Chapter Seventeen: Proving Innocence
He hated being right all the time. Greg gave him a sympathetic look as he trudged towards the chief's office, ignoring Tj's smug smile and preparing himself for the worst.
Several officers gave Reggy curious looks as he approached the chief's office, obviously wondering what he'd done to warrant that loud a shout. He ignored them and kept walking, passing Jan who was on the phone as usual. He wasn't surprised when she didn't even glance his way, too intent on conversing with the person on the other end and absorbed in her own sense of self-importance. He couldn't honestly remember ever seeing her off the damn thing.
He finally entered the office and was immediately ordered to close the door behind him, catching a last glimpse of Greg's slightly anxious face looking over as he clicked it shut.
“Sit,” Taliesin snapped. Reggy walked stiffly to the chair and sank down onto it, his expression bordering on defiant.
“What the hell were you thinking Kistoff? Huh?” Reggy winced at the shouted question but remained silent. “Did you know that there were several witnesses to your little display? Not to mention the fact that the perp is now screaming police brutality.”
Reggy gritted his teeth and looked down at his hands. “It was a momentary lapse of judgment, sir.”
“No shit,” Taliesin yelled, throwing his pen down forcefully. “You've brought the whole goddamned department into disrepute. I've got enough on my plate at the moment without having this to deal with.”
“I'm sorry sir,” Reggy mumbled, starting to feel a little guilty for adding to Taliesin's burden. He didn't envy the man's position.
Taliesin leaned back in his chair, which creaked slightly in protest, and lowered his voice to a normal level. “An apology isn't gonna cut it this time Kistoff. This is gonna have to go on your record, and you'll be damned lucky if the DA doesn't decide to make an example of you. This is a bad time to draw attention to yourself and I can certainly do without losing another officer today.”
Reggy's head shot up and a frown creased his brow. “Do you mean Kenney? What happened?”
Taliesin studied him for a moment before answering. “Officer Logins is taking a leave of absence until further notice.”
Reggy was immediately out of his chair, his former anger back with a vengeance as he slammed his fists down on the desk. “This is bullshit sir. Kenney has nothing to do with the bomber and you know it.”
Taliesin shook his head wearily, suddenly looking much older. “I don't like it any more than you do, but it's out of my hands. The feds say that they have damning evidence against him and they are within their rights to pull him off active duty.”
“Yeah, well the feds have shit for brains,” Reggy replied furiously, beginning to pace up and down. “It's obvious that the real culprit has discovered the feds' suspicions and that Kenney is being framed.”
“Maybe so,” Taliesin said grimly, “but knowing it and proving it are two very different things. You'll have to provide some pretty hard evidence to convince them of Kenney's innocence; they certainly won't accept your word for it, and they won't appreciate your interference.”
“To hell with what they think,” Reggy replied forcefully, stopping and turning to face his superior. “I'll be damned if I'm just gonna stand by and watch Kenney take the fall for this.”
“That dangerous talk Reggy,” Taliesin said seriously, surprising the other man with the use of his first name. “You're playing with fire. I can't protect you if you go up against the feds and lose.”
Reggy looked nothing short of determined as he answered. “I'll take my chances.”
When Reggy left the chief's office, still glowering, he immediately saw that Kriss and Brad had arrived in his absence and were talking in low tones with Greg. As if sensing Reggy's presence Kriss looked up and made eye contact, his worry showing clearly on his face.
“How bad is it?” Kriss asked anxiously the moment Reggy had reached them and greeted him with a quick peck on the lips. Greg and Brad were also looking concerned.
“I don't know yet,” Reggy sighed, dropping into his seat and looking up at them. “It's definitely going on my record though.”
Kriss perched on the edge of the desk and gave Reggy a sympathetic look. “I'm sorry Reg.”
Reggy shook his head firmly. “I really don't care about that right now. I've just heard that Kenney's been pulled from active service by the feds.”
Three sets of eyebrows shot up at this unwelcome piece of news.
“You're shitting me,” Greg swore with an expression of outraged disbelief. “They actually believe that he's been working with the bomber?”
“Yep,” Reggy scowled. “They're so desperate to show that they've made progress on this case that they're completely ignoring common sense and pinning the blame on an innocent man.”
“They're blinkered,” Kriss agreed with a sigh.
“Does Kip know yet?” Brad asked quietly.
“I'd say he does,” Greg murmured, looking over Reggy's head to where Kip had just entered. Kip didn't look anything like his normal, happy, self; his expression could only be described as black. His young partner kept shooting nervous glances at him as he walked alongside.
“I take it you've heard the news then?” Greg asked Kip once he'd reached the group.
Kip nodded and turned to the man beside him. "Can you go and start the paperwork on that burglary, Joe? I'll be over in a minute.”
Joe nodded and moved away, looking happy to escape the tense atmosphere and do something productive. When Joe had gone, Kip let out a deep sigh and gratefully accepted a hug from Brad.
“Kenney called me a little while ago,” Kip explained when Brad released him. “He didn't say much but I could tell that he's in a bad way.”
“That's understandable considering the circumstances,” Kriss murmured.
“Yeah,” Kip replied with a sigh. He looked at Kriss properly for the first time since his arrival and immediately frowned. “Shit Kriss, what happened to your face?” He moved forwards and lifted a hand to hold Kriss's chin gently as he examined the damage. “Did someone do this to you?” he asked angrily.
“No,” Kriss replied patiently, moving his head out of Kip's grasp, “it was an accident, and I'm fine. Let's just concentrate on helping Kenney, okay? He's gonna need his friends around him at a time like this.”
“Yeah, we should go and see him,” Reggy agreed, “make sure he knows that he has our full support.”
“They wouldn't have suspended him if they didn't have hard evidence,” an annoyingly smug voice called from an adjacent desk.
Kriss placed a hand on Reggy's arm and gave him a warning look; the last thing he needed was to get into further trouble. Reggy took a deep breath as he turned to face Lamar. “What do you know about it?”
Lamar shrugged and clasped his fingers together as he leaned comfortably back in his chair. “The whole department knows about it by now. I can't say I'm surprised; I always thought that there was something dodgy about him.”
Kriss and Brad were forced to restrain Reggy and Kip as they both started forward. All five of them were looking at Lamar with complete contempt.
“Listen to me asshole,” Reggy growled, pointing at Lamar threateningly. “Kenney is a damn good cop who's being set up, and if I found out that you had anything to do with it you'll wish you'd never been born.”
Reggy, Kriss, Brad, and Kip had to search half the bars and clubs in the city before they eventually found Kenney in what could only be described as a shit-hole, downtown. Greg had wanted to come along too but had needed to get home to Piper, which everyone completely understood.
Several of the bar's regular patrons looked up groggily as the group entered, but quickly lost interest and returned to their drinks. Reggy spotted Kenney over at the bar, hunched over a glass of what looked like whisky, and led the way over to him, navigating his way through the maze of tables and chairs.
Kenney glanced up briefly as they all gathered around him, a look of surprise crossing his face which morphed into a frown. From the state of him, Reggy could tell that he'd been drowning his sorrows for a while; his eyes had that glassy, unfocused quality which too much alcohol induced.
“What are you all doing here?” Kenney mumbled, keeping his eyes fixed on the small amount of liquid hugging the bottom of his glass.
“We're here to offer our support,” Kip replied, slinging an arm around Kenney's shoulders. “You know, you should never drink alone.”
“I'm not very good company at the moment.”
Reggy dropped onto the stool next to Kenney and put a hand on his shoulder consolingly. “We all know that you had nothing to do with any of this shit, buddy. It”s a goddamned set-up if ever I saw one.”
Kenney gave him a humorless smile. “Yeah. I doubt that knowledge is gonna save my career though.”
Reggy gave his shoulder a squeeze. “I think I speak for all of us when I say that we're not gonna stop until we find out who was really responsible, and prove your innocence.”
“Absolutely,” Kriss agreed from his place beside Reggy. “Don't give up yet Kenney. You know what Reagan’s like when he's determined.”
This brought a genuine smile to Kenney's face as he nodded. “The world had better watch out.”
“We're all behind you, no matter what,” Kip said firmly, “and I'd like my partner back.”
“It's only been eight hours Kip,” Kenney chuckled, downing the rest of his drink in one go and swaying slightly on his stool.
“Trust me, eight hours with your replacement seems like a lifetime,” Kip sighed. “Now let's get you home, okay?”
Kenney nodded and stood up briefly then immediately thought better of it and sat back down again. “I think I've drunk too much,” he slurred.
“No shit,” Brad muttered with a smirk.
Kriss rolled his eyes at Brad's helpful response and went to Kenney's aid, wrapping an arm around his waist to support him while Kip took the other side. Kenney looked at Kriss groggily and frowned. “Have you been in a fight Kriss?”
“Yes, with a sidewalk,” Kriss replied exasperatedly, and Brad snorted. “Come on, up you get.”
Once they'd managed to get Kenney upright he paused, looking around at all of them seriously, and when he spoke his voice was rough with emotion. “Thanks guys.”
“God, what a day,” Reggy exclaimed as he slumped onto their couch a little later and closed his eyes.
Kriss, who was busy trying to feed a excited Mokka, looked over at his sprawled form and nodded. “It has certainly been an eventful one.”
“Mmm,” Reggy mumbled. “I'm not sure if I'll be able to get up again, now I've sat down.”
He jumped a few moments later when a warm pair of lips met his, opening his eyes and wrapping his arms around his lover.
“I have ways of getting you up,” Kriss smirked against his lips, eyes dancing mischievously.
“Oh yes?” Reggy grinned.
“Uh-huh.” Kriss lifted his head and unwrapped Reggy's arms from around him, pressing them against the couch firmly, then he leans forwards very slowly. When his lips were barely brushing Reggy's teasingly, Reggy's eyes closing in anticipation, Kriss suddenly moved upwards and licked Reggy's nose before fleeing from the couch in a fit of laughter.
Reggy's eyes flew open in surprise and he launched himself off the couch to hunt his lover down, fully intending to make him pay dearly. “You can run but you can't hide,” he called with a grin as he cornered Kriss in the kitchen.
“Wow, look at that,” Kriss smiled innocently, “you're up.”
“Yes I am,” Reggy murmured as he advanced on the man, pinning him up against the counter, “and you're nothing but a tease.”
“Well let me make it up to you then.” Kriss launched himself forwards and kissed Reggy forcefully, pleased when Reggy instantly forgot about revenge and deepened the kiss with a quiet moan of satisfaction. It was just what they both needed after such a tough day and they threw themselves into it enthusiastically.
They were both breathless when they broke apart, Reggy's fingers already working on Kriss's buttons. “I want you,” he panted, “right here, right now.”
“Sounds good to me,” Kriss replied huskily, opening Reggy's shirt and running his hands across the firm, bare, flesh before bending down to run his tongue over a nipple.
Reggy hissed in pleasure and ripped the shirt off Kriss, immediately reaching for his belt buckle. Kriss licked a trail up Reggy's chest and gently bit his neck before attacking his lips once more; gasping as Reggy managed to open his pants and reach inside to stroke him firmly. He quickly undid Reggy's pants to repay the favor, smirking at the whimper it drew from his lover.
They stayed like that for several minutes, stroking and kissing desperately, then Kriss broke the kiss and whispered, “Now Reg.”
Reggy removed their pants and underwear completely, then turned Kriss around and bent him over the kitchen counter. He used his own saliva as lubrication, coating himself thoroughly with a groan, and preparing Kriss carefully. Kriss, however, quickly lost patience.
“Just fuck me Reggy. Now.”
Reggy chuckled at the normally quiet man's feral growl and thrust in up to the hilt, relishing the feeling as Kriss moaned in pleasure.
Kriss tried to move but Reggy held his hips firmly in place with a smirk, staying buried deep within him.
“Move, goddammit.” Kriss swore, trying to wriggle out of Reggy's grip.
Reggy leans forward and placed a kiss on his neck. “Just a little teasing of my own,” he whispered wickedly in Kriss's ear, then released his hold. Kriss immediately moved forwards and thrust back onto him hard, making him emit a guttural groan.
Any plan of taking it slow went out the window as Reggy pulled out and slammed in again repeatedly, adjusting the angle of his hips until he heard Kriss's sharp intake of breath which meant he'd hit the jackpot. He concentrated on hitting that spot with each thrust; all the worry and anxiety which had been plaguing him cast aside, replaced by an almost overwhelming pleasure.
Kriss's knuckles were white as he held on to the counter; his face flat against the cool, smooth, surface and his breath rapidly blowing puffs of hot air across it. He closed his eyes and his breath hitched as he felt the beginnings of his orgasm stir within him.
Reggy could tell that Kriss was close, teetering on the edge himself, and reached to grab his erection as he continued to thrust. He only had to tug it twice before Kriss came over his hand with an incoherent shout, and instantly felt his own orgasm overtake him as he spilled himself deep within his lover. He could have sworn he glimpsed heaven at that point; he certainly saw stars.
Reggy awoke early the next morning, before dawn, his mind too full for sleep. He lay cocooned in the warmth of the blankets for a while with his arms around Kriss, listening to his steady breathing, and tried to gather his thoughts into a workable plan of action. His determination to prove Kenney's innocence was as strong as ever.
As the first golden rays of the sun peeped through the blinds, Reggy gently extricated himself from Kriss and got up. He smiled as Kriss immediately moved across to where he'd lain, his hand searching for him even in sleep, and bent down to kiss his cheek softly. He was almost tempted to crawl back into bed with him, it was their day off after all, but he had a mission to accomplish so he got dressed and left his lover sleeping peacefully.
After brewing a much needed pot of coffee, Reggy sat down at the table with a mug and turned his laptop on. He could do most of the investigative work at home, but a certain amount only be done using the police database at the bureau. He would have to be very careful.
An hour and a half later he sat back and ran a hand through his hair in frustration. He'd managed to find the names of everyone who'd received the medal for distinguished service over the past twenty years, which was less than ten, and had cross-referenced those names to every police officer in the bureau with nothing to show for it, well , nothing helpful anyway. He knew one of the reasons why Kenney was a suspect now and why he was being framed; his uncle had received the medal twelve years ago. If Reggy could find that out easily enough, anyone could have. His musings were interrupted by a warm pair of arms coming around him and a soft kiss to his neck.
“Morning gorgeous,” a voice said in his ear.
Reggy's frown of concentration turned into a smile as he turned to give Kriss a proper kiss and pulled him onto his lap. “Morning.”
Kriss grinned and turned to peer at the computer screen, picking up Reggy's coffee cup then quickly discarding its stone cold contents with a grimace. “What are you doing?”
Reggy's voice was muffled as he nuzzled Kriss's neck. “Just some research for Kenney. I haven”t found anything promising so far though.”
“You should talk to him,” Kriss said seriously, “see what the feds have against him and go from there.”
Reggy straightened up, looking thoughtful. “That's a good idea,” he replied, pulling out his phone. “I'll get him to meet me at the coffee house in fifteen minutes.”
“Us,” Kriss corrected him, leaning in for a kiss, “and make it forty five minutes.”
Reggy raised his eyebrows, unable to suppress a grin. “Whatever did you have in mind?”
Kriss simply smirked as he got up and walked away. “Come back to bed and I'll show you.”
Reggy made a quick call to a very groggy Kenney then headed eagerly back to the bedroom, kicking the door shut behind him.
A little over forty five minutes later, they both entered the coffee house and saw Kenney raise his hand in greeting from a table near the back.
“Well, look what the cat's dragged in,” Holly beamed from behind the counter. “I was beginning to think you two were cheating on me with another coffee house.”
Reggy looked a little sheepish as they walked towards her. “Sorry Holly, it's been a bit hectic lately.”
She laughed and waved her hand. “It's okay; I know you boys are busy. I'm just missing my morning dose of sunshine.”
Kriss snorted. “You can't be talking about Reggy.” He was forced to dodge an elbow aimed at his ribs, and raised his hands in surrender. “Okay,” he laughed, “I'll go say hello to Kenney while you get the coffees.”
Holly studied Reggy's expression as he watched Kriss walk towards Kenney, and smiled. “You're very lucky.”
“Don't I know it,” he replied seriously, before turning to her and smiling. “Are you seeing anyone?”
She shook her head. “No such luck.” Her eyes twinkled as she added, “All the good ones are either married or gay. Now, what can I get you? The usual?”
She set about making them and Reggy looked thoughtfully over at the other two, who were already deep in conversation. Maybe something good could come out of this damned mess after all.
Kriss must have worked his magic because Kenney was smiling by the time Reggy joined them with the coffees. He certainly looked a lot better than the last time they'd seen him.
“How are you doing buddy?” Reggy asked, sliding in to sit beside Kriss and automatically laying a hand on his leg.
Kenney shrugged. “Okay, I guess. I actually started getting ready for work this morning, before I remembered that I couldn't go in. It's gonna take some getting used to.”
Kriss and Reggy both looked sympathetic. “We're gonna sort this out Kenney,” Kriss assured him.
“Are you swapping your paramedic uniform for a cop's?” Kenney asked with a smile.
“Well, no, I wouldn't go that far,” Kriss admitted, “but I'm gonna help any way I can.”
“Thanks. The feds seem pretty convinced that it was me though.”
Reggy leaned forward and picked up his coffee cup to take a sip. “What evidence do they have against you?”
Kenney looked around the room briefly before leaning forward as well, resting his arms in front of him. “I'm not supposed to discuss this with anyone,” he murmured, “and I'm being followed by a couple of agents.” He nodded slightly over Kriss's shoulder and Reggy turned, on the pretense of removing his jacket, to glance at two guys sitting a few tables away who might as well have had fed's T-shirts on.
“Wow, they've really got the undercover look down,” Reggy said sarcastically as he turned back, keeping his voice low, and Kenney grinned.
“So, what aren't you allowed to tell us?” Reggy asked with a smirk. “I know that your uncle received the medal for distinguished service.”
Kenney looked surprised for a moment, then sighed. “Yeah, that certainly didn't help my case. Uncle Bill was forced to take early retirement some years ago, which he fought every step of the way. I can't say I blame him.”
Reggy shook his head. “Let me guess; cutbacks?”
“Yep; some things never change, do they? Anyway, the last I heard he'd moved out east somewhere. He hasn't been in contact for a while. The feds obviously can't find him either.”
Reggy took another mouthful of coffee. “Okay, what else?”
Kenney lowered his voice further, and Kriss had to lean forward to hear him. “They traced calls to the bomber back to the phone on my desk. I couldn't believe it when they told me, but they showed me the phone records and it was right there in black and white.”
“Surely that doesn't prove anything,” Kriss murmured, looking sideways at Reggy for back-up. “With the amount of people coming and going in the bureau, anyone could have made those calls undetected.”
Reggy nodded, but looked grim. “More fuel for the fire though.”
“And they found more incriminating evidence on my computer,” Kenney continued, staring down into his almost empty cup. “Whoever's setting me up is doing a damn good job.”
“Anyone need a refill?”
The three of them visibly jumped at Holly's voice, then looked up at her in relief.
“No, we're fine thanks Holly,” Reggy said warmly. “Hey, I don't think you've met our friend yet. Holly, Kenney, Kenney, Holly.”
“Nice to meet you,” Holly smiled. “You're not a fire-fighter by any chance, are you? Then we'd have all three emergency services covered.”
Kenney grinned back at her. “I'm afraid not; I work with Reggy.”
“Ah, another police officer. That's good to know.”
While Kenney and Holly carried on chatting, Reggy caught Kriss's eye and they shared a secret smile. Reggy suddenly felt very confident that they would make it through this; hell, as long as they all stuck together, he could almost believe that they could take on the whole world and win.