Charlie looked out over the city. From his vantage point on the roof, it was easy to reach out your arm and touch any of the offices and cars visible from here. It’s all connected. We’re all connected. We impact one another with our every action. “Control your thoughts, and gain greater control of your actions.”
“My sentiments entirely, Detective Crews.” Jack Reese.
“You came,” Charlie said.
“How could I resist?”
How easy it would be to say something fitting like ‘in resisting, we are taking control,’ but that would draw away from what needed to be done and be asked. “You know what’s going on?”
“I know about a lot of things going on, Detective, so you’ll have to be a bit more specific than that.”
“The officers from Eureka.”
“I’m aware they’re here,” was all Jack Reese said.
“You’re from Eureka.”
He looked at Crews. “Mind if I join you?”
Jack stood at the edge of the roof now, just like Charlie. Neither was in arm’s-reach of the other. “Dani told you,” flatly.
If he’d had a fruit, Charlie would’ve bit into it to punctuate the first word: “That is an assumption.”
“But a valid one. I didn’t tell you. My wife didn’t tell you. Neither of the visiting officers would have told you. That leaves Dani.”
“A valid assumption,” Crews repeated.
“Yes. Now, was there a question attached, or did you come up here to mention Eureka for no reason?” I’m not fond of fishing trips, Detective.
“I did.” There is always a reason. “Were you expecting them?”
“We knew they would come eventually, but not this soon.”
‘We’? “Why did you leave?”
Besides the fact that an opportunity arose, affording us the chance to leave? “We had to,” Jack Reese said frankly. “We couldn’t do in there, what we were going to do.”
“And what were you going to do?” Crews asked.
“Raise our daughter.”
“And find you.”
If Crews had been chewing, he might’ve choked at that. “Me?”
Amused, “You can’t tell me you’ve never wondered ‘why me?’ or ‘what’s the purpose of all this?’ …can you, Detective?”
“I’ve wondered,” he confirms, only just keeping his voice unchanged.”So. Why me?”
“Because you could survive prison and, when you get out, you wouldn’t sink into obscurity. Because we knew you’d fight.” Would redeem yourself and your reputation before you finished or before you let yourself contemplate finishing.
Charlie heard the tenses – ‘could’ and not ‘did’ – “You knew all this…before I was accused?”
Of the few times Charlie wished he was wearing a wire… That’s a bit past premeditation. “How do I fit into these plans?” When he was met with silence, “They’re here, Jack; right now.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“I’m just saying.”
Jack spent a bit longer looking out at the city. “You were supposed to be determined to not just take me down, not just shut down my operation, but also to bring an end to the Black Project community that created me.”
“And what about your daughter?” Crews asked.
“The same as she’s always been: a variable.” No matter how much we’ve tried to keep her from being too much of one. I suppose I should have been relieved that at least she didn’t draw attention.
“And which of you,” Dani asked, stepping out from hiding, “determined all this?”
Jack said nothing to implicate or incriminate her mother.
“Jack?” Crews asked.
“What do you need?” Jack asked.
Dani didn’t bother asking ‘you mean besides an honest answer?’ because her father had always been good with those – the more cutting of a truth, the better. The one way he’s like Crews. Only at least Crews’ aphorisms build you up while they’re taking the floor out from under you. “Think you could get them talking?” she asked her Dad.
“I know I will.” Not ‘I know I can’ or ‘I know I could.’
“Thanks for doing this,” Crews said.
“I’m not doing this for your sake.”
For me? “Thank you,” Dani says.
“You’re not the only reason,” Jack Reese says before he walks away.
A bit later that day…
Where are you two? Dani wondered as she stood in the park with Jack Carter and Jo Lupo. So far, no sign of Crews or of her father. So either they’ve killed each other, or they’re stuck in traffic.
“Wish we could help,” Jo said. “But our hands are tied.”
“You like that?” Dani couldn’t help but ask.
“Being stunned is bad enough,” Carter said.
“We’re not talking about arrests, Carter,” Jo said.
“Oh. Never mind then.”
“No,” Dani said, “I want to hear this.”
Somehow I doubt I can hide this behind a ‘its classified.’ “I was hit with a juiced-up cattleprod by some Great White Hunter.”
“On the outskirts, yeah,” Carter said.
“They have Great White Hunters?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe. Nutcase.”
“Slightly eccentric,” Jo corrected.
“Sure,” not believing it. At all.
“He means well.”
Dani snerked. “Are you and he…?”
Jo shuddered, and brandished one palm through the air between them, settling that hand back down again; all in a smooth gesture. “Zoe helped snap me out of that delusion.”
“My daughter,” Carter said.
“Oh, right, the one you mentioned back at Crews’ place.”
“That’s the one.”
“Look, Cuz,” Jo said to Dani, “I know where you’re going with this.”
“Of course you do,” Dani said.
“You’re trying to get us to relax, thinking that we’ll then be more likely to tell you stuff.”
“I would never so anything so low.”
“For one thing, I already know you’re incapable of relaxing.” It’s like trying to get a straight answer out of Crews.
“Well,” Jack Carter said, “there was the -”
“Carter!” Jo snapped.
“Nevermind,” Carter said to Dani.
“You – actually – relaxed?” Dani asked Jo, laughter threatening to spill out with each word.
“Against my will,” Jo said.
“Figures. But I know that, one day, my little cousin will grow up and learn to relax.” Okay, only one case of pot-and-kettle there.
“’Little cousin’?” Carter asked.
Jo stood up, standing by Dani. “Yeah, I’m a little younger than her.” Dani glared up at her, but didn’t say anything because –
“Don’t. Fight,” Jack Reese said, him and Crews walking up to them. “We need to have a family reunion,” Jack Reese said, all business and formality. “Crews, keep an eye on Sheriff Carter here.”
“Okay,” Crews said, taking a seat on the bench, and tossed one of the two apples – which he’d brought with him – to Carter, who caught it.
“You two gonna be okay?” Dani asked.
“We’ll be fine,” Crews said.
“Try not to kill him,” Jo said.
“No problem,” Carter said.
“I was talking to the other guy.”
As the two Reeses and one Lupo walked away, Crews and Carter were silent. After a while, it got to be too much for him, and Carter said, “You’ve got a nice partner.”
“Yup,” Crews agreed, taking a bite from his apple.
Crews looked at him, “Yeah,” then returned his gaze to where it’d been. “Fast, too.”
“Never hurts to have good reflexes.”
“And she’s fast on foot too,” Crews said, agreeing.