Chapters 21 - 25
Copyright © 2009 by the author under the pseudonym Gee Whillickers. All rights reserved.
The author grants the Nifty Archive a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to display this work.
This work is not permitted to be displayed or reproduced in any form, specifically on any website or internet site, except as noted above or by specific permission of the author. If you want to host it, ask.
All authors like feedback, including this one. Let the authors of the works you read know what you think. If you like their work and let them know, they'll be more likely to write more. You can contact this author at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you and I will accept all valid comments and criticism. Flames will be trashed.
This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any actual place, event, or person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This story is intended for adults and contains subject matter not suitable for children. Parental Advisory in effect.
** 21 **
Dr. Mills looked around at the large group of people assembled in front of him. They were sitting in three rows of folding chairs arranged in Ray's large hospital room. The group included Ray, dressed in a hospital gown, Ray's parents, Dennis and his parents Brenda and Tim sitting tightly together, Ray's Aunt Kate and Uncle Jerry, holding hands, Mr. Fred Dorian from Ray's school, and Patrick. Sitting slightly apart from this group was another collection of people. They included David Lewis, head of the hospital's legal department, two doctors from the hospital's ethics committee, two graduate students involved in the treatment study, the Administrator of the hospital Dr. Richard Strade, and the nursing staff Dr. Mills had selected. Dr. Mills let his eyes move over the group, hesitating momentarily on Ray and Patrick sitting very close together, in fact touching, before he opened his mouth to speak.
"Thank you all for being here, and for coming early. I wanted this chance to talk to you all as a group before we get started. There's a few things we need to go over, and I want to ensure everybody knows what they're committing to before we start.
"The hospital's ethics committee and legal department will, for obvious reasons, be monitoring Ray's treatment closely for the entire time. That's why they are here. They will not be staying for this entire talk but I wanted to introduce them as you will see them around from time to time.
We have a computer with all of the information from all of the previous studies loaded on it in the lounge next door. It also has internet access so you can look up whatever you please. Also, extensive files of information from other patients are on the bookshelf, with identifying information removed. You all deserve to know as much as I do about this.
"The human body has an amazing ability to deal with trauma." Dr. Mills eyes locked on Ray. "This will be difficult Ray. But there are a few mitigating factors, thankfully. First of all, the information from our other patients indicates that the pain won't quite be constant. You will have some moments where the pain will recede. Furthermore, your body will use sleep as much as it can as a way to give itself a break. Fortunately, we can help somewhat here, but not to the degree we would like. Ray will still need to be awake regularly. As far as managing the psychological and emotional effects of this treatment on Ray and, for that matter, on all of you, I have hired from the university's department of psychology the absolute best in the entire region on psychological trauma. I'd like to introduce you all to Dr. Eduardo Bianchi."
An extremely effeminate looking man joined Dr. Mills. He looked to be in his very fit mid thirties. He was dressed in black soft shoes, black leather pants, and a tight black t-shirt. He wore a wide gray belt with a large silver buckle as well as a thin bright silver neck chain worn laying on top of his t-shirt. His hair was short, black, and gelled up in a flamboyant style. A hospital ID card was clipped to his t-shirt, very near, it almost looked like on, his nipple. He shook Dr. Mill's hand and faced his audience, waiting while Dr. Mills sat down with the rest of the group to watch the proceedings.
He sounded much like he looked, his voice containing a strong lilting lisp. Despite this, he came across as a man who was sure of himself and his place in the world. "Thank you all so much for having me here. I am so looking forward to helping. I was simply overjoyed when Dr. Mills contacted me, having heard through the university gossip of this interesting case. I have since talked for ages and ages with Dr. Mills and have read through all of the papers I've been given. I was also lucky enough to speak with Ray for a wee bit before everyone arrived. He is a simply delightful boy. Everyone, it's no nice to meet you. Now, if you would all be so kind, I would like to talk to Ray and his personal supports in private please, so we can agree on some principles of care. Thank you to the rest of you for the wonderful and caring support you will be providing. I hope you can stay around a wee bit and chat with the group once I'm finished here." He smiled his dismissal to the others in the room and waited until they all shuffled out, leaving just Ray, his group of family and friends, and Dr. Mills.
"Now, as you know, this kind of ongoing trauma can have simply nasty long terms effects on the psyche. Years and years of study of prisoners of war, accident victims, abuse victims, and the like have shown that the people who have recovered most quickly and easily from this kind of ordeal are those who have a very strong and loving group of people close to them, and those who have ever so much to look forward to. That is why I am simply delighted to see all of you here." Dr. Bianchi looked through the group as he spoke, his eyes spent a few seconds meeting everybody else's eyes before resting on Ray.
"Now, Ray. First of all we need to draw up the schedule of people who will be here when you need them."
Karen Huntley spoke up. "Oh, Dr. Bianchi, I've already done that." She shuffled around in her purse for a moment before pulling out a piece of paper, and bringing it up to where Eduardo was standing. She hesistated slightly before handing it over, like she wasn't quite sure what to make of this unusual man. "Here it is."
Dr. Bianchi spent a moment looking over the schedule before clucking his tongue and shaking his head. "No, no. Oh dear, oh dear. I'm afraid this won't do at all. This schedule seems to be based on the convenience of your schedules and some unspoken agenda. Instead, it absolutely must be based on Ray's needs. We'll have to make some changes." He pulled a pen out from behind his ear and held it poised above a fresh piece of paper. His eyes panned the audience, then looked down again at the paper Karen had handed him, apparently comparing names with faces. "Now, which one of you is the boyfriend, uh, Patrick I believe?" he asked while smiling at Ray.
His audience remained uncomfortably quiet, aside from some whispered murmuring. Dr. Bianchi looked up and looked around carefully at their faces, noting Ray sitting tensely erect, his face somewhat red, Patrick rigidly sitting beside him, his face just as red and looking somewhat horrified. His eyes played over Karen's awkward expression, Dennis' tightly controlled but slightly sad look, and Fred Dorian's surprised and yet somehow depressed one. Everybody else in the room looked shocked, bemused, amazed, or all three.
Dr. Bianchi spent a moment looking at the small audience. He began nodding his head thoughtfully, as if just now figuring something out. "Ah, yes. I think I see." he said, smiling gently. "No. No, no, no this won't do at all." He sighed loudly. "We need more time, so much more time. But, time is something we simply don't have. We'll just have to manage I suppose. Yes, I'll just have to handle it this way."
Dr. Bianchi turned his attention to Karen. His voice changed and almost completely lost its lilt. Almost. "Now, Karen Huntley, you are Ray's mother. He needs you. He needs a clear thinking, loving, and understanding mother. Your eleven year old son likes men. He likes and wants sex, and is probably already having sex." He ignored Ray's and Patrick's deepening blushes. "These are facts. You can ignore them, fight them, or accept them. Only one of these three choices will really help Ray over the next two weeks." He turned to Dennis, his voice resuming its gentle lilting lisp. "Don't despair honey. He needs you as much as anyone. You are more important in Ray's life than I think you realize." Ignoring Dennis' embarrassment and Brenda's and Tim's odd looks towards their son Dr. Bianchi turned his attention to Fred Dorian. "Your support will be as important as anyone's. He needs you here too. Your turn will come, somewhere, with someone. In the meantime, you are where you need to be." Finally, his attention turned to Patrick and Ray. "Don't worry about what the others think right now. There are real obstacles for you but those are not important right now, especially for the next two weeks. Be who you are." Finally, to the room at large. "People, people, come, come now. We really don't have time for this silliness. Ray needs all of you, and he needs you to be mature, understanding, and accepting of what is. We need to acknowledge the pink elephant in the room. For Ray's sake.
"People, to lean on an overused metaphor, we all have to play the hands we are dealt in life. Not try to fold, not try to cheat, and not try to change the hands of others. It is what we do with what we have been given that matters on this side of existence, nothing else." He looked directly at Ray, Patrick, Dennis, and Fred Dorian in turn as he said this.
He looked around the room carefully and glanced down at the list of names Karen had provided to him. "Ray will need his man beside him, especially at the beginning. In the middle, when it's bad, he will likely regress somewhat. Maybe more than somewhat. At that time the most important people for him to have around will be his mom and his dad. Towards the end, he will again require the support, motivation, and love of his man. During all of this, he will need all of you. You will attend Ray two at a time. Not for Ray's sake, for your own. You will find you will need to lean on each other more than you have ever leaned on anyone in your lives. You each play a role. There will be times when certain ones of you, each one of you, will be needed more than others, the schedule notwithstanding. I hope you are all up for sudden 3 AM wake up calls. Dennis, as Ray's very close, uh, friend and age mate, your role will be secondary only to Patrick and Ray's parents." Brenda looked like she was about to say something, but seemed to quickly change her mind. "I hope you're up for it, dear." continued Eduardo. "The rest of you, get over it dears. We have work to do."
His voice became a bit more formal, more professional, and quieter. "It will get bad. Ray, there will be times when you are going to beg for it to stop. To simply let you die. You will mean it at the time. I am not trying to scare you but this is no time to avoid the facts. I will tell you now, we won't let that happen, no matter how much you beg. You will hate us for that. Hate beyond measure. That's why that particular role will be taken on very carefully. Only Dr. Mills and myself will provide that message, along perhaps with certain members of your nursing staff. Always remember, athough you probably won't, there will be an end to the pain, and you will get through this.
"For the rest of you, I will be here as much as possible, and on call the rest of the time. You will need to talk to me. Though I can see in some of your faces that you think you won't. If you don't approach me when you need to, I will approach you. If that doesn't work, you'll be off the schedule and the rest of us will pick up the slack. Now, people, does anyone have any questions?"
"Ok. Let's get to work. We have a boy to save."
* * *
Patrick wandered around thinking hard to himself as the support group and the other hospital staff that were present for the first part of the meeting mingled briefly. Dr. Mills moved around the area handing out some final instructions and information. Kate approached Patrick and stood looking at him for a moment before speaking.
"Patrick. It's nice to meet you." She held out her hand. "I think we need to talk."
Nonplussed, and cautious, Patrick shook her hand and returned the greeting.
"You are going to need me," said Kate. "I believe you are aware of the police investigation concerning Ray, and the allegations of abuse?"
"Uh, yes I am. I'm not sure how that concerns me though. This happened before I even met Ray."
"I can promise you, it will concern you at some point. I know Detective Stimson. You will need to be aware, and on guard."
"Thank you Kate. I understand that you're representing Ray and his family as their lawyer, as well, of course, as supporting him here as his Aunt. Uh, I understand your concerns but I'm not sure what you think I should do."
"Nothing right now. Well. Actually one thing. Here is my card. I want you, right now, at this very moment, to program my number into your cell phone, on a speedial button. When the time comes, and it will, I want you to call me. As for the rest, we'll talk over the next few days when we have some time."
** 22 **
Patrick watched as the nurses, technicians, and students wheeled in a large amount of equipment and began hooking it up. Ray, looking extremely nervous, lay on his bed. The only ones in the room now of Ray's support team were Patrick and Craig. Eduardo had finished his schedule and distributed it. Karen seemed resigned to the new order of things. Patrick was sitting on one side of Ray and was holding his hand tightly, giving reassurance. Craig sat further down the bed, on the same side but nearer to Ray's feet. The other side of the bed was taken up by equipment and staff, who were now at the stage of attaching various equipment to Ray.
Ray was breathing fast. He hadn't eaten but was looking queasy, like he wanted throw up. He looked scared. Petrified in fact. Patrick ignored the presence of Craig and was talking softly. "Ray, you will be fine. I will make sure of it. I am right here. I made you some promises and I will keep them." He smiled softly. "All of them. I love you."
Despite his fear and anxiety Ray's eyes met Patrick's and he weakly smiled at him. "I love you too Patrick."
Patrick knew that Craig heard the exchange, but for some reason didn't react. Patrick looked at Craig's face, saw his expression and he realized that, amazingly, it just didn't matter to Craig anymore. Maybe it would again later, but for now Craig's attention was completely focused on his son and his upcoming ordeal. He held his son's arm and gave his own reassurance.
The machines started up, the IV began to drip. It had begun.
* * *
Maybe this won't be so bad, Ray thought ten minutes later. It's uncomfortable but not too bad. A tingling had begun moving through his body, like the pins and needles people sometimes get in their feet after sitting on them too long.
Slowly, the intensity increased. Not uncomfortable anymore. Now painful. His arms and legs began throbbing. His head began to hurt. Ray began whimpering quietly, more in fear than in pain at first. He could feel the pain increase, and knew it wasn't close to the maximum yet. He gripped Patrick's hand as hard as he dared. Then gripped even harder.
The pain continued to heighten. Ray was in agony. It had only been thirty minutes and he was already regretting his decision. He looked at Patrick's face and resolved that somehow, someway, he would handle it.
A few minutes later he had forgotten that promise. He was yelling to all those around to turn off the equipment. After that, he wasn't really thinking about much of anything. Just writhing. And moaning.
* * *
Patrick and Craig sat with Ray, tears streaming freely down their faces as they witnessed what was happening to the boy they both loved. Two hours they sat. Holding him. Loving him. When they were relieved by Dennis and Karen they left the room, slumped down on the floor in the hallway as one, and sat holding their knees, heads down. It had been two hours. They were emotionally exhausted beyond measure. They were utterly unable to feel. How could anyone, how could Ray, wondered Patrick, last for two weeks of this hell.
One hour later as Patrick sat talking quietly to Craig in the adjacent room set up as a lounge for the support team, Dennis came out of Ray's room, replaced by Brenda. His shifts were shorter. He looked awful. He was crying freely, pale, and his eyes looked haunted. He ran to Patrick without a word and huddled in his arms, wailing loudly.
Oh god, Patrick thought, how are we going to get through this.
Two days passed. Then three. Then more. The schedule was adjusted, changed, then adjusted again. They were exhausted, but they found some of them could cope better than others. Dennis' dad Tim, though he hadn't dropped out, and indeed refused to, found that he simply could not handle more than one hour at Ray's bedside. Dennis, on the other hand, found some reserve of strength his parents didn't know he had. He began sitting with Ray for three hours at a time. Sometimes more. When his time was up, he had to almost be removed by force. Half an hour later, after resting in the lounge, he was attempting to return to Ray's side. The rest of the time he was different. More mature. He had changed.
Fred Dorian didn't talk much to the other members of the support group. But he was there like clockwork. He held Ray's hand and talked to him constantly during his shifts, offering reassurance, words of encouragement, and even making jokes. He then kept to himself or slept when he was relieved.
Ray looked pitiful, emaciated. Fed by intravenous, sleeping 14 to 16 hours a day, the tiniest amounts of solid food here and there, and in agony constantly, he barely acknowledged the people at his bedside. He somehow managed the smallest ghost of a fleeting smile for Patrick and for Dennis when he became aware of their presence. He rarely lay still. His voice was raw and hoarse from yelling and moaning. The support lounge next door had to be soundproofed by the second day for them to be able to get any relief. They all felt guilty about this.
Despite Eduardo's claim of going home and being on call sometimes, he rarely left the support lounge. He seemed to be talking to one or another of them almost constantly, reassuring, building, supporting, teaching.
Patrick was there most of all. He, in fact, had not left since the treatment started. Napping on one of the cots in the support lounge, he spent as much of his time as Eduardo allowed at Ray's side.
Exhausted after a three hour shift, Patrick sat in the lounge, mechanically shoveling some food into his mouth without tasting it. Eduardo approached him and sat down across from Patrick, folding his hands in front of him on the table before speaking.
"He needs you most of all you know," Eduardo said, almost, not quite, in a whisper.
Patrick twisted his face. "I'm doing everything I can. More. I don't know how much of this I can take."
"That's why you need to go home. Now. Until tomorrow. No earlier than noon."
"Go home? No. No, I can't go home," replied Patrick, feeling lost.
"You can. You will. I am not allowing you to take another shift until you've had twelve hours at home." Eduardo stopped for a moment and softly cleared his throat. "Patrick, he needs you. His man. Not some shell of a man. Go home. Then come back. Good night." With that Eduardo got up and moved to talk with Kate, who had also just finished her shift alongside Patrick.
Patrick slowly arose, spent a few moments searching until he found his truck keys and then made his way to the parking lot in a daze.
** 23 **
Exiting the hospital, the fresh air entered his nose. Patrick breathed of it deeply, smelling natural unfiltered air for the first time in days. Looking around he could see and hear the normality around him. People talking, cars driving past. He started to feel slightly better, slightly more normal. Then he felt guilty for doing so. Ray, his boy, his love, was back in there writhing in agony. He tried to brush off the feelings as best he could and he climbed into his truck and drove home slowly, aware of his probable lack of attention to his surroundings.
He arrived home and turned his truck into the driveway, realizing he didn't remember one bit of the trip between the hospital and here. Despite himself, he was glad to see his house as he stopped and turned off the engine. Climbing out of his truck he walked towards his doorway, stooping down to retrieve some flyers on the ground.
"Good evening. Mr. Patrick Duncan I believe?"
Patrick stood up and turned around slowly, suddenly more alert. He looked at the man standing behind him, dressed in a dark blue suit and holding a plain white plastic bag in one hand. Patrick just raised his eyebrows in response to the man's question.
"My name is Detective Stimson, from the Metro Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit. I believe we need to have a conversation. Shall we go inside?" Detective Stimson began walking towards Patrick's house.
Patrick was thankful for his conversations with Kate over the past few days as her training kicked in. He stood his ground, clicked the lock button for his truck on his keychain and placed his keys in the pocket containing his cellphone. With his hand still in his pocket, he felt for the button assigned to Kate and sliding his phone open he pressed it, holding it briefly. He felt it vibrate once briefly indicating that a call had been connected and he then removed his hands from his pockets and crossed his arms. "What would you like to discuss Detective?"
Patrick knew, from talking with Kate, that allowing the detective into his home without a warrant would be a mistake. Likewise his vehicle. He also knew he would need Kate's help as soon as possible. Finally, he knew Kate was at the hospital talking to Eduardo after her shift, and was likely even now seeing his name on her caller ID and hopefully making her way to him. He hoped she would be able to hear their conversation, muffled through Patrick's pocket.
"We've got you, Duncan. I know all about you. Don't even try to lie."
"Sorry Detective. I'm not sure what you are referring to. Good night." Patrick made to turn away.
"Stay right there Duncan. Come on, surely scum like you don't think you're smart enough to get away with this. Now, out with it. You might as well confess, I have you dead to rights."
"Sorry sir, I may have coasted through that Stop sign back there. You're right, I should've been paying more attention. Are you giving me a ticket?"
"Don't get cute Duncan. Assholes like you don't have the right. I think you'll find you really don't have a hope here. Now, admit it, you're fucking the Huntley boy, and we know all about it. You're probably coming from there now, your dick probably still stinks."
Patrick knew two things, thanks to Kate's coaching. If Stimson had enough evidence to arrest him, he would already be down at the station, and Detective Stimson's vulgar talk was designed to get him to react emotionally, to get him to stop thinking and just say something he'd regret.
Patrick found himself hoping Kate was speeding. He continued to try and stall, waiting as long as he dared before responding. "It sounds like you are making some strong statements there Detective. I have nothing more to say until I talk to my lawyer."
"Assholes like you only get the most useless public defenders. Don't waste everyone's time. I've got you." Detective Stimson reached into the plastic bag he was holding and with the end of a pen he pulled out an object Patrick recognized immediately. Ray's T-shirt. The one he had been wearing on the weekend when at Patrick's house.
"Interesting find I made at the Huntley place. There seems to be a bit of a stain here. I know damn well it's not his just by looking at him. He's not old enough. Any bets on what a DNA analysis will tell me?"
Ray stood for a moment staring at Stimson, trying hard to keep his face neutral, desperately trying to think of what to say or do. A car door slammed behind Patrick and he felt his shoulders slump with relief.
"Don't answer that question Patrick. Good evening Lee. Out harassing the civilians again I see?" Kate said, approaching the two men.
"Kate. He won't be needing you. Why would you represent this scumbag anyway? He's abusing your nephew for god's sake. I've got him," he said glancing at the T-shirt. He dropped the shirt back into the evidence bag.
"You have nothing. You haven't examined that shirt yet, which leads me to wonder, why not? Procured illegally perhaps? Trying for a rush confession?"
"Oh, don't worry about that Kate. I have what I need," answered the detective neutrally.
"You know Stimson, when you were in vice you were almost useful. Transfer back, and stop making innocent people's lives miserable. Now, unless you are arresting my client, get out of here."
Detective Stimson smiled grimly, seemingly satisfied about something, and turned and left. Kate and Patrick waited until he drove away before saying anything.
"That man is an ass, and a menace to children. I swear that somehow I will get him removed from the C.A. Unit. I don't know what it is, but he obviously has an axe to grind. I hope he doesn't find anything useful on that t-shirt," said Kate.
Patrick opened his mouth to answer.
"Don't answer," said Kate quickly, seeing Patrick's expression. She stopped for a moment looking at him. "Two weeks ago I would have done this differently. However, things have changed. I have seen you at Ray's bedside. I know you love him, and that he loves you. I support you. God help me. Now, don't tell me anything I don't need to know. If you do, I can't help you."
"Kate, what happens now?" asked Patrick.
"That depends. That man has gone too far. He's destroyed enough lives. We need some leverage. Some information on him."
Patrick thought for a moment. "Maybe I can help with that. Let's talk for a minute. Come on inside and I'll offer you a drink."
After Kate headed back to the hospital Patrick went upstairs and had a long hot shower. Wearing just a clean pair of boxers, he sat down at his computer. He was exhausted, he needed sleep, and he needed to be beside his boy in nine hours. But, he needed to do this first.
Patrick located the website of the metro police department and used a reverse DNS lookup on their domain to find every IP he could that belonged to them. Then, carefully covering his tracks as he went, he set to work.
It was almost too easy. It never ceased to amaze him how some government systems seemed to have less security than chain grocery stores. He was able to enter their network through a well known, and fixed two years ago, security hole in their firewall. Apparently they hadn't updated their systems in some time. If they were his clients he would've had them off of this software ages ago. Now, however, he was glad of their sloppiness.
He spent some time examining the computers on their network, ensuring himself he was in the right subnet. Eventually he had what he was looking for. Detective Stimson's computer. It was turned on, active, and exploitable. He did notice that Stimson had an extra layer of his own security software installed, but that too was trivial to get around using another well known exploit. Five minutes later he was mirroring Stimson's hard drive onto a removable drive sitting beside him plugged into a USB port. While it was copying, Patrick went to bed.
Seven hours later Patrick awoke with less than an hour before he needed to be back at the hospital. The much needed sleep had him feeling more like himself. He dressed, shaved, and brushed his teeth quickly before sitting down at his computer. He noted the copy was complete, logged off carefully, ensuring he didn't leave any traces, unplugged the removable drive and packed it with his other supplies, including his laptop computer. He phoned Kate, let her know it was done, and then he then left for the hospital.
** 24 **
Ray was almost coherent. The pain wracking his small body had subsided to some degree in one of its short reprieves. It didn't help much, his tortured body just felt like it was in a different kind of pain during the break. During the night he had asked, then pleaded, then demanded, and finally screamed for someone to stop the pain, to turn it all off, to die. When Eduardo told him it was not going to happen Ray managed to find enough energy to throw a full bedpan at him while uttering his first words in days. "Fuck You!!" he screamed as the mess spread out over Eduardo and across the floor. Slightly later Fred Dorian and Karen, on their shift at the time, were now sitting in a private room now with Eduardo Bianchi nursing their own emotional wounds. They had both been ordered not to sit another shift for at least a day, pending Eduardo's evaluation of their level of coping.
Ray did not remember those events. He remembered pain. He remembered suffering. He remembered little else. Patrick had sat down beside him, and held his hand. Ray stared at his man's face. He couldn't manage even the tiniest ghost of a smile. He just stared into his eyes. Then, like a steel wall going up in his head, Ray couldn't feel anything anymore.
* * *
Patrick sat with his boy, crying softly. He thought he felt the faintest of squeezes in his hand. Maybe it was his imagination.
* * *
Kate arrived back at the hospital after running an errand. She was due in with Ray in one hour and hoped to have a moment with Patrick first. She entered the lounge, gave her husband a quick kiss and a hug, and noticed Patrick sitting with Fred Dorian, talking quietly, their heads together. After a few moments, she saw Patrick grasp Fred's hands for a moment, squeeze, and then let go. Fred arose and went into the kitchenette for a refreshment. Kate used the opportunity to sit down in Fred's vacated chair.
Kate barely smiled. "It's done. The entire department's computers are now physically removed to IT maintenance. I doubt most of the staff are aware of it yet. I pulled in a favor with a Lieutenant that owed me one. Told them that their department had a rampant virus that was spreading and infecting the court's computers. He's not very technical, he bought it. They won't get them back for at least two days while they're cleaned. Now, I hope to hell you found something to make it worth it. We won't get another chance."
Patrick smiled back weakly, one of the pitiful smiles that members of the support team only seemed capable of making now. "Actually I did. I took a look at his hard drive after my shift with Ray. Porn, Kate. Thousands upon thousands of pictures and movies of hard core child porn. We've got him."
** 25 **
One day later Kate and Patrick entered a Coffee Planet near the hospital and sat down to wait.
"Will he show?" asked Patrick nervously.
"He'll show," Kate responded confidently, just as the bell above the door jingled. Patrick saw Detective Stimson enter, look around, and walk towards their table. He sat down looking impatient.
"Unless you have me here to confess Duncan, I don't have time for games. If not, we'll see you in the station very soon. In a cell. I'm a busy man. What do you want."
"Come on Lee, where's you manners? Would you like to order a coffee first?" asked Kate sweetly.
"Kate. Quit playing games. What is it that you think you have. You didn't get me here for nothing."
Patrick reached into his bag and pulled out the removable hard drive and set it on the table.
"So? What's that? Your confession?"
"No Lee, it's your career." answered Kate in the same sweet tone. "This is a mirrored hard drive of the one in your office computer. The one you don't currently have access to due to the unfortunate virus problem."
Lee Stimson looked at the hard drive for a full minute, not moving a muscle. Gradually anger built up on his face. His legs and arms visibly tensed.
"Don't bother Lee. It's a second copy. If you grab and run it won't matter."
"It won't work. Nobody would believe it. I wouldn't let you even get so far as to make an accusation," Stimson said.
"It's amazing how much people can form a close knit team in a few days of common suffering and a common goal. Lee, I have, at least, two people at this very moment watching this table. If anything out of the ordinary happens here, there will be a phone call made to a certain Lieutenant within the next minute. Then the chips will fall where they may. I may even visit you in solitary Lee, if I'm in a good mood. By the way, do you know what they do to people with that conviction in prison?" Kate asked in the same sweet voice.
"Damn it Kate, what the hell are you doing? You're sticking up for this perverted fuck? Those files are there for investigative reasons, and you know it!"
"Really now Lee. Are they? On your personal hard drive instead of the department's encrypted file server? Interesting. I didn't realize how department policy had changed. Well, I guess that's it then. I'll just let the Lieutenant know it was a mistake." She made to get up.
"Damn it Kate! What do you want?"
Kate sat down again. The sweetness was gone. "First, you stop this ridiculous farce of an investigation. This man is innocent and the only one who has abused my nephew is you and your bullying. It's over. You call off your dogs, and we'll call off ours."
"Fine Kate. To protect my other cases I'll do it. You screw with this stuff and you'll let a bunch of perverted monsters free." He made to stand up.
"If you say so Lee, though I still think it's an interesting investigative process you have there. Anyway, there is one more thing, uh, just a little request before you leave."
"Kate." Stimson said dangerously.
Kate's voice was suddenly very hard. "You will offer your resignation. Immediately after canceling the Huntley investigation. You will never set foot near police work again. Sell shoes for all I care, but you're done. You do that, and we'll destroy your hard drive."
"That's not going to happen Kate! I swear to god..." Stimson again began to stand up and his hand actually began reaching for his jacket pocket.
Kate looked out of the window and made a brisk nod.
Stimson quickly sat down again, his hands on the table, looking pale and defeated.
Kate again looked out of the window again, and help up a hand. "Your resignation. I will wait one hour for confirmation from my department sources before I give the word about the drive. Good afternoon Lee. And for god's sake, get some help."
Patrick and Kate arose, quickly gathered their things and left the coffee shop, walking back towards the hospital.
"Just who in the hell were you waving to out the window Kate?" asked Patrick.
"I think there was a cocker spaniel tied up to a sign out there," answered Kate with a straight face.
Patrick laughed for the first time since Ray's treatment had begun.