In From the Cold

Chapter 20

Bobby POV

An hour after the shooting in Brooklyn, I found myself in Logan's apartment.

Maas had suggested that we not go home.

As if I would even consider that.

We needed to be sure that no one was after us before we went back to our place, and if it was a fed who was after us, then Eames' place wasn't safe either because they'd have that address.

"You can stay at my place," Maas had offered.

And even though I appreciated the gesture, I couldn't imagine spending the next however many hours under his watchful eye.

"Thank you," Alex had deflected. "But we don't want to put your wife out. Besides, we've stayed at Logan's before."

"You have?" he'd asked as he looked back and forth between the two of us.

My mind raced in an effort to decide whether that information would be incriminating or not.

Couldn't we have just stayed there to escape the surveillance?

It didn't have to mean anything sordid.

Did it?

"They've needed a break from time to time," Logan supplied. "And no one knows I exist, so…"

"Okay," Maas had said with a nod. "Well, as long as you two don't go home…"

"No," Alex had agreed. "Definitely not."

"That'll work then. Stay at Logan's for tonight, and then tomorrow you can go to work as if you have no idea about what happened. But keep your eyes and ears open, okay? This is it. It's all coming to a head. Hell, you two could be back in the department before Christmas."

I glanced over at Alex.

At least he was still thinking about bringing us back…

So Maas had dropped us off at Logan's. We'd gone inside, where each of us had promptly downed a few shots of Jack in an effort to tamp down the adrenaline, and then Alex and I had headed for the spare room.

It was still fairly early, but considering all that had happened, well…I just wanted to get under the covers.

Unfortunately, as soon as we stripped down and climbed into the bed, we heard a knock on the bedroom door.

"What is it?" I called out.

But Logan didn't answer. Instead, he opened the door and poked his head in while keeping his hand over his eyes. I'm not sure what he thought he might be interrupting, but I did appreciate his respect.

"Moran's at the door."

"What?" Alex said, very nearly yelling her response.

"That's why I didn't want to shout through the door," Logan explained. "He's knocking on the front door."

"You can look," I told Logan, since he was still standing there with his hand over his eyes. He dropped his hand and looked at us where we were lying in the tiny bed.

"I'm betting that Maas told him about what happened. I can stall him for another minute, but…"

"Yeah, okay," Alex said. "Get out. We'll be right there."

She threw the covers back as soon as Logan left the room and the two of us hurriedly got dressed.

"I can't believe Moran came here," she muttered as she took it a step further and put on her shoes and socks.

"Well, let's go find out what he wants."

We left the room and found Logan in the foyer with his hand on the knob. He waited for a nod from us and then he opened the door.

"Detective Logan," Moran said in greeting. "I'm looking for…oh, Goren. And Eames. I'm just…I'm sorry to barge in on you guys, but…I spoke with Maas and…can I come in?"

"Yes sir," Logan replied. "And it's not detective anymore. Unfortunately, it's just plain Logan."

"I heard that you had applied for an opening in Nassau, didn't you?" Moran questioned, and I was surprised that he knew about that. It had been over the summer, and Logan hadn't gotten the job, so the fact that Moran knew it was a little baffling.

"I did," he said. "But the DA there has apparently blackballed me, so…"

"Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. If I remember correctly, you were a damn fine detective."

"Well, thank you sir. I appreciate that."

"What can we do for you, Chief?" Alex asked him. She and I were standing with about four feet of space between us but for some reason I still felt as though he somehow just knew that only minutes ago I'd had my hand running over her bare back.

"I wanted to talk with the two of you," he said, casting a glance toward Logan.

"Oh, hey. Go ahead. I'm going to head for bed anyway. Bobby, Alex, I'll catch you two in the morning."

Logan went down the hallway and left the three of us alone.

"It's kind of a small place, isn't it?" Moran asked randomly.

And what he wasn't saying was…where the hell are you two sleeping?

"It has a spare room," Alex said. "Goren sleeps on the couch. We've used this place a couple of times. You know, just to get away from the cameras."

"The couch, huh?'

"Yes sir," I assured him.

I followed his gaze as he looked around the room, and then I watched as his eyes settled on a folded up blanket and pillow along the far wall.

Logan was a freaking genius.

Moran gave an understanding nod and then looked back at me.

"Okay then. Um…well, I'm thinking that maybe we should pull the plug on this investigation."

"What?" Alex said in alarm. "With all due respect, sir, I think that's a bad idea."

"Agent Beemer was just gunned down on the street," he reminded us. "Captain Ross was murdered, too. I can't let this continue and run the risk of that happening to the two of you."

"We're close," I told him. "And we've already invested so much time into this."

"I know," he said. "But…"

He trailed off with a sigh and sat down on the couch. I sat in a chair across from him, and Alex sat down on the other end of the sofa.

It felt weird, sitting here like this with him.

He was in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. He just looked like any guy as opposed to the Chief of D's.

Except that he was the guy who held our future in his hands.

"I don't want anything to happen to you," he continued. "If Beemer was going to give you information, and the mole followed him there…they may very well know what you two are up to."

"Or it could be that they suspected him of something," Alex suggested. "It wasn't just one guy. There were four of them."

"And Hassan has a lot of men," Moran reminded us.

"I don't think anyone saw us," I interjected.

"They wouldn't have had to get a close look," Moran argued. "A six-four man with a five-two female partner with long blonde wouldn't take a genius."

"No one saw us until we were outside in the alley," Alex told him. "And it was dark, and we were with Logan by then, so the assumption would've been that Beemer was meeting with three people. And I had my hair up."

Which was true. She'd had it in a bun.

Only ten minutes ago, I'd pulled out the restrictive band to set it free.

What can I say? I like running my fingers through it.

"So you can confidently say that you don't feel as if your cover has been compromised?" Moran asked, and now he was looking at me.

I knew what he was asking.

Was I sure enough to risk Alex's safety?

"Yes," I said. "And we'll do as Maas suggested. We'll go in to the federal building tomorrow and act as though we have no idea of what happened. We'll let someone tell us, and if either of us gets a bad vibe from anyone, we'll call it quits. Right, Eames?"

And yeah, I'd almost said Alex.

Because as hard as it had been in the beginning to get used to calling her Alex, it was equally as hard to remember now to call her Eames.

"Right," she agreed. "It's not like they're going to pull off a hit inside of the federal building. We'll be safe to go into work."

"Okay," Moran agreed carefully. "But don't be the hero. I don't need two more dead cops on my hands. If this thing is a wash, then it's a wash. I can have you two back in MCS by next Monday."

"So we're still…" I questioned, unable to resist getting a little bit of confirmation from him that we'd still be welcomed back into the department.

"Absolutely," he assured me. And he almost looked offended that I'd even asked.

He stood up from the couch then and cast another glance in the direction of the makeshift bedding that was piled next to the wall.

"Okay then," he continued. "I'm sorry to bother you in your down time. I'm glad that you're both okay, and…well, I'll wait to hear from you tomorrow. Check in with Maas at noon and give him an update. Or sooner if you need us, okay?"

"Yes sir," I said, standing up as well and shaking his hand. He held out an envelope to me and added, "Just in case you need an alibi."

"For tonight?"

"It wouldn't be the first time the feds took a hard look at you, would it?"

The man had a point. I accepted the envelope and then he gave a sharp nod to Alex before leaving the apartment.

"That was…unexpected," Alex mumbled after he'd gone.

"He's worried. I think he feels somewhat responsible for what happened to Ross."

"Uh huh," she agreed. "Do you really believe what you told him? That we're not in any danger?"

"No," I admitted. I locked up the door and then turned to Alex and put my arm around her shoulders, guiding her down the hall to the spare room. "But I know that we can handle it."

The next morning, we tuned into the news before heading for the federal building, but there was no report about Beemer.

In fact, the word was that an unidentified man had been shot during an apparent drug deal.

I was really anxious to find out what the federal party line was going to be.

"Goren!" Stahl said sharply when Alex and I arrived on the fourth floor. "I need you and Eames in my office."

We followed her down the hall to her office and after we went inside, she closed the door behind us.

"I'm guessing that you heard about Agent Beemer," she said.

Alex and I looked at each other blankly and then turned back to Stahl.

"No," I said. "What about him?"

"He's dead," she said without emotion.

The brusqueness with which she delivered the news suggested that she was not interested in sympathy.

"What happened?" Alex asked her.

Stahl sighed heavily and walked around her desk.

"What I'm about to tell you cannot leave this room," she began. At our sounds of agreement, she continued. "We think that he was a double agent. It's possible that he was the leak who caused Ross to be killed."

"Beemer?" Alex questioned with calculated surprise. "What makes you say that?"

"I can't go into detail with you right now. But he's being investigated. There are agents at his apartment right now."

Was he dirty?

Were those agents going to find stacks upon stacks of video tapes documenting the last several months of footage from our apartment? Of course, it was probably all digital now, but still…was Beemer the one who'd been watching us?

And if he had been watching, ostensibly for the purpose of determining whether or not we were investigating Ross' death, had he found out our real purpose?

Or was he simply an easy fall guy?

Had he stumbled onto the truth and now they were using his death to create a scapegoat?

"We can help with that," Alex offered. "I mean, if he was into something like that, it might help having people investigate who weren't close to him."

"No," Stahl said quickly. "I appreciate your offer. Really, I do. And I might have taken you up on it, but Agent Lacey needs you right now and Casteel has asked me to give her what she wants."

"The tax evasion case?" I asked in disbelief. "That's not really our area of expertise. Surely our skills would be more beneficial…"

"Not tax evasion," she interrupted. "Lacey picked up a new one late last night. The tax thing has been moved to the back burner."

"Oh," Alex said. "What is it then?"

"Lacey can brief you fully. You'll need to report to her office as soon as you leave here. It was actually supposed to be my case, but…once the news about Beemer came in, well…they like to bench an agent at times like this."

"When you're partner's been killed," I clarified, and I was again amazed by her composure.

Was it an act?

Or had she disliked him?

Or had she suspected him of wrongdoing?

"That's right," she said, and she finally sat down in her chair.

She looked exhausted and she stared at the floor for a minute before taking a deep breath and bringing her eyes back up to meet mine.

Okay, so maybe she was more upset than I'd realized.

"So go see Lacey," she went on tiredly. "Federal assistance has been requested for a case in White Plains."

"What's going on there?"

"Some guy is killing prostitutes and their johns at various roadside motels."

I could literally feel Alex's annoyance even though we were several feet apart.

"So she wants to use us as undercovers?" Alex asked Stahl, barely able to mask her distaste.

"I know," Stahl said with a wave of her hand. "And I'm sorry. I'd actually agreed to do this one, but Casteel said no. And Lacey can't do it, because well…honestly, no one would believe that she's a hooker."

"While I, on the other hand, can pull that off easily," Alex said snidely.

"Hey, you're an undercover specialist, right?" Stahl asked sharply. "This is the job. Take it or leave it."

"You're right," Eames said with a shake of her head. "I think I'm just still a little shaken by this whole thing with Beemer. I'm sorry."

"It's fine," Stahl said, instantly apologetic. "It's always difficult to learn of a colleague getting killed. I'm…yeah, I think I'm in a little bit of denial myself. But…the world keeps turning, right? And psychos keep killing johns whose pants are around their ankles, so…"

"We'll go see Lacey," Alex said. "Let us know how it goes here, okay?"

"I will. Be careful, Agents."

We left Stahl's office and headed down the hall to find Agent Lacey.

"They think Beemer's dirty," Alex said quietly. "What do you think?"

"I'd really like to get a look in his apartment," I said. "Do you think it's coincidence that they're sending us on another case?"

"Like they want to get rid of us? I don't know. I would think so, but we have been doing a lot of work with Lacey and this case…well, I guess it's another one of those times where they want agents who are comfortable with each other."

"You're going to have to literally watch my ass," I stated. "Since I'll be the one with my pants around my ankles."

"Well, at least in White Plains, we'll only need to watch out for one serial killer," she reasoned, nudging me gently with her shoulder.

I knew what she meant.

Leaving town for a few days might not be a bad idea until we could obtain more information.

Because right now, even though on the surface it seemed as though maybe our investigation was over, truthfully, if Beemer was on our side and then four guys were after him, well…maybe this thing ran deeper than we'd thought.

"As opposed to here," I replied with a nod. "Where we have no idea from which direction the danger will come."

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