Disclaimer: I don't own Common Law.

Warnings: mild angst/whumping

A/N: Thank you for the reviews! Here's C7 and be sure to hold onto your hats. ;p Not beta'd, any and all mistakes are mine alone.

Chapter 7

Wesley Mitchell rounded a corner when his cell phone started ringing. Removing it from his cup holder, he saw that Travis was calling him again as he put the car in park once he had reached his destination. Letting it go to voice mail, Wes got out of the car and began up the steps to the older, but really house that sat on the outside of LA.

He was here to meet with Justin Tuckers sister. Knocking on the wooden door, the detective waited a minute before hearing the clicking of a lock being turned. A young woman answered the door with a sad smile.

"Yes, can I help you?" she asked.

"Lisa Tucker?" Wes questioned.

"No, I'm afraid she is out of town. I'm her cousin, Kayla Townes. Is there something I can help you with, Mister-"

Wes removed his badge and said, "Detective Mitchell. I just have a few questions." Upon seeing the badge, Kayla stepped aside to let the man into her home.

"Would you like something to drink, Detective?" Kayla asked as she closing the door.

"No, thank you. I won't take up much of your time." Wes said. Talking out his notepad and pen which he clicked three times, he asked, "What can you tell me about your cousin, Justin?"

Kayla huffed and said, "You mean other than the fact that everyone thinks he died a killer?" Wes didn't make a move to say anything, so the woman continued. "There really isn't much to say about him. He and Lisa were really close, especially after their parents died."

"And when was that?"

"More than a few years ago."

"Has anyone is your family ever enlisted in the military?" Wes asked looking up from his notes.

"No. My great grandfather was going to once, but then he met my great grandmother and decided not to go through with it." she paused before going on. "Now that I think about it, Justin tried to enlist. Five different times, actually. Twice in the state of California and three times somewhere along the Western coast. He never talked about it, I only found about it from the shredded papers in the trash."

"Any idea why he was rejected?"

"From what I could literally piece together, I think he had some sort of mental disorder. I tried to talk to him about it, but he would shut me out every time." Kayla sighed and sat down in a nearby chair. "I even mentioned it to Lisa. I thought she could get him a doctors appointment."

Wes wrote down Kayla's quotes and asked, "And did she?"

"Yes. She set up many appointments, but Justin never went. He changed a little bit after this, I mean, he was still the same Justin but he would stay out late and we never knew where." Kayla said. "Then one night I got a call from a blocked number who said I should come by and get him. They gave me an address, and at first I thought it was a joke. I went anyway and found Justin drunk as a sailor in front of some kind of Military shooting club."

"Do you remember the name of the club?"

"No. But even if I did, I don't think it'd help any. It burned down around eight months ago."

"Okay, what can you tell me about that night you went to get Justin? Was there anyone hanging around the building, any one you can ID?"

"Um, no. There wasn't anybody else outside. But I do remember seeing a dark truck, I think it was a Ford something. One of their bigger models. It was the only one there at that time."

Wes jotted down a few more notes before closing his pad and placing it back in his jacket pocket along with his pen. "I believe I have every thing I need, Miss. Townes. If you think of anything else, please feel free to call me." Wes handed her his card. "Thank you for your time."

Walking down the stairs and back to his car, Wes pulled out his cell phone and earpiece before calling his partner who answered on the first ring.

"Travis, I'm just now leaving Justin's sister's houses. I spoke with his cousin and I think I got a new handle on this case."

"That's great man, but I think we have a problem." came Travis' reply.

"Why? What's wrong?"

"Detective Shaw came by and dropped off what I needed and before he left, he played the 'you-don't-know-what-you-are-getting-into' card."

"What's that suppose to mean?"

"It means that-" he paused before speaking again. "Actually, I'm not sure what it means yet, but something about him is off. What do you know about him?"

"Not much. I know he came to the RHD some time long ago, but no one knows where he was before that because his records are sealed." Wes said. "If you are going to accuse a detective of something, you need proof, Travis."

"I'm not accusing anyone of any thing. I just don't like the guy." Travis stated. "One more thing, I got an e-mail from The Collector." Travis then went on to tell his partner about the short message.

"You need to be careful, Travis. This guy has been in contact with you twice already, don't throw out the idea of him already knowing where you live. And that you have Cameron." Wes warned. "How is she anyway?"

"She's sleeping right now but won't eat anything and still hasn't said a single word." Travis answered. "How'd things go on your end?"

"I spoke with Justin's cousin, Kayla. Said that he tried to enlist five different times, but was always turned down due to having a mental disorder." Wes said. "He hung around a Military shooting club a lot, too and she remembers seeing a dark Ford truck one night after picking him up."

"That might explain the knots, maybe he learned some tricks from someone, but the truck doesn't mean anything. Do you know the model anyway?"

"I don't think that's likely. Something here doesn't add up," Wes thought for a moment before saying, "She said it had to have been one of their bigger models, most likely a F250 or F350."

"If The Collector killed his victims in his hideout before dumping their bodies where they were found by the LAPD, he would need a way to do it without drawing any attention to himself." Travis said. "I read in a file that his first seven victims were found in abandoned buildings, sans Brittany Douglass who was buried in the backyard. People drive trucks all the time, especially lately, it would be easy for him. I'm just not sure."

"Yeah, I know that's just a theory right now. We don't have anything solid to go off of." Wes said as he slowed his car down and stopped in front of a stop light. Looking in his rear view mirror, he spoke into his mic and continued on with his conversation. After a few minutes of going over what each other had with his partner, Wes noticed a navy vehicle with tinted windows that were so dark it practically screamed illegal following him. But after a few blocks, it was gone.

"Keep digging, maybe we're just overlooking something." Wes said. He glanced into his mirror again, but there was nothing there. This case was really getting in his head.

"Okay. Kate and Amy are suppose to stop by with some necessities for Cameron. Let me know if you find anything." Travis said good bye and hung up on the other line.

Wes removed his ear piece and readjusted his hands on the steering wheel as he came up on a hill to cross a bridge. Suddenly a truck appeared in front of him with windows so tinted, Wes couldn't see the driver. He didn't have time to react as the other driver swerved into his lane and clipped the front of the detectives car on the left side.

Wes lost control of his vehicle as it slammed into the railing, causing the rods of railing to fall into the water below. Airbags failing to deploy. Sparks flew only for a moment as the sound of metal on metal filled the air before slowing down. Dazed and slumped against the side of his door, blood running down the side of his face, Detective Mitchell tried to gather his wits. The echo of an engine revving caused the man to look out of his broken window just in time to see the blurry image of the truck speeding towards him again.

Leaning over to the other side of the car, Wes quickly pulled the passengers seat belt around his chest and braced for the impact. The trucks loud engine roared as it rammed into the side of the black car, pushing it over the edge of the bridge with the detective still inside.

Wes felt a sense of weightlessness as he plummeted off of the bridge and towards the water below. It is said that when you are about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. Wes didn't believe that for a second because nothing flew across his vision except the image of water.

The impact was nothing Wesley Mitchell could have ever expected. It was nothing he could prepare for, but he did his best. The force of the water broke the already cracked windshield and it rushed into his body like a raging bull. He wasn't expecting the cold shock of the water and it took his breath away.

Wes knew as he tried to clear his mind that the car was already submerged and slowly sinking to the bottom, but he forced himself to stay calm. He untangled his body from the seat belts just has his lungs began to burn from lack of oxygen that he wasn't able to get any of. He attempted to swim out of a broken window, but something was preventing him from getting out.

He discovered that his leg was pinned in between the drivers seat and the steering wheel just as he felt the car come to rest on the bottom of the river. His chest grew tighter with each passing second while he fought to release his trapped limb. The edges of his eyesight began to blacken when he got his leg free and Wes wasted no time in swimming out of the watery death trap and towards the surface, still being careful to not swim too fast.

Breaking through the waters massive hold on him, Wes gasped as he welcomed the bliss of air his body so desperately desired. He dipped under the water for only a second as he swam towards the rivers bank. Once there, the detective pulled himself out of the water until his arms and legs refused to go any further. He sucked in deep breaths of oxygen once he stopped on the bank and his chest rose and fell in rhythm with the waves that lapped at his feet before exhaustion overcame him and his body went still.


Travis closed yet another file and sighed. It had been hours since he'd last spoken with Wes and he could only wonder what his partner was up to.

Kate and Amy stopped by half an hour earlier to give Travis what he asked for and for that he was thankful. Cameron lay peacefully on the couch asleep dressed in a pair of long pants that fit her thin frame, though she still wore one of Travis' shirts because the female detectives couldn't find any that would fit their victim.

Detective Marks was thankful to have thoughtful neighbors as well. He hadn't had time to get any food, but an older lady down the hall from him made a couple of sandwiches. She always said it was the least she could do after he stopped a young thief from making off with a DVD player. Even though that was months ago.

He attempted to get Cameron to eat and for a minute he thought he had succeeded. But the woman only ate a quarter of the meal before vomiting it back up. She fell asleep not long after that, and only drank half a glass of water.

Now that Travis had time to look, he saw how sickly the woman appeared to be. She was wrapped in the covers that Travis laid out and she shivered beneath them. If he had to guess, the detective would say that his guest was running a fever. But he wasn't going to check because he didn't want to scare her anymore than she already was. Hopefully it was only something she could sleep off.

Getting up from his seat at the table, Travis made his way to the kitchen for a glass of water while yawning at the thought of sleep. After getting a drink, Travis went to check the front door and windows throughout him home. Once he was done, the detective walked back to the living room and sat down opposite of the couch that Cameron was on. He yawned again and wiped his eyes before his head fell forward and his chin touched his chest.

Jerking his head up, Travis noticed that it was dark out. There weren't any lights brightening the apartment because he hadn't turned any on and the only sound he heard but the steady breathing of Cameron who was still fast asleep on the couch.

He must've dozed off for a few hours.

He stood up and made his way to back of his home, his boots that he'd yet to take off making a soft padding sound on the carpet. He was halfway down his hallway when he sensed something behind him. Travis didn't have time to react as something rammed into the side of his body which sent him into the wall to his left.

Pain shot through his arm, but the detective ignored it and pushed his assailant into the wall opposite of his position. Jumping up and landing on the balls of his feet, Travis readied himself for another attack. The person was dressed in black from head to toe, and they had a hood pulled down low to cover their face. How they could see to even fight was beyond Travis.

The person in black charged towards the detective and the two went flying through the air, out of the hallway and into the living room with a crash onto a coffee table. A hand shot out and gripped tightly onto Travis' neck and the gasping detective instantly went to fight the hold on him, but the unmistakable sound of a gun cocking stopped him in his tracks.

"Do as your told and the girl won't get hurt," the person said. Their manly voice was low and it was close to sounding like a growl, but as Travis reluctantly began to ease his grip on his captors arm, the hand around his neck loosened slightly. It was then that Travis noticed that Cameron was no longer on the couch, but was tied up and in the arms of another person clad in all black who had a tight hold around her waist. Even though it was dark in the apartment, the glimmer of a knife blade shone in the moonlight the peaked through the window as it was pressed against Cameron's neck.

Detective Marks was roughly forced onto his stomach and his hands were pulled behind his back and zip tied together. He was then hauled to his feet, splintered wood and shattered glass crunching beneath his weight as his attacker ushered him along by pressing the gun into the small of his back. He stumbled - maybe a bit more than he needed - and bumped into the table by the front door, knocking off an object in the process.

The action didn't go unnoticed by the person behind him or the person who held Cameron because as soon as the unknown item fell to the floor with a soft thud, a whimper escaped from Cameron's lips as the knife was pressed harder against her skin causing a trickle of blood to run down her neck.

"Try that again, and my friend over there will slit the girls throat right here. Right now." the person behind Travis said leaving no room for bluffing and not even a hint of doubt.

Cameron's captor opened the front door to the apartment from its cracked state and walked with the woman out in front, while Travis and his attacker brought up the rear. The group of four descended down the back flight of stairs into an alley that was lit up by a single street light.

A navy truck was sitting under the light, the front of it facing them as the came out of the building. Travis noticed that the fender of the truck was damaged – its lights broken and the area around it dented as if it hit something hard.

A hand grabbed his arm and spun him around so that Travis was facing his assailant. Hood still resting low over their face they said when they noticed this, "Got into a lil accident with your partner." Travis felt anger rise up inside him. Was that way he'd never heard back from Wes? Did his partner get to close to something that these guys didn't want known?

By now there were behind the truck and the bed with its cover were facing them. Cameron was visibility shaking in her captors arms and her eyes were filled with fear. Not from fear of her current situation, it was something else but Travis couldn't put a finger on what it could've been. The voice behind him whispered in his ear and said, "I hear that drowning is the worse way to die. You try to take a breath, but there's no air and the water fills your lungs before you know what happened."

Travis had had enough. With his hands tied, he lowered his shoulder into the closest person to him which caused the man to stumble back a couple steps. Cameron screamed but it was cut short. Travis looked over his shoulder to see her slumped figure being loaded into the covered bed of the truck. The other person stepped back and Travis saw a empty needle still in their hand.

These few seconds was all that was needed because the man Travis just attacked was up again and coming towards him. While his focus was on the person with the needle, the man came up behind the detective and brought his gun down on the back on his head. A white hot pain shot through his skull and Travis crumbled to the ground without a single thought.

A/N: Wow, that's like two cliffhangers in one! * hides behind brick wall * Don't kill me! This story isn't over yet! Leave a review and let me know what you thought! XX

And my schedule at work has changed, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to update once a week like I've been doing. Not to mention school is swarming me -yeah senior year!- I just don't have the time. (since over 70% of this story was pre-written by the time I published it, I was able to post once a week.) Ahhh, and I've yet to finish Chapter 8. *sob* I'll try to get it up when I'm done. Okay, enough ranting. Review loves! XX