Part 30

Jul. 4th, 2006 02:30 pm
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] if_i_trace
It's never as simple as it appears.


Steve's hand trembled as he lowered his gun. He flicked the safety back on out of habit, staring down the slope of the hill at the two still forms below.

He should be calling it in. He should be checking the guy's vitals, checking on Val -- GOD, Val... -- but he was struck immobile by the weight of what he'd done.

He'd fucked up. Badly. The SIU was gonna be all over his ass for this one, not that he could bring himself to care. That wasn't the problem. Suspension, with or without pay, he could deal with. But....

If Val was...

That guy was....

He shook his head. Holstered his gun. Reached for his radio, desperate for the familiar comfort of the dispatcher's voice or -- damnit, Shaun, why weren't you here? why didn't you follow us? -- something, anything to break the godawful silence of the scene.

He was a cop, fer chrissakes. He had to get his shit together. It wasn't like it was the first time he'd fired a gun, after all. But a shooting range was one thing....

Taking a deep breath, he radioed in as he headed down the hill.


The silence in his head was deafening.

He forced his eyes open slowly. Stars spun through the night sky overhead. It made him dizzy, as if the Earth was spinning without him. Digging his fingers into the grass and dirt, he held tight to the ground, waiting for the feeling to pass.

He could smell blood. Bright and coppery and overwhelming everything.

It wasn't his, he knew. He hurt, but it wasn't that kind of pain. He hadn't bled then, had he? Did he even bleed? If he did, would it be blood, or something....

The stars swung around suddenly and he felt pavement instead of grass beneath him.

But no... the grass was still twined between his fingers and the stars weren't moving. Hadn't moved.

There had been a gunshot... that hadn't happened last time....

Thinking made his head hurt and his heart ache. His soul screamed betrayal somewhere deep down, but he didn't want to hear it, didn't want to listen. He just did not want to think.

Cautiously, he let go of the ground with one hand and raised it to rub at his nose. He should move. Get away from the blood. But his sense of balance felt completely wrong.


He blinked and winced and stared up at the shadowed figure blankly. Wetting his lips, he searched for language. "Steve?" he managed finally.

"Are you... all right?" Steve asked, crouching down beside him.

"I'm..." hurtlostbetrayed "...okay."

"What happened?"

Val glanced away quickly, forcing his body to move so he could sit up. The world swung a slow whirl around him, but he focused on breathing, ignoring the dizziness. "They wanted me to kill him," he said shortly.

Pushing himself to his feet, he overbalanced and had to lean against Steve for a moment.

"Why?" Steve asked quietly.

Lights and sirens split the night and Val turned away, cringing. "I don't know. I can't... I can't think about it right now."

"Okay," Steve said. Looping an arm around Val's shoulders, he led him up the hill to the relative calm of his car as chaos descended on them.


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Imperfect Likeness

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