Unkindest Cut of All

Chapter 17

As soon as she reached Casey, Alvarez, and their sergeant, Beaumont quickly asked, "How is he? Is he in surgery?"

Casey turned away from them and began to pace back and forth, as Eddie responded, "He is in surgery right now and he's not looking good."

"What happened?" Cole asked as his hid his shaking hands in his coat's pockets.

"He's got a knife wound in his abdomen and a bullet wound in his shoulder," Casey growled angrily as she glared at the man responsible for what happened to Walsh. "His heart stopped for over two minutes because he risked everything to save me and Alvarez. If it weren't for him, we would both be dead!"

Cole wondered if she knew of his involvement as he stuttered fearfully, "I… I'm sor… sorry."

As if he didn't know anything about what Casey had just told him, Sergeant Brown replied, "Relax, Cole. She's just worried about her partner, as you would be too if it was yours."

"He's right," Casey quickly said as she fought to push down her anger toward him. "I'm sorry. It's just that I've never lost a partner before. I don't want Walsh to be my first."

"He won't be," Beaumont answered. "He's strong."

Both Banks and Delahoy arrived just as Casey nodded and then continued her pacing as she went on to explain what happened outside his diner and what the gang member had said happened since he and his friends had kidnapped Walsh, until he helped him to escape. Then, she pulled out the paper the kid had given her with his number on it and handed it to Alvarez.

Casey omitted anything that would make Cole suspect she knew about his involvement. However, she did mention that she believed that their shooter was the same man on the surveillance tape thanks to the kid coming forward, but that they had yet to discover, who the man was, which was true. Casey, Eddie, and their sergeant could all see that Cole was becoming more nervous as she spoke.

It was then that Casey thought that maybe Cole would eventually do the right thing and come forward on his own as long as she was careful with what she said and did. Walsh had told her back when she had become emotionally involved in a case once, or as he called her, an E.I.D., that she just needed to take her time and play it safe in order to get what she wanted from the criminal. He had assured her that she knew that man better than anyone and Casey knew Cole too.

Once she finished, Sergeant Brown spoke up as he said, "Beaumont, Cole, Delahoy, and Banks, you're going to go back to the station and work to find out, who each of the gang members are that were involved in Walsh's kidnapping. Alvarez, you and I are going to work on finding out, who our shooter is and why he decided to come after two of our detectives. And Shraeger, I need you to stay here with your partner to protect him in case he tries again. I will send a security detail up to help. Keep us informed of his condition. Is that understood?"

Beaumont objected as she responded, "Sir, I'd like to stay here until I know that Walsh is out of the woods, along with Shraeger."

"I know how much he means to you, Allison, but I really need you working with the others," the sergeant replied with compassion in his voice. "It's going to take a lot of work to bring them down and you have more knowledge of the gang life than any of the others, all right?"

"Yes, Sir," she answered in frustration and then turned to walk out, followed by Cole, Banks, and Delahoy.

As they were far enough ahead, Brown turned to both Casey and Alvarez, who had stayed behind as well, and said quietly, "We've only got twenty-four hours and when that's done, I'll have no choice, but to go to IA with whatever information we've gathered at that point, which means we'll have to tell Beaumont that we suspect her partner is dirty and we all know that will not go over well. Alvarez and I will do what we can from our end and you do whatever you can from yours. Find that information your partner has already gathered on Cole being someone else. We don't have enough time to wait for a request for it again to be approved. And do keep us informed on how he's doing."

Casey quickly responded, "I will. Thank you, Sir. You know, for trusting Walsh and me, with this."

"Neither of you would be here if I didn't," their boss replied before he finally turned and then walked away, as Casey let out a sigh of relief.

"Good luck and be careful," Alvarez said kindly as he gently patted her arm for comfort.

Casey smiled and then he turned and began to follow after the sergeant until Casey quickly shouted, "Eddie! Thank you!"

He nodded as he smiled back at her and then continued to walk away. Casey never expected that she would come to consider the man, who had a tendency to speak about himself in third person, a friend, but thanks to what Jason had done for him, when she hadn't taken the time to befriend him herself, she had suddenly come to trust him more than any of the others. Underneath his oddities, Alvarez was a good man. Besides, as Walsh had said some time ago, they were all freaks to some degree.

Every once and a while, one of the hospital's nurses would come out to assure Casey that her partner was still holding on, as she continued to wait impatiently, but they refused to give her any information regarding his condition. It wasn't until over six hours after Walsh had been brought in that a doctor finally came out to speak with her.

The man solemnly spoke up saying, "One of the nurses' has informed me that you'd prefer it if we don't sugarcoat the news, so I want you to know that your partner's still fighting, but I'm afraid that his condition is grave and to be honest, I'm not sure if he's going to pull through. He's lost a lot of blood, but we're working to give him the transfusions needed to help sustain him until his heart can resupply it on its own. Thankfully, neither the bullet wound near his neck nor the knife wound in his abdomen hit anything vital. However, the knife wound has become severely infected, causing his temperature to spike to just over one hundred and six degrees. If it gets any higher, well, the truth is it can't get much higher because if it does, he'll die. His wrist is badly broken and bleeding from what I'm guessing was the restraint his kidnappers used to keep him where he was held. He must have fought against it in hopes of freeing himself."

"What about the cold?" Casey asked fearfully. "When I held him in my arms, he was shivering violently and his skin was freezing to the touch. He wasn't wearing a jacket for, what I am assuming was since early yesterday morning when he was attacked and we believe he was held prisoner in a shipping container at a shipyard, down by the docks."

"I'm afraid he also has a severe case of hypothermia, which is another reason for his temperature is so high," he answered. "We're doing everything we can to warm his body up. We've given him the proper medication need to help him and for now, he's on a ventilator, as his body is having a hard time coping on its own with the pain, the fever, and the hypothermia all at once. It doesn't look good, Detective, but I promise you that we'll continue to do all we can for him. I'm so sorry."

Casey put her hands up to her face as she worked to wipe away the tears that had begun to fall from her eyes while she listened to the doctor talk about her partner's chances of survival, then when he was finally finished she asked, "Can I see him?"

The man responded, "The nurses are moving him into his room right now as we speak. Once we get him settled in, you'll be free to stay with him for as long as you need to."

"Unfortunately, I can't stay with him for long, as I've got to find out, who did this to him, but our boss is going to be sending up a security detail to keep watch outside of his room to make sure that he is protected at all times," Casey replied firmly. "Only a select few of you will be allowed to go into his room to take care of him, as well as myself and the few other detectives that were here earlier. I will give you their pictures so you all will know who and I will expect the same of your staff. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Ma'am," he answered. "I will let you know when you can go in."

As the doctor walked away, Casey finished wiping away the tears out of her eyes and then pulled out her cell phone to call the sergeant. She went over with him everything the doctor had told her and asked him if he had had any luck in figuring out, who their shooter actually was. Unfortunately, he and Alvarez had no luck so far, as they had already tried running him through the database the night before and believed that he didn't have a record, as they had no clue that Cole had gotten rid of it.

By the time she hung up, a nurse had come out to inform her that she was free to visit her partner whenever she wished. Casey moved slowly along the corridors slowly, as she was afraid to see Walsh hooked up to numerous machines, but she was mostly afraid to see him so lifeless. Eventually, she walked into his room and stood at his bedside as she took his hand in hers. Now, it was finally her time to be there for him.

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