Part one: The Bomber
Chapter One: Spilt Coffee
It is said, that there is an equation that can predict the future thought random events. We call it fate or being in the right place at the right time. Whatever it is, one tiny moment turns Reggy's life upside-down.
When Reggy Drew Kistoff woke up that morning he thought it was just another routine day on the job. He'd been in the Harris, New York PD for over fifteen years; some might say he lived for it. There was certainly little else in his life but he was, for the most part, content with that. Sure, he got a little lonely around the holidays but so did lots of people. As long as he was putting criminals away he felt he was fulfilling his purpose in life.
Of course that didn't stop Greg Waterrun, his partner on the force, from constantly nagging him about his personal life but he had learns to tune it out. He'd come out a few years ago, encouraged by some of his gay friends in the force, and had been relieved by the calm acceptance of his sexuality. He had hidden it for years, worried about the reactions and the stigma associated with it but everyone had been very supportive....well mostly everyone. Anyway the truth was he didn't think he'd ever find the right man to share his life with. He was certainly never going on another blind date after the last disaster which Greg set up. He should have expected it really; after all, Greg was very straight and happily married.
Anyway, that morning started out like any other. Greg and Reggy stopped at their usual coffee house for a much needed dose of caffeine, Greg shouting what he wanted as Reggy got out of the car and went inside. There was a small queue of people waiting at the counter so he joined the line and waited patiently. Some of the other customers noticed his uniform and nodded politely to him with a smile which he returned.
"Hey Reggy," the girl behind the counter smiled as she turned to serve him, "what can I get you this morning?"
"Morning Holly," Reggy grinned, "can I just get a large mocha and cappuccino please?"
Reggy glanced at his watch as she began working the coffee machine; he didn't want to be late in today. The chief was holding a meeting to discuss the recent terrorist threats. The anonymous phone calls were initially thought to be hoaxes but last week a car had exploded near the center of the city. Luckily no one was killed but it had significantly raised the threat level and brought the whole force under media scrutiny.
"There you go Reggy."
Reggy looked up and smiled, grabbing the coffees and put the money onto the counter. "Thanks Holly, I'll see you tomorrow."
He turned to leave and she called, "Stay safe." Reggy looked back to smile at her and walked straight into a warm body, spilling coffee down the front of it.
"Oh God, I'm so sorry," Reggy said sincerely, grabbing a napkin from the counter and dabbing at the spreading stain, "I can't believe I just did that."
"It's okay," a deep, pleasant sounding voice replied.
Reggy raised his head and found himself looking into a pair of amused icy blue eyes, that might contain hints of silver in the right light. The man he'd bumped into had an open friendly face and was smiling at him slightly which brought out his dimples. His hair was black and it barely hair length regulations, held a youthful look and an indefinable warmth in his features. He wasn't quite as tall as Reggy but he had a good physique. Reggy idly glanced down at his left hand and noted that he wasn't wearing a wedding ring. What the hell am I doing? he thought, suddenly realizing that he'd been staring for a minute without saying anything. He cleared his throat loudly.
"I'm sorry, that's gonna stain."
"It's my fault, I should have watched where I was going," the man replied easily. "Let me buy you a replacement."
"Oh no, you don't have to do that," Reggy interjected quickly.
"No, but I want to," the man smiled, moving to speak quickly to Holly who had been watching the scene with interest. As Holly rushed to make another, the man turned back to Reggy, who was still staring at him, and smiled. "Are you on duty?" he asked, gesturing to Reggy's uniform.
Reggy shook himself out of his daze. "Er...yeah, I'm just on my way in."
Greg chose that moment to sound his horn loudly and they both turned to look out of the window at him.
"That's my partner," Reggy explained, trying to ignore Greg who was pointing to his watch in an exaggerated manner.
"Here you go," Holly called from behind them and they both turned back to her. The man paid her and passed the coffee to Reggy who smiled and thanked him as Greg beeped again.
"I've gotta go," Reggy said, almost reluctantly. "I'm sorry again," he added pointing to the man's shirt.
"Don't worry about it."
Reggy was almost at the door when he suddenly remembered that he'd never introduced himself. He turned around and called, "I'm Reggy by the way."
"Kriss," the man relied with a smile.
"Do you come here every morning?" Reggy asked, trying not to sound too hopeful
Kriss shrugged. "Most mornings. I'm sure we'll run into each other again....maybe not quite so literally next time though."
Reggy grinned and went out to the car where Greg was tapping his hands on the wheel impatiently.
"What the hell were you doing in there?" Greg asked as soon as he got in, "Growing your own beans and making the coffee from scratch?"
Reggy rolled his eyes and passed Greg's coffee over. Greg took a mouthful before starting the engine and pulling away. "Who was that guy you were talking to anyway?"
Reggy smiled and stared out of the window. "Just someone I ran into."
Reggy and Greg arrived at the Harris Police Central Bureau a little later than planned and hurried into the building, throwing their empty coffee cups in the trash as they passed it. It was packed inside; the loud murmur of many different conversations filling the main room.
"There's Kip and Kenney," Greg shouted to Reggy over the clamor, pointing to a far corner of the room. It took them a while to push through the crowd but they eventually reached their two friends.
"You two are cutting it fine aren't you?" Kip asked with raised eyebrows.
"Blame him," Greg replied, gesturing to Reggy, "he was chatting to a mystery man in the coffee shop."
"Oooh, tell me more," Kip said excitedly and Reggy rolled his eyes. Along with Reggy, Kip was one of the few gay police officers in the department but he was much more open and flamboyant about it. No one who met Kip could doubt his sexuality. Kenney, his partner on the force, was straight and more reserved but had learned to accept Kip's overwhelming personality with a sort of resigned amusement.
"There's nothing to tell," Reggy replied firmly, elbowing Greg with a glare. "I bumped into someone and we got talking."
"Mmm hmm," Kip said knowingly, "and was he cute?"
Reggy was spared the embarrassment of answering when a loud voice called for silence. They all turned to see Taliesin, their chief, standing in front of the large crowd of officers.
"Okay people," he began in a no nonsense voice, "we've got a situation on our hands. The car bombing last week has created a media frenzy with the spotlight landing squarely on our shoulders. Now, we have no idea yet who's behind it or if they plan to hit more targets; none of the known terrorist factions have claimed responsibility.
Until we have sufficient intelligence to act on I want each and every one of you to be on high alert. If you see anything suspicious out on the street I want you to call it in immediately; no one was hurt by the last bomb but next time we might not be so lucky. The citizens of Harris are counting on us to keep them safe so let's find this sonofabitch and put him away for good. Now get to it."
There were several shouts of, "Yes chief," before everyone started moving off towards their respective areas.
"I get the feeling this is gonna be a long day," Reggy sighed as the four of them walked out together. Greg slung an arm around his shoulder casually, "I got your back buddy."
"Don't think you're off the hook Reggy," Kip called as he and Kenney got into their squad car, "I want to hear all about this mystery man of yours later."
Kenney gave him a sympathetic look and Reggy groaned, knowing Kip was going to be a dog with a bone until he got all the details.
Despite Reggy's gloomy prediction, the rest of the day passed fairly smoothly. They had to deal with the usual sort of incidents, including a smash and grab at a jewelery store, a mugging, several traffic accidents, and a burglary, but nothing major.
Reggy didn't see Kriss at the coffee house the following morning, despite loitering there longer than usual in the vain hoping that he'd show up. Greg, of course, took great pleasure in teasing him about it for the rest of the day and telling Kip about it as soon as he was able. Kip had made it his personal mission to bug Reggy into spilling the beans about his coffee shop encounter even though, as Reggy kept informing him, there was really nothing to tell.
Reggy felt increasingly disappointed as the days went by without him meeting Kriss again. He couldn't really explain why this man had affected him so much. He'd just felt an instant connection to him, almost as if they'd known each other for years.
"I'm sure you'll bump into him again Reggy."
Reggy came out of his thoughts and looked over at his partner in the driving seat who was smiling at him reassuringly. Greg had noticed Reggy staring off into space a lot more than usual and it wasn't difficult to work out why, after all he'd seen Reggy's crestfallen expression every morning despite Reggy's efforts to hide it.
Reggy opened his mouth to answer but the sudden blare of the police radio drew their attention.
"Unit 9, do you copy?"
Reggy picked up the radio and held it to his mouth. "This is unit 9, go ahead dispatch."
"Unit 9, we have reports of a 10-71 in progress. Are you able to attend, over?"
Reggy looked over at Greg as he responded. "Affirmative dispatch, what's the address, over?"
Greg started the engine as the address was provided and pulled away quickly, hitting the sirens.
"10-4," Reggy acknowledged, putting the radio back and sitting back as they sped through the streets. 10-71 was the police code for a shooting so they both knew it was serious and could possibly be a homicide.
They arrived at the specified address, a large apartment building, within a few minutes. Both of them took out their guns and held them ready as they moved carefully inside and up the stairs. When they reached the right apartment, they went to either side of the closed door before knocking.
"Harris PD, open up."
When there was no response Reggy kicked the door in and they entered the apartment, alert for any movement or possible danger. A man was lying on the floor by one of the windows, unmoving and bleeding heavily from a bullet wound to the shoulder. Reggy went to check him while Greg searched the rest of the apartment.
"All clear," he said as he returned. "Looks like whoever did this is long gone. How's he looking?"
"He's lost a lot of blood," Reggy replied, grabbing a towel and holding it firmly over the wound.
"I'll call it in and request an ambulance," Greg said, moving to the door quickly.
While he was gone Reggy studied the victim's pale face. He was young, definitely no older than twenty, and looked fairly well off if his apartment was anything to go by. Reggy idly wondered how he'd ended up like this. Maybe he'd fallen in with the wrong crowd; after all, that was easy to do in this town. So many people came here after the fail to find fame and fortune three cities over, only once here are dragged down by crime and drugs. He searched the man's pockets with his free hand and found a wallet, opening it up to look for any identification.
"Aha," he said, finding the drivers license. Patrick Monroe, date of birth June 10th 1984. He looked back down at the man's face and said, "Hi Patrick, you're gonna be okay, you hear me?"
Greg came back in a few minutes later. The towel Reggy was using to stem the bleeding was rapidly getting saturated and he had to keep checking the man's pulse.
"Where are the damn paramedics?" he said impatiently after several more minutes had passed.
"Here," a voice said from the doorway and Reggy looked up to see two paramedics rushing in. His mouth fell open in shock as his gaze locked with a pair of familiar blue eyes.
Kriss only faltered slightly as he recognized Reggy, giving him a quick smile. Reggy, meanwhile, was staring at him in complete astonishment.
"What have we got?" Kriss asked urgently, dropping to his knees beside the victim.
Reggy shook himself out of his daze and tried to concentrate. "Patrick Monroe; single gunshot wound to the right shoulder. He's lost a lot of blood."
Kriss checked the man's pulse before lifting Reggy's hand to look at the wound and Reggy's heart flipped unexpectedly at his touch. Reggy's reaction to Kriss's arrival hadn't gone unnoticed by Greg who was smirking broadly behind them.
While Kriss's younger partner was busy checking the man's airway and putting an oxygen mask over his face, Kriss opened his kit and began removing various items. Reggy watched him bandage the wound securely, effectively stopping the bleeding, before preparing to insert a needle into a vein in the man's arm.
"Can you go and grab the stretcher Brad?" Kriss asked without looking up from his task.
"Sure." His partner got up and left the room as Kriss patted the vein. Reggy looked away as the needle went in, having never been comfortable with them. He looked back to see Kriss attaching the drip and was impressed with his calm professionalism.
"Is he gonna be okay?" Reggy asked, breaking the silence.
"He should be," Kriss replied confidently. "Here, hold this up for me."
He handed Reggy the saline bag, proceeding to gather up his things, and Reggy was suddenly at a loss for what to say as he watched him.
Kriss looked up and caught his eye. "So have you had your dose of caffeine this morning?" he asked with a smile.
"Yeah," Reggy grinned, "and I managed to drink it without throwing it over anybody too."
Kriss chuckled which made Reggy feel a little giddy.
Unfortunately, Brad chose that moment to return with the stretcher, followed by several crime scene investigators who Greg went over to deal with. Once Patrick was strapped onto the stretcher the three of them got to their feet and lifted it carefully.
"Can I go with him?" Reggy asked, trying not to sound too hopeful. "I'll need to take a statement when he regains consciousness."
Okay, it was a pathetic excuse. He could have quite easily made his own way to the hospital, but he didn't want Kriss to disappear again too soon. Brad obviously thought the same thing and looked over at him suspiciously but didn't comment as they moved towards the door.
"No problem," Kriss replied easily and Reggy tried not to look too happy, only partially succeeding. He called to Greg to let him know where he was going and Greg grinned, surreptitiously giving him the thumbs up.
It worked out perfectly for Reggy. After loading Patrick into the ambulance Brad climbed into the front to drive, so Reggy was left sitting in the back with Kriss as they set off with sirens blaring. Kriss took the saline bag from him and attached it to a hook above Patrick's head.
"So, how long have you been doing this?" Reggy asked.
Kriss was busy checking Patrick's vitals and writing them on a chart. "Eighteen years," he replied without looking up.
"Wow," Reggy replied, impressed. "What made you want to become a paramedic?"
"What made you want to be a cop?" Kriss countered, glancing up briefly at him.
Reggy shrugged. "Just wanted to help people I guess."
"Yeah Boooy," Kriss replied with a smile which Reggy found himself automatically returning. He was feeling more and more like a kid with a crush and couldn't tear his gaze away from Kriss's face.
Reggy asked, trying to cover the awkward moment. "Where did you grow up?"
"Ahh that's it. Which town?"
Kriss looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "Do you interrogate everyone like this?" he asked, eyes twinkling in amusement.
Only the ones I like, Reggy thought to himself. "Sorry," he said out loud, "I guess it's the cop in me. You don't have to answer if you don't want to."
Kriss laughed. "It's okay, I'm just messing with you. I grew up in Idaho Falls and moved down here when I was in my twenties."
"Really?" Reggy asked in surprise. "I spent part of my childhood in Idaho Falls."
"It's a small world," Kriss smiled, checking Patrick's blood pressure. "Any more questions officer?"
Of course there was one question that Reggy really wanted to ask but he was desperately trying to pluck up the courage. However, before he could form the words the ambulance screeched to a halt and the doors were thrown open.
There was a bustle of activity as Patrick was unloaded and Kriss jumped out to relay the status of his condition to the waiting medics. Reggy swore under his breath and got out reluctantly, wishing the journey could have lasted just a few more minutes. Patrick was rushed into the hospital and Reggy started to follow as Kriss turned back towards him.
"Well, it was nice to see you again Reggy," Kriss smiled as they met in the middle, "and this time I'm leaving relatively unscathed."
Reggy grinned and realized it was now or never. He opened his mouth, looking into Kriss's eyes, but suddenly lost his nerve. He floundered for a moment before settling on, "Yeah, I'll see you around."
Kriss studied him for a moment then nodded and Reggy turned away, cursing his own cowardice as he walked towards the hospital entrance. As he reached the doors he felt a hand on his arm and turned, surprised to see that Kriss had caught him up.
"Hey, I was just wondering if you'd like to grab a coffee after my shift finishes."
Reggy stared at him, rendered momentarily speechless, and Kriss smiled, holding his hands up. "You don't have to if you don't want to. I just thought you might like to continue your interrogation."
"Sure," Reggy croaked before clearing his throat. "I'd like that." He could see Brad standing impatiently in the background with his arms crossed but couldn't care less.
"Great," Kriss grinned. "I finish at six so shall we say six thirty at the coffee house?"
Reggy started to say it's a date but quickly changed it to, "Sure."
"Okay," Kriss said as he started to walk back to Brad, "I'll see you then."
Reggy's steps were suddenly a lot lighter as he walked through the hospital's automatic doors.