The Client

Chapter 43

Silence settled on the foursome after the brief discussion following the departure of Bello and his men from the room. The girls and Mike leaned against the back wall. There wasn't much place to sit, but the floor. No clocks on the wall either so there was no way to tell how long they'd been in there. It was a pretty barren space, boring too. Their cell phones and watches had been confiscated while the gas had knocked them out. So the group of captives were left to their own inner thoughts. Mike's lip had stopped bleeding Abby noted.

Bello barged in with the guards flanking him. Mike could easily pick out which footsteps belonged to the felon. Bello wore oxfords while his men wore tennis shoes. Bello stopped in front of them. Mike positioned Abby behind him, putting himself between her and Bello.

"Back so soon?" Mike quipped.

"You were hoping for some more time to recuperate?" Bello retorted.

"Me? No, I've never felt better," Mike smirked.

Bello was a man that prided himself on keeping his cool. Something about Mike tested his resolve. Pacing himself was not going to be easy with this one. "I hope everyone was on their best behavior during my absence," Bello said. Charlie shrugged. Lucia put her hands on her hips.

"Kind of hard to get in trouble when there's nothing in here to get in trouble with," Mike quipped.

"Since when did that stop you, Michael?" Bello threw back.

Mike bit the inside of his cheek, "What do you want to harp on this time?"

Bello studied the former FBI agent. How had he been so wrong about this guy? Mike felt the other man's eyes scrutinizing him. After a moment Bello decided his next course of discussion. "I had been looking for you since I was released, you are not an easy man to find," he began.

"My job keeps me moving," Mike offered.

"Fortunately for you," Bello replied, "The search was pretty enlightening to say the least."

"Really?" Mike smirked.

"I met a very interesting man- I think you know him, his name is Jack," Bello began. Mike's ears perked up at the name, but he stayed perfectly calm. He wouldn't respond. After a long pause Bello got tired of waiting and continued, "You're father had some stories to tell about you."

"I am sure he did," Mike flatly stated. His face was completely blank.

"You don't seem too concerned for his well being," Bello noted.

"The last time I saw him, he threw a telephone book at my head," Mike pointed to his face, "So you could say we're not exactly on speaking terms."

"He didn't," Abby raised an eye brow.

"Jack was drunk off his ass anyway so his aim was lousy," Mike threw one shoulder up. Abby placed a hand on his bicep. He patted her hand then rested his larger one on top of it. "Not everyone has a father like Brennan," Mike angled to her and whispered so only Abby heard. She laid her head on his shoulder.

"You call your father by his first name?" Bello remarked.

"He doesn't want the title of dad and I don't force it on him," Mike replied.

"You have an answer for everything," Bello cocked his head.

"I learned to think on my feet when I was undercover," Mike didn't miss a beat.

"You do have pretty quick feet," Bello , "They got you into trouble a few times- like when we had Iago's men bearing down on us."

"Taking a bullet for you was stupid," Mike acknowledged.

"Maybe it was, but it helped cement your credibility with me," Bello said.

Mike wanted to roll his eyes, but the bandages covered them making the gesture kind of pointless. "I wanted you in jail not dead," Mike stated.

"You got your wish," Bello charged.

"I'm not sorry," Mike crossed his arms over his chest, "You did the crimes and deserved your prison term."

"What about you?" Bello thundered, "Have you forgotten all the things you did to help me? You're just as guilty as I am."

Mike straightened his shoulders. The accusation cut him to the quick. Mike brushed that aside. Other times Mike did feel guilty, but this was not the time or place to give into those feelings. He'd deal with that later. "I did what I had to do to get the job done," Mike stated.

"The ends justify the means?" Bello chuckled. That was nothing more than a lame excuse.

"I followed orders- even yours back then," Mike shrugged.

"You are not as different as you like to think," Bello informed him.

"No, I'm freer- FBI rules don't apply to me anymore," Mike said.

"Why exactly did you leave the FBI?" Bello questioned.

"Personal reasons," Mike asserted, "I got my Karma." He had already gotten into topics that he hadn't planned to with Bello.

"I seriously doubt that," Bello sneered, "Not enough for my prison time."

"You want the truth? I was forced into leaving," Mike admitted.

"Figures, you are not even remotely remorseful for betraying me so I doubt it was guilt from your uncover work that caused you to quit," Bello threw out.

"Don't flatter yourself," Mike snipped.

Bello frowned. This back and forth banter was getting old. Time to have some fun he decided. Bello retrieved his 9mm from where he belted it in his waist band. He griped Abby's shoulder and ripped her away from Mike. Mike lunged at them only to be restrained by two guards. They were losing their ground against him. Bello cocked his gun making sure Mike heard it. "That gun is at Abby's neck and the safety is off," Bello warned, "Stop struggling." The younger man froze. He brought his arms down. "Good boy," Bello taunted. Mike snorted angrily. Every muscle in his body ached for Abby.

Johnny watched the security footage with a frown posted on his face. "What the hell are you up to?" he muttered under his breath. The wait to get into that warehouse was going to kill him. Johnny had a lot to lose in that room. His new found sister, his best friend and their girls were all in there. Mike wasn't looking so hot at the moment. They were running out of time.

Mike had Piper worried too. The man had a very high threshold for pain, but to see him actually look like he hurt was disconcerting. She didn't think he could take another beating. Dale leaned back against the wall watching his boss and Grant rebrief the Governor on their plans.

"If we go in guns blazing my daughter is going to be the first person that gets shot," Brennan protested.

"We are trying to avoid gunfire as much as possible," Grant asserted.
"We'll hit them just like they hit us," Paul said.

"Are we sure the gas is the safest option for the distraction?" Brennan queried. He was so agitated that not much of anything being said stuck for him.

"It is perfectly safe," Grant assured the Governor.

"We'll only use just enough to cause disorientation and confusion- that's all we're going for," Paul added for a second time.

"They were already gassed today are we sure this won't hurt them?" Brennan asked.

"They seem to have recovered- I asked the technicians and that while it does cause some discomfort, in the long run there are no lasting effects," Grant patiently answered the same question he had been asked when the idea of the extraction came up. He tried putting himself in the other father's place and responded the way he'd way he hoped someone would respond to him if God forbid the same thing happened to Callie.

Brennan rubbed his eyes. He had to step away for a moment. Brennan sighed, "How could I have let Bello take Abby?"

"You've done everything in your power to stop him," Lauren insisted.

"Obviously not," Brennan pointed to the security footage on the monitor.

"You are only one person," Lauren replied, "You got her the best security available…"

"She's my daughter," Brennan thumped his hand on his chest, "She's my responsibility." Lauren placed her hands on Brennan's shoulders in an attempt to soothe him. "It should be me in there," he asserted.

"You have to remember Abby is stronger than she looks. She'll hang on and we will get her out," she promised. Brennan stared blankly at the screen in front of him. The psycho had a gun to his daughter and there was nothing he could do about it.

Grant received a transmission though his earpiece "We are ready when you are," Grant said.

"The outer guards finished their rounds they are heading in," Piper reported.

"The outside cameras are good to go," Johnny indicated.

"Do it," Grant directed.

Johnny typed the necessary command, "Done."

"It's looping," Piper confirmed.

"We're clear- go now," Grant radioed. He motioned Paul and Dale toward the door with his head. The three men exited together. Johnny sat down his laptop and headed to follow the exiting group out the door. No way he was sitting this one out.

Bello motioned his head towards Charlie. The guard beside her took the signal and grabbed her by the arm. "Hey!" Lucia reached out for Charlie, but she was blocked by the guards as Charlie was led away from her.

Bello waved his gun in Mike's direction. The guard holding Mike back brought his charge forward. Bello released the governor's daughter, leaving her slightly off kilter. "What's going on?"

Side by side first Charlie and then Mike were forced to their knees in front of her. Abby looked at one and then the other and back again. What did this psycho want?

"I am giving you a choice Miss Sinclair," Bello answered, smiling as if it was some big gift.

"A choice?" Abby questioned.

"You get to choose who dies first," Bello laughed.

Abby's eyes widened. She shook her head, "I… I- I ca…"

"Of course you can- just say a name," Bello coaxed. Abby covered her mouth and dry heaved. She was going to be sick. "Come, come now- Who are you going to save your best friend? Or your lover?" Bello taunted. Abby's heart began to beat in her throat. He couldn't be serious. This was an impossible choice. She couldn't lose either of them.

"He's not going to let me go," Mike said, "Save Charlie."

"How selfless of you," Bello sneered.

"I'm just telling the truth," Mike replied.

"Why don't we let the doctor speak for herself?" Bello turned his eyes to Charlie, "Do you have anything to say?"

"Go to hell," Charlie spat. He struck Charlie across the face with the butt of his gun. The force threw her head to the side. Ignoring the sting of the blow and the blood now trickling out of her nose, Charlie whipped back around and glared at him defiantly.

Bello stepped back a foot with a chuckle. He aimed start for Charlie and pulled the trigger.

"No!" Abby ran in front of Charlie as the gun fired.

There was a twinge in Mike's chest. He knew immediately that Abby had been hit. The force of the bullet knocked Abby over. Mike rushed forward and instinctively caught her in his arms before she found the floor.

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