Unkindest Cut of All

Chapter 13

Detective Cole followed his partner, Beaumont, back into the main squad room, and shared with the remaining teammates the information from Lisa Jensen's rap sheet, given to her by Cole. Given that she had been in prison for a few different assault charges in her past and that she had been in both Walsh's diner and in the alley where he was attacked, she quickly became suspect number one. Even though the boyfriend had no record, at least not that they knew about thanks to Cole, they still suspected him because of his association with Lisa.

By two o'clock in the morning, the five remaining detectives, as well as Sergeant Brown, had gone through most of Walsh's previous cases, going all the way back to when he had first arrived at this precinct, which was before any of them, including when he was partnered up with Kowalski. A few of the perps Walsh had put away became suspects as well, but as it was the middle of the night, there was nothing more any of them could do and so their sergeant finally gave them the order to go home and get some sleep so that they could pick up where they left off again in the morning.

"But, Sir, we can't just go home and sleep like everything's okay because it isn't," Casey said angrily. "Walsh is out there, in God knows what condition and you expect us to just shrug it off until morning?"

"I don't like this anymore than you do, Shraeger, but unfortunately, there is nothing more we can do until tomorrow," Brown answered in frustration. "All we have left is to interview the suspects and we can't go breaking down all their doors at this time of night. Go home and come back rested because no doubt, Walsh, if he's still alive, will need you awake and alert by the time we find him."

Casey scoffed as everyone else left the room, except for Beaumont, who walked up to her and softly replied, "Jason's still alive. We'll find him. Unfortunately, that won't help me to sleep any better than you, but the sergeant's right that we need to try anyway. Good night."

The rookie of the team stared after Beaumont as she walked away, but before she left the room, Casey quickly called out to her as she asked, "Hey Beaumont, do you love him?"

"I'm not really sure what I feel for him," Allison responded as she quickly looked around to make sure no one else was around to listen, then turned back to look at Casey. "I think I could, but we haven't been together all that long and he hasn't been making it very easy to talk to lately, as he's refused to talk to me about what's been bothering him. I just don't know."

"And what about Cole?" Casey quickly asked before Beaumont could turn away from her again.

Allison looked confused as she asked, "What about Cole?"

Casey corrected her question as she asked again, "I mean, how do you feel about him? Do you really trust him?"

"I trust him completely," Beaumont answered without hesitation. "He's the best partner I've ever had. Why is that so important?"

"No reason," Casey quickly replied. "Never mind; forget I asked. Good night. I'll see you in the morning."

Beaumont looked at Shraeger in confusion for a minute, then turned around and walked out. Casey watched her leave and then turned back to look at Walsh's desk for a moment, almost expecting him to be sitting there, just as he always was at the end of the night. Walsh always seemed to be there for her when she needed him to be, whether it was to come up with some witty remark that would help her to forget about her worries long enough to clear her head and to get back to thinking straight again, or it was to be someone to just sit there and listen to her complaints or worries.

It was then that Casey quickly said to herself in regards to what Beaumont had said about Cole, "No, Walsh is the kind of cop you should put your complete trust in, even with all his secrets."

By two- thirty, Casey parked her car outside of Walsh's diner, instead of going home. She knew she should at least attempt to try to sleep, but she knew it wasn't going to happen anyway, so she came to the diner instead, hoping that by being there would spark some kind of memory or an idea that would give her something to work with.

As she started to unlock the doors, thanks to the keys Walsh had given her some time ago, for whatever reason he had done it for, she was suddenly startled as she heard her name being called out by the last person she expected to come down there after being at work as late as it was; Eddie Alvarez.

"Detective Shraeger!" he called out as he ran up to her.

"Alvarez, what on earth are you doing here?" Casey asked as he worked on catching his breath. "Were you following me?"

Once he was able to do so, Eddie responded, "No, no, I figured you'd come here instead of going home. I knew that you weren't going to give up and despite what the others think of me, Eddie Alvarez wants to help, other than just being stuck looking over the old cases. Jason and I have a rocky friendship at best, but nevertheless, it's the only friendship I've got, so here I am."

Casey smiled and patted him on the arm, then finished unlocking the door to the diner as she answered, "I'm sure Walsh would appreciate this, like I do. You can call me Casey and don't refer to yourself in the third person anymore. It's just weird."

"You've got it," Eddie replied as they walked inside. "I would have expected Beaumont to be here too, as she's in love with him. Isn't she?"

"I don't really know, but I think they've hit kind of a rough patch lately," Casey responded as she took her usual seat at the counter. "Don't go telling anyone I told you that. It's none of my business and it's certainly none of yours. I came here hoping that something will come to me that will give me an idea on what I can do to help him. I hate not knowing if he's all right."

Eddie looked around and then asked, "Have you tried any of his food? I've always wanted to come in some time, but I've just never gotten around to it."

Casey answered, "To be honest, it's terrible, but it actually hits the spot first thing in the morning. However, he does make a mean burger."

"I'll have to come and try it sometime once we find him," Alvarez replied as Casey stood and moved around to the other side of the counter in order to once again pull up the camera footage, which she had made a copy of back at the precinct, on his surveillance television. "What more do you think you'll learn from watching the footage of our suspects again?"

"I'm not really sure, but there has to be something on here," Shraeger responded as Alvarez joined her behind the counter. "It's not so much our suspects that I'm watching, as it's Walsh that I'm more interested in. I don't think the girl's as much of a suspect as our guy is."

Eddie watched Walsh closer on the film and then said, "I don't understand what you mean. He's not doing anything. Is there something you see that I don't?"

Casey kept watching as she answered, "It isn't what he's doing, but more of his body language and facial expressions I'm interested in, which are a little hard to make out on this tiny screen. He's paying much more attention to our guy than he is to the woman. Jason looks worried, or nervous. There's something suspicious about him."

"He looks familiar to me," Eddie replied. "But I don't have a clue as to where I've seen him before."

"Oh God, Alvarez, you're a genius!" Casey exclaimed as she quickly turned off the tape and headed out the door.

Eddie followed after her as he quickly asked, "What did I say? What did you just figure out?"

Casey ignored him as she shut off the light and then worked on locking up again, as the cold was making it difficult for her to work her fingers. As she was doing so and Eddie had his eyes trained on her while trying to figure out what she meant, a person wearing a scarf over his nose and mouth and a hat over his head slowly walked by them. Once Casey finally finished, she and Alvarez turned and began to walk in the opposite direction of the stranger, when all of a sudden, they were both pushed down to the ground as gunfire erupted from above them.

Both Casey and Eddie quickly pulled out their guns and aimed them as they turned over to see what on earth was going on, when they heard someone shouting for them to stay down, but they both began to fire toward the stranger that had walked by moments ago, as they saw that he was trying to fire in their direction, while taking cover from the shots being fired back at him by them and whoever it was that had pushed the confused detectives down. In a few seconds, the guy suddenly stopped his shooting and quickly took off running away, while holding his hand over his arm, as he appeared to have caught at least one of their bullets.

Casey looked up at the man, who had just saved both her and Eddie, and saw that it was Walsh when he slowly turned his head in her direction as he fell against the building and asked, "Are you guys… all right?"

"Walsh?" she cried out in surprise until he suddenly collapsed and both she and Alvarez reached up to catch him to keep him from falling hard against the ground. "Oh God, Walsh! Hold on. Eddie, call for an ambulance; now!"

"I'm calling," Eddie responded as he quickly pulled out his cell and called for help. "This is Detective Alvarez. I'm at Walsh's diner on Sixth and Main Street. We need an ambulance right away. We've got an officer down. I repeat, an officer down!"

Casey held her partner in her arms as his body was trembling violently from not only the cold, but the pain she could see he was obviously in, as she saw that he was bleeding out from a bandaged wound in his abdomen, as well as a new wound in his right shoulder, very close to his neck, caused by one of their attacker's shots just moments ago. He wasn't wearing a jacket and his shirt was torn open, probably from his fight before he was taken. His skin was freezing cold to her touch, but she also felt heat radiating off of his forehead, as well as from the bullet wound, which she was now holding her free hand tightly against. Once Alvarez was off his phone, he quickly applied pressure over the wound in his abdomen.

Walsh struggled to keep his eyes open, as he looked up at Casey and stammered, "He's in… involved. He's… bro… brother."

Casey had a hard time understanding what he was trying to tell her, so she quickly asked, "What are trying to say? He's whose brother? Do you mean, Cole? Don't worry, all right? I already know. Just stay with me. You're going to be fine."

"Be careful," Jason whispered as the pain become more intense, causing him to close his eyes tightly and squeeze Eddie's free hand hard.

"We'll get them," Casey continued as she pulled him in closer to try to warm him a little and then looked over at Eddie. "Lay your jacket over him until the ambulance arrives."

Eddie looked down at Jason and then back up at her as he complained, "But it's cold out here?"

Casey glared at him as she answered angrily, "And he's freezing to death, now do it!"

"All right!" he muttered as he quickly let go of Walsh to do what she said. "You're going to be okay, Jason. Help's going to be here any second."

"Tell Allis… Allison, I'm so… sorry," Jason barely made out as a tear escaped from the corner of his eye as he sadly looked up again at his partner until his eyes slowly drifted closed again for good.

Casey tried to wake him as she gently shook him and patted the side of his face, but he didn't stir. She looked up fearfully into Eddie's eyes, then leaned down and whispered into his ear, begging him to keep fighting. Casey grew angry as she watched her partner struggle to breathe; not at him for his stupidity in pushing them out of the way of their attacker's bullets, though she would probably give him hell for that later, but at Cole, as she now knew that he was somehow involved, even after everything Walsh had done for him. Casey swore to herself that she would make them all pay for what had been done to her partner, no matter what.

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