Part 28

Jun. 17th, 2006 12:11 am
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] if_i_trace
Required reading.


And sometimes, the present moves too quickly.


It had been Val who spotted the guy heading down into the ditch as their car approached. Steve's vision was better than 20/20, but he would have missed him in the dark while he was trying to watch the road. For the first time that day, Steve suddenly wished Shaunassee was with him, even if that might have meant passing the fugitive. This wasn't his job, and he was so far outside his jurisdiction that it might be held against him.

There was no reason for anything to go wrong, he reminded himself. This guy was a hacker, a data thief. They were rarely physically dangerous specimens. But even so....

"Stay in the car!" Steve snapped, reaching for the floodlight in the back, but Val ignored him and opened the door anyway. "Damnit, Val!"

Val stopped, one bare foot on the floor, the other outside on the ground already. "I need to talk to him," he said quietly.

For a moment, his eyes glowed as golden as they had beneath Shaunassee's flashlight a few nights ago, leaving Steve at a loss for words.

"Fine," he growled, "But stay where I can see you."

Val stood beside the car, poised and intent as a hunting dog, while Steve set the spotlight on the roof and aimed it down into the ditch. There was a figure down there, bent over in the culvert.

"Police," Steve called, circling around the car to start down the grassy slope. "Put your hands above your head and step into the light. Slowly."

Val followed him, staying behind and to one side. Steve flicked a glance at him, but Val's attention was entirely focused somewhere else in a way that made the hair on the back of his neck try to rise.

"I'm not armed!" the man in the ditch said, pitching his voice to carry.

"Keep your hands where I can see them," Steve replied calmly, watching the guy's actions carefully as he climbed out of the culvert.

Something flickered in Steve's peripheral vision, but he didn't turn to look. He wasn't about to take his eyes off their prey until the guy was in handcuffs and stuffed into the car.

He had his gun out, the weight of it heavy and cold in his hands. He really didn't want to use it, but approaching unarmed was just stupid. Too much risk, too many chances. Theoretically, Val could run the guy down if he tried to bolt, but Val... Val was still barefoot.

The flicker turned to a blur and Steve could only watch as something streaked down the hill toward the other man.

"Valin!" he yelled, but his gut said too late....


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Imperfect Likeness

July 2010

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