"This is Michele Silverman for Channel 7 news, coming to you from the scene of a violent shootout between a local drug cartel and a team of FBI agents earlier today. The agents were hoping to take down the cartel, but it seems the gang had blindsided the Bureau. A single agent was gunned down, a young woman by the name of Kate Moretti. The details of Agent Moretti's condition are still unclear, but we will report once again when we have a full story. This is been Michele Silverman for Channel 7 news; back to you Andrew."
There are certain risks one is forced to take if they should choose to enter the field of law enforcement. Most officials are well aware that their lives are put on the line each time they strap on the badge, that each time they cock their gun could very well be the last. Yes, these civil servants understand these risks. But that doesn't mean their loved ones do.
Agent Kate Moretti was no different. She knew there were no guarantees, no promises, no safety nets. She knew she could leave one morning and never return, she knew death lurked around every corner. She had long since accepted these facts, and so had her father.
But Daniel? Daniel didn't have a clue.
He had been sitting on his couch, completing crossword puzzles and absentmindedly listening to the morning news. Then, he heard it. Heard those fateful words. "A single agent was gunned down... Kate Moretti... details... unclear." Daniel's heart began to pound, his thoughts began to swirl. It couldn't be... could it?
Oh, no. There, on the screen, was a clip showing two medics lifting a stretcher into the back of an ambulance. Just before the doors closed, Daniel glimpsed a curtain of dark brown hair splayed over the back of the gurney. Oh, no. Please, no.
He could not imagine a world without Kate. How could he? Kate was a constant in his life, constantly there with laughter and a smile; he could find himself in the reflection of her trusting, admiring eyes. What if those eyes were to become cold and dead?
He found himself full of rage, a burning fury at the pathetic gang members, fury at the news outlet for reporting half a story, missing facts, a tidbit of the whole truth that could have possibly saved his sanity.
He felt himself slipping, sliding down the couch and sliding out of this world. The lines blurred, he lost himself completely.
Abruptly, he was staring at Kate as she appeared in his living room.
Daniel was too far gone to make sense of it all, too far gone to bring himself back. He jumped up and reached for her. "Kate! I knew it, I knew you weren't-" he stopped short and fell back when he truly allowed himself to take her in.
The Kate that stood before him was pale, bloodless. Her skin was graying, she wore tattered clothes that were full of gore, she was broken. And, perhaps most horrifyingly, there was a gaping cavity in the middle of her forehead. Left by the bullet that took her out of Daniel's life.
Kate didn't say a word, didn't move a muscle. Frozen in her last moments, eyes wide as she watched the round draw near, felt it burrow into her brain. Her hair and clothing shifted in a nonexistent breeze, adding to the eery tone of death.
Daniel sunk to his knees, head in hands at Kate's feet. Shaking, hysterical, inconsolable. He did not know how he would survive. Kate was a part of him. How can you lose yourself and still go on?
"Doc! Doc, come on, get up! You can do this, look at me!"
Seconds, minutes, hours later, Daniel heard a faint voice seeping into his barren mind. He shifted out of his dream like state, bewildered. "Kate?" he murmured. "Kate? Where...?"
"Doc, it's me. It's Max. I saw the news, too. But it's okay. Look." Lewicki was pulling Daniel off of the floor, gently settling him into the couch, discretely disposing of the shattered glass that was the result of a damaged man's damaged state. "Take a look, Doc."
"- we can now say for sure that the agent injured in today's gunfight can be expected to make a full recovery. Ms. Moretti received a shot to the arm, but will be back to work in less than two months. She has asked us to emphasize her safety, and ensure the public that they won't be rid of her so easily. This brave woman is an example to us all. This has been Channel 7 news. Remember: you heard it here first."
Daniel stared at the screen in shock, almost unwilling to let himself believe it. He looked up at Lewicki with a look of desperate hope.
Max smiled down at him. "It's real, Doc. I promise." He helped Daniel to his feet. "Now, based on Kate's message to the 'public,' she's been waiting for you. I think a ride to the hospital is in order, don't you?"