickles and disgusting takeout, with self-made pancakes thrown here and there. She hasn't caught him, ever, on doing any kind of workout and he still was slim, well-built and could run very, very fast. Possibly thanks to his old baseball career.
And, she had to admit, looking at him wasn't painful. He surely was no Brad Pitt or whoever was currently The Prettiest Man In The World, but somehow kept in shape and even simple suits he had to wear to work couldn't really hide his features. She didn't have much time to appreciate his arms and chest when she had first met him wearing a t-shirt, but she still did notice he was yummy. His face, square with straight nose and small ears (with yet to be confirmed old earring marks), topped with short, brown hair, was boyish, nice and handsome. Big, blue-green, expressive eyes often were the only window to his feelings. His soft voice often helped her calm down. His smile, when it was real, warm, not smirk he often wore, made her melt.
Surely, if she didn't find out he was sleeping with Beaumont, she would happily not stop herself from falling in love with him.
And she did love him. She loved him as a friend and older brother she never had. She respected him and right now couldn't imagine herself working here without him and his humor, patience, knowledge and instinct.
"Damn it, Walsh...", she murmured, feeling her eyes becoming wet. "Why did you walk straight into a trap?"
"You know...", Banks' voice above her made her jump. "Sorry," he smiled apologetically. He sat at the edge of her desk, looking at Walsh's empty seat. Leo, now happily a 43 year-old, was still fighting with his year-long obsession over his health and life, but at least was no longer wearing a bulletproof vest 24/7. He just washed his hands more often than necessary and avoided sharp objects. Other than that, he resembled some kind of normalcy. Some kind, because, well, no-one at the 2nd Precinct could be declared 100% normal. "Remember December 6th? I took a day off," he said.
"Yes," she replied. It was seven weeks ago. "Walsh wasn't at work either, claiming he was busy but didn't want me to know where he went or what he was doing."
"He was in my flat," Leo revealed. "He came in the evening before and refused to leave until midnight, the 7th."
"It was a day before my 43th birthday. I've survived the whole year. Walsh came in and made sure I wasn't killed on the last day of being 42."
"Just like that?", she asked, smiling. That was exactly Walsh's style, one of the reasons she admired him so much.
"Yeah. I didn't ask him before to do it and at first I wanted to kill him for intruding, but after some time I started to feel really grateful for his presence. Nothing special happened for the whole day, he talked with me, collected and tested takeout since I refused to let him cook and he didn't argue, cleaned up, and when midnight came, he hugged me and gave me a present. That's not something even Eric..." Leo stopped and swallowed through clenched throat. "... would do for me, I mean spending the day with me. It was obvious he hadn't slept before coming to my place and refused to sleep for another over 24 hours, just to keep an eye on me."
She felt a tear on her cheek, unable to hold it back.
"Casey, he's not dead," Leo whispered. "He's alive and fighting to remain that way. I just wanted you to know you're not the only person who cares about him. You can always come to me to talk."
"Thank you," she replied.
"You know what Walsh would do in your place?", Leo asked with a smile.
"Definitely not sit and think," she admitted, smiling, too. "But we're waiting for the results from the lab and Sarge is still watching the security tapes with the shooting. Walsh didn't tell me anything about having trouble and I have nothing to go on."
"Okay, understood. Just let me know if you need me."
"Thank you, Leo," she repeated sincerely. He patted her shoulder and returned to his desk.
The desk opposite his was also empty. She knew Leo was possibly the only person here who fully understood her feelings over (almost) losing her partner (besides maybe Walsh himself, since she replaced his murdered partner, but obviously he didn't count at the moment). Eric Delahoy died three months ago after unsuccessful attempt at treatment of his brain tumor. Banks has been working alone ever since, but no-one knew exactly why. It wouldn't be hard to find Delahoy's replacement and Banks didn't seem to be against being partnered with someone else, so it was temporarily Precinct's secret.
"Casey, do you want something to process?", asked Beaumont, approaching her with flash drive in hand. At Schraeger's nod, Allison gave her the drive and explained: "We extracted a photo of a guy Walsh was clearly talking to. We're still looking for other people that might have been involved in the shooting. And from now on you and I, much to Alvarez's displeasure, are now officially leading this investigation under Sarge's supervision."
"Great! On both things," Casey replied, plugging in the drive. "I'll try to get some info on the guy once I've got the name and send it to you."
"I hope so," Allison said, turned around to go back to Brown's office.
"Beaumont, how much did you have to beg the Sarge to give us this case?", asked Casey, focused on her screen.
"It's better for you to not know," Allison muttered.
Danny Howell. That's the name Casey got from faces recognition program. She dug out his file.
Daniel Howell, 41, 6 feet, 200 pounds, in 2006 arrested on assault, sentenced to six months on probation, in his late 20s investigated because of some baseball matches scam.
And that last information made Casey dig deeper.
Howell worked around minors, made attempts at majors, but didn't last long. He was seen around some illegal casinos and in general made money on gambling.
Casey remembered well the moment Walsh decided to reveal something about himself, at the beginning of their partnership. Throwing games while playing for minors and his girlfriend being killed supposedly because he refused to keep working for people behind this business when he was called up higher. Walsh never told her whether the murderers were found, but she could have assumed they weren't.
Howell wasn't much older than Walsh. It was possible they knew each other. They definitely had to talk to Howell.
She sent the fax to Brown's office with the info she got and suggestion to get an arrest warrant on the suspect.
She found some online database on Yankees' history. She got back to mid 90s and started to look for familiar first-base player.
She found him easily. He was supposed to be Yankees' Golden Boy, in the middle of his first season he had a week of medical leave (no explanation on that, but she could only assume it was shortly after some guys trying to threaten him – as Walsh told her. He was probably beaten up, men like these are not subtle). He returned, made that season one of the best in Yankees' history. Some time later he had another week of leave, but this time there were rumors he planned on quitting his career. She read some press note and found a quote: "'I signed the contract for one full season and that's what I'm gonna play', Walsh insisted. 'I'm going to give everything I can to this game to not disappoint you, but nothing more. By the end of the season I will change my career.' Asked about reasons he refused to say more than 'It's personal.'. Asked what is he going to do if he resigns from his career, he admitted 'I have something in mind, but I'm not gonna share it with you.'"
On small photo above the note was serious, visibly tired, 22-year-old Jason Walsh.
His only season in Yankees and the last season he ever played professional baseball was exceptional. Press admitted that he made a proper goodbye to his career and that the fans would miss him, not really understanding why he quit.
Casey suspected that Walsh being shot today was a result of an attempt to finish 15 year-old business. Surely it didn't play out like he must have wanted, but Casey was sure this case was not over.
Howell was most likely to be at least partially responsible for Walsh's girlfriend's death fifteen years ago. And a few hours ago he tried to kill Walsh.
"I've never realized Yankees' golden boy from mid-90s and your partner are the same person," she heard familiar voice behind her. She turned towards the source.
"Hi, dad," she greeted, stood up and hugged her father. She then started to lead him towards the break room. "No-one can blame you. 'Jason Walsh' is surely not that rare name."
"I should have recognized him, but, sadly, I've never decided to remember your partner's looks," said Walter Schraeger. Casey ignored implied 'since your being a cop is temporary.' Her father continued: "I recall wondering what happened to him after he quit. He played only one great season, though towards the end he started to behave like he was forced. He still was impressive, but clearly wanted to be somewhere else."
"You remember him well," she observed. They sat at the table with some coffee. They were alone in the room.
"Well, I was involved with Yankees at that time, I remember trying to negotiate prolongation of his contract. Smart man, though clearly without proper education, he was self-confident, tough negotiator and surely learned fast. We thought he wanted to leave Yankees and move to some other team, but he assured us he decided to end his professional career. Never told us what he was going to do next, but since he seemed to have everything settled, we didn't worry about him. Like he promised, he disappeared as a sportsman. Now can I ask you a question?"
Casey snapped from her thoughts.
"Why is your partner, whom you've been working with for over a year and who is not present here at the moment, more important than a lunch with your father, which was arranged two weeks ago under mutual agreement?"
"Oh, God...", she groaned and hid her face in her hands. "I'm so sorry, dad, I've completely forgotten."
"You remembered yesterday. This morning, even, proved by your own text message to me."
"I know, but..." she hesitated. "Said partner was shot a few hours ago and is fighting for his life. So far it looks like pre-planned, attempted murder."
Schraeger was visibly shaken.
"I'm sorry, Casey. I know you care about him."
"He's a friend," she admitted. "I think the attempt had something to do with his baseball time, hence me reading his history."
"We knew he had 'friends' among suspicious people, but he swore he had quit working for them the moment he had been called to the majors. We had no reason to not believe him."
She nodded. It wasn't a news to her, that bit of his history he shared willingly.
"Well, then," Schraeger said, standing up. "I'll leave you to your investigation. I hope your partner will get better."
"Thank you, dad. And again, I'm sorry."
She kissed him on the cheeks as a goodbye and watched him leave. She must have admitted that her father was more understanding than mother. He at least tried to pretend he accepted her choice, to support her, while Estelle Schraeger still treated Casey like she was defiant little girl.
Time to get back to work.
Howell was brought in around 4 PM, he came with his lawyer. Casey wasn't present at his arrest, busy with the recording from factory, but Beaumont very smugly put an evidence bag on Schraeger's desk. She wordlessly pointed at serial number of a gun in the bag.
"Walsh's?", asked Casey.
"It was in his trunk," replied Allison with a nod. "We have to brush it for fingerprints, but no matter what we find, we have the video of him taking the gun. We so much got this man."
"Let me know when you go to interrogate him. I'll get more photo evidence ready."
Beaumont nodded and took the bag for processing. Casey started to print out more crucial snapshots from the recording.
There were no fingerprints on Walsh's gun, but that didn't prove anything.
Nicole Brandt assured them that the quality of the recording was good enough to be considered as proof in court even without processing, which was good, because any sign of tampering with the video would lower the chances of successful usage during trial.
When Casey and Allison stepped into interrogation room, aware of Brown's presence behind one-way mirror, they were prepared to win the battle. Nicole was also ready to step in when needed.
The women decided that Casey will talk the most, since Beaumont was close to strangling the man and would most likely lose her temper.
Schraeger sat opposite Howell, basically ignoring his lawyer, Frederick Gibson. Beaumont leaned on the wall behind Howell.
"Do you know why you're here?", Casey started politely.
"That's something my client would like to know," replied Gibson.
"You are here, because at around 9 AM today you tried to kill NYPD detective, Jason Walsh. That's not something socially acceptable."
"And you base your outrageous claims on what?", asked Gibson, acting shocked.
Casey opened the file she put before her and showed the men two photos, one displaying Howell looking straight into CCTV camera and second with him dumping Walsh into water.
"That's one thing we have on you," Casey said calmly. "The other was Walsh's gun in the trunk of your car. Surely, it was cleaned before we found it, but it's registered on detective Walsh and we have this." She showed them the third photo with Howell taking Walsh's gun. "I think it's better for you if you start talking, because that's enough to convict you for life."
"What do you want me to say?", asked Howell, slightly panicked.
"Who shot Walsh?"
"You don't think it was me?", Howell asked, visibly regaining some of his self-confidence.
"We believe there was someone else," Casey admitted. They didn't have to play any games, their case was solid. "Don't look so smug, we know you dumped wounded, unconscious detective into ice-cold water, which alone can be treated as murder attempt on a cop. You would be in a less of a trouble if you just left him there, but nooo, you had to make sure he died."
"It was Walsh who set up that meeting!", Howell started, but Beaumont emitted some sort of "bzzzt!" sound.
"We know it was you who started the contact with him, from Walsh's phone records," she said. "You better not lie, because the more you say things we don't like, the worse will be your existence."
Checking Jason's cell was one of the first things Casey did after reading his Yankees' history. She didn't feel guilty for violating his privacy, not this time. She still haven't touched his computer, though.
"He chose that spot," Howell corrected. His lawyer was silent, fully aware that there was nothing he could do for his client.
"Who else knew about it?", Casey asked. Walsh knew NY well, he must have known about cameras.
"Okay, different question," Casey said. "Why did you meet Walsh?"
"I'm not sure."
"Why did you contact him in the first place?"
"Couldn't resist," replied Howell, looking (or rather pretending to be) ashamed. "I noticed him one day, it wasn't hard to find his cell number. I don't know, he just makes me want to poke him."
Casey took a deep breath to calm herself.
"What were you talking about this morning?", she asked.
"We wanted to sort out some old businnesses."
"You mean you threatened him."
"He wasn't impressed," Howell admitted. "And he had nothing on me."
"So you basically talked about nothing, you just waited for Walsh to be shot."
"Detective Schraeger, you're taking it too far," Gibson finally protested. "You have nothing to back it up."
"That's how it looks to me," replied Casey with a shrug. "They were talking for five minutes, then someone showed up," Casey revealed another photo, on which Walsh looked shocked. "Then he was shot, then your client tried to finish him off. It doesn't matter why, we have a tape, not just photos, when he does that." Casey shrugged, then leaned forward on the table. "The question is, does your client want to take all the blame and be accused for assault to murder of police officer, or he prefers charge with complicity." Casey paused, looked Howell into his eyes. "Who was the shooter?", she asked.
"You're saying attempt," Gibson realized. "You mean the wounded officer is alive?"
"We're talking about police officer being a victim," said Beaumont through clenched teeth. "The fact that it was an attempt, not committed murder, doesn't change much your client's situation. Besides, the classification of his act can still change. Now will your client answer the question of my colleague?"
"What can I get in return?", he asked after a pause.
Casey again drew a deep breath. Alvarez chose this moment to peek in.
"Schraeger, can I ask you to come out for a moment?", he asked, waving a file.
Casey stood up and left, closing the door behind her.
"We got primary results on the bullet," started Eddie. "The lab found the casing, the bullet itself was basically damaged, but they're still examining it. I know you thought the shot was from sniper rifle, but the weapon used was most likely Walther P99, with .40 bullet."
"Damn," Casey cursed. That type of gun was very popular, even the altered version. Most of Walthers were on 9 mm bullets.
"Still something to go on," Eddie argued. "They are not sure how it went through, they're looking. Maybe something will turn up."
"Yeah, I know," Casey sighed. "It just makes me sick that I'll have to make a deal with this guy, so he maybe gives me a name."
"You know what Banks once told me?", asked Eddie, looking around. "That great cops are great liars."
"That's Walsh's specialty, not mine," she replied absently.
"That he told me, too."
Casey looked up at Eddie's face. Precinct's Annoying Prick was acting... not prick-ly, at all. Apparently even the victim of Walsh's endless pranks was shaken by the concept they could lose him.
"Okay, I bluff," she suddenly decided, taking internal note to show him gratitude for support later. "Thanks, Eddie," she added, opening the door to interrogation room.
"You're welcome," he called to her, making sure he was heard inside the room. Selling the lie.
Casey plastered a smile on her face, sat down on her seat and started to collect photos.
"The lab managed to get some results on the bullet that struck Walsh," she announced, looking smug. "That's step behind finding the gun and the person who shot it. You talk to me now or you can say goodbye to any kind of a deal you're hoping for."
Well, she wasn't even lying, technically. And she got the result she wanted.
Howell visibly panicked.
"I don't know the guy! He contacted me some time ago and told me to get in touch with Walsh, because, quote, that damned cop started to annoy him, unquote. He orchestrated the whole deal!"
"Does he have a name?", asked Beaumont.
"He told me to call him Hill," Howell confessed. "Walsh picked the place to meet today, I passed it to Hill. Walsh recognized him, called him 'Reuben', then Hill/Reuben shouted something like 'I'm done with you', took out a gun and shot him before Walsh had time to react. Hill/Reuben told me to leave Walsh alone where he laid, but I panicked. He ran. I ran. You found me." Howell shrugged at the end.
The room was silent for some time.
"You know why are you in trouble, Mister Howell?", Casey finally asked. "You really should have left Walsh where he laid. You wouldn't show up on cameras. Well, you did show, but half an hour before Walsh and you would be questioned as potential witness, not a suspect. Why would that Reuben man contact you?"
"I don't know. I get into trouble a lot and he must have known about my connection to Walsh."
"What kind of connection?", asked Allison.
"From old baseball times? When he worked for me?"
"Okay, I want you to write down everything you know and sign it," Casey said, putting A4 notebook and a pen before Howell. "I'll ask our friendly prosecutor in and maybe she'll be able to cut you some deal. But don't count on full release, that's never gonna happen."
She got up and left the room. Allison stayed to overlook the statement.
Casey passed Nicole in the doorway, receiving short and reassuring squeeze on her forearm.
"Schraeger!", she heard Brown's voice. "In my office."
She stood up from her desk and went where she was asked to. She knew what this conversation was going to be about.
"What do you know about that Howell figure connection to Walsh?", Sarge asked harshly.
"Walsh was into baseball before he went to Academy," she replied. She saw no reason to hide it, not when it didn't really matter. "He admitted that while in minors, he threw a few games for money. I can only assume he was doing it for Howell. He was called up to majors, played with Yankees, tried to cut off the contact with Howell, disagreed to work for him any longer."
That's it. She shrugged.
"But...", Brown inquired. "There has to be more."
"Well, Howell or his people wouldn't let him go so easily," she said after a second of hesitation. "Walsh told me he had been threatened. His girlfriend was attacked and killed in a 'mugging that went bad'. I don't know if the muggers were found. I think that's why Walsh resigned from baseball and went to Academy."
"Man on a mission," Brown murmured. "You've never told me that before."
"Because he told me this in confidence and it didn't matter at the moment. When I told you after Lutz case that we're good, I meant it. Walsh is clean."
"Have you heard about this Reuben before?", asked Brown.
"No, I was about to check Walsh's computer. He's never told me he investigated something outside the cases we were given."
"Fine, get on it," Brown replied with dismissing wave of his hand.
She left his office, relieved.
Reuben Munoz, a.k.a. Oscar Hill. Judging even only by his looks (which Casey tried not to do after some time working with Walsh, but she couldn't stop herself this time), not the nicest person in the world. Casey didn't find any direct connection between him and Walsh, maybe because Munoz was not into baseball. He was a relict of good old mafia times, someone Walsh stumbled upon by accident, apparently. Well, maybe not by accident. According to Walsh's notes, Munoz's specialty was extortion (never convicted) and he moved to Walsh's neighborhood about four weeks before Walsh got first text from Howell. Walsh spent two of those four weeks and time after conducting a quiet investigation – it wasn't obvious, why did he start. Either he'd heard about Munoz or his people from someone, or he had been direct 'victim' of an attempt of extortion and he's never admitted it to her.
But he must have realized that Munoz was dangerous, like Casey did now: she felt a chill down her spine.
She picked up her phone.
"Hello, this is detective Casey Schraeger from 2nd Precinct, NYPD," she started when the phone on the other side was picked. "I want to order a high-profile protection detail on hospital room of detective Jason Walsh, currently an ICU patient of Susan N. Ogu Memorial Medical Center. I want three shifts of two officers each, I'll send you a list of medical personnel and NYPD officers allowed near and in his room and I want to know the names of officers on those shifts. Suspected planned attempt on his life. I'm heading there now," she finished, put down the phone, took her jacket and ran out.
"Damn it, Walsh...", she murmured, starting her car. "If you hid this case from me to protect me, I'm going to strangle you the moment you're able to breathe on your own and awake."
She knew that would-be murder victims in ICU are generally protected by hospital's security, but with people like Munoz it might have not been enough.
It was almost 10 PM when she finally had everything set up. Hospital staff was not happy, but understanding. She gave the officers on protection detail the list of names of doctors and nurses of ICU who would take care of Walsh, completed with photos and short description. She also put names of Walsh's closest co-workers on the list of people allowed to see him. "And no-one else," she said emphatically.
She felt drained. It was pretty intense day and she wished it to be over. She basically could go home and rest, but couldn't unglue herself from the window to Walsh's room.
His state – critical – was stable, which could be good or bad. It meant he was no closer of further from dying. Doctor in charge, Randall Wade, pointed out that at the moment they were concerned about the risk of Walsh developing pneumonia.
"It's a miracle he's still alive," he admitted. "He has incredible will to live and that's what we all need the most. We have him monitored, he's on fluids and antibiotics and there's not much more we can do for him."
Casey felt her eyes watering. She managed to notice that Walsh's frown was gone, he looked like he was sleeping peacefully.
"We're prepared for the worst," doctor Wade added quietly. "But we don't think anything is going to happen anytime soon."
She nodded. Finally she bid her goodbye and left the hospital. She knew she had to be conscious if she wanted to take down Munoz... and deal with the FBI, which was inevitable.
She went to the hospital in the morning, skipping her breakfast. She patiently waited when officers on Walsh's security checked her ID and badge. She found another doctor on shift and was informed that they had planned CT scan for Walsh later this morning – they wanted to rule out brain damage as an (even now unlikely) explanation to his coma. She was also told that one of her co-workers visited earlier, but after some time asked for the directions to hospital's chapel and left. She still wasn't allowed in Walsh's room, so she decided she had nothing to do there and left for the precinct.
She finished reading Walsh's notes about Munoz and realized her partner had enough info on the guy to justifiably arrest him. The date on the latest note was a day before Walsh got shot. The note, written by Walsh on text editor, contained a lot of smileys. He knew he had the man, but didn't report him anywhere.
Didn't have time and didn't even plan doing anything more on his own, as a police officer. At the end of said note there was a name: Quentin Strickland, with added 'FBI' and phone number.
Casey hesitated. All she had to do was pick up the phone, call the man and give him everything Walsh found out – probably that was what her partner planned to do anyway. And it wasn't just about extortion, but also panderism, participation in organized crime and some other similar activities. This case was too big for NYPD detective to solve in his time off and Walsh knew that.
"Schraeger!", she heard before she could make a decision. She turned to see Sgt. Brown standing behind her. "Found anything?"
"I got a proof that Walsh is great detective, but sometimes really stupid man," she replied, got up and headed towards Brown's office. He went after her.
In the privacy of Sarge's room, she described the whole case to him, leaving nothing out. Brown listened intently.
"Munoz must have found out Walsh was after him and that he collected enough data to cause trouble," she added. "Walsh has everything on his computer, including recordings on his conversations with witnesses, written and signed statements. I have no idea how he got it, I'm sure FBI's working hard on this guy and they got nothing or not enough to arrest him."
"What are you going to do?", asked Brown, surprising her.
"I... was going to... call the agent, whose number Walsh had in his notes and pass everything to him," she replied hesitantly.
Brown was looking at her intently, thinking it over.
"And you had no idea what Walsh was doing," he said finally.
"No, but that's Walsh," she replied with a shrug. "An expert of keeping secrets. He has everything sorted out, just didn't manage to call the right person before being shot."
"What's that agent's name?"
"Call him and tell him to come over. With your protection detail on Walsh's room and apparent order to move him to private room after he's released from ICU, there's nothing more we can do for him."
"What private room, sir?", she asked.
"Not your idea? Got a copy," Brown replied and showed her a piece of paper, signed with very familiar name.
She sighed. She so much should talk to her dad, but was too confused to do it right away.
Walsh's diner was thrashed. Turned upside-down. Nothing laid in its old place.
That's what they heard from Allison, when she came to work a little late that morning.
Beaumont managed to find some cryptic notes handwritten by Walsh, and letters. Jason didn't have private computer in his flat, he used only the one at the station. Allison knew about secret box in his bedroom, secret enough so intruders didn't find it. Walsh had threat letters, addressed to him and sent during the last four weeks, hidden there.
Strickland, forty-something, tall blond with dark eyes and military-style haircut, turned out to be an ex-cop, so there was no argument over jurisdiction. He was generally friendly and professional, and shocked when he saw the amount of data Walsh collected over few weeks of private investigation. His eyes lit up like Christmas tree at the sight of Jason's notes and letters. He was even showed fragments of Howell's statement and given a copy.
He had no idea of Walsh's investigation, has never even heard about the man, though he recalled being told about some NYPD detective asking about agent in charge of Munoz investigation some time ago.
"Your man participated in a very dangerous game and paid the price," he said at one point while happily copying Walsh's notes to his laptop. "I would thank him in person, but I think soon I'll be pretty busy."
"Just finish this as soon as possible. Walsh is in a bad state and I'm afraid Munoz might want to try something."
"We keep a close eye on Reuben," Strickland assured them. "We'll get a warrant and we'll arrest him, don't worry. It should happen within the next two days. I'll let you know."
Case solved. Howell recognized Munoz on a photo. They had identified the shooter and a participant in murder attempt. Everything was written down, signed, sealed, ready to be taken into court.
Casey wished all of their cases were that easy. Well, Howell being an idiot made it all possible, but she wasn't going to complain.
The only thing she didn't like about this case was that someone very important to her was still fighting for his life in hospital's ICU.
1) I hope no older siblings (especially brothers) of Casey were mentioned in the show.
2) I know nothing about baseball.
3) I've read it at least three times before publishing, but it wasn't beta-ed.
4) It took me about a week to write most of it and I know it's not my finest work (the best fics I've ever wrote were created about 5 years ago, in Polish, in House MD fandom). This fic was planned as my debut on Archive of Our Own, but I got basically no feedback there, so I hope to get some reviews here. Not necessarily positive, just honest and productive. Please.