Disclaimer: I don't own any of the CSI NY characters, I'm only borrowing them, and I promise to return them in minty fresh condition when I'm finished.
It had been a long day and Don Flack was looking forward to getting home, putting his feet up and chowing down on something tasty before going to bed. He stopped in his tracks and groaned inwardly as he remembered the sparse state of his fridge. He’d meant to pick up groceries the previous day but had forgotten to until he’d already been home. There’d been enough to pull together a makeshift meal that night, but Don fancied something a bit more substantial now.
Glancing at his watch, he quickened his pace, hoping that he’d be able to make it to Wu’s deli before it closed. To his relief, as he rounded the corner, he saw that the lights were still on.
“Perfect!” Don told himself as he went in.
“Evening, Mr. Wu,” called Don to the owner who was busy at the register.
“Good evening, Detective Flack,” smiled the old man back at him. “It is good to see you.”
Don grabbed a basket from the stack and started making his way through the shop.
“Oh, Detective Flack,” called Wu, “We have had a delivery only this week of those rice crackers that you like. With some new flavors as well. They are at the back of the store.”
Don waved a hand in acknowledgement as he changed direction. Those snacks might not be the healthiest option, being deep fried and all, but he was having a jones for something spicy, and the crackers sounded like they’d hit the spot. Besides, he told himself, it wasn’t like anybody was looking over his shoulder, counting his calorie intake, right?
As if on cue, Don’s phone rang. Basket in one hand, he pulled out the phone with the other, “Flack,” he said.
“Don, it’s Mac. I see you dropped in the background info on the Tyler suspects.”
“Yeah,” Don stopped at the shelving unit which contained the crackers. “Adam said you were in the middle of a ballistics test. Didn’t want to interrupt. You get any results?”
“Yes, unfortunately it was a negative result. No match to any of the guns recovered at the scene, but looking at the background you supplied, it seems that Albert Tyler owns a few more guns than we found. I think we need to pay him another visit.”
“I’m just on the way home,” said Don, “But I can be back at the lab in half an hour. We can go rattle Tyler’s cage together.”
“Your shift is over,” said Mac, firmly. “This can wait until morning. Go home and have a proper meal for once.”
“Sure thing, ‘mom’,” said Don, grinning. “Says the guy who probably skipped dinner in favor of test firing guns!”
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Mac, ending the call.
Don put his phone back in his pocket and returned to browsing through the shelves, adding items to his basket as he went. He heard the bell above the door to the deli ring a few times, but it wasn’t until he heard the scream that he realized something was wrong.
Mr. Wu was busy writing up a list of stock that needed to be ordered when a teenage girl walked in. Glancing at her, he saw that she wasn’t one of his regular customers, but he smiled in greeting to her anyway and went back to his list. A few minutes later, he heard the door open again, but when he looked up, the smile faded from his face as he saw a hooded youth with a knife in one hand.
Before Wu could say anything, the youth grabbed the girl, holding the knife to her throat. She screamed, which only served to make the youth hold her tighter. “Open the register!” he yelled, “Now, or I’ll cut her throat!”
“Please, do not hurt her,” said Wu. “I…I will give you what you want…” He fumbled with the drawer to the register. Out of the corner of his eye, Wu could see a movement in the aisles, and he felt a surge of relief as he remembered that Detective Flack was still on the premises. “Please…this is old register…does not work so well.” Wu pitched his voice as loud as he dared, so that the robber would not notice Flack’s approach. He dropped his gaze to the register, opening it with a loud ‘ping’…and when he looked up again, Flack had his gun to the robber’s head and was ordering him to drop the knife.
Wu breathed a sigh of relief as he saw the knife fall to the floor and the youth release his hold on his hostage. But his relief was short lived.
Flack had started searching the youth, “Wu, call 911, tell them I need couple of uniforms over here…” Wu caught a movement out of the corner of his eye, but before he could shout a warning, the girl had picked up the knife…and stabbed the Detective in the shoulder.
NYPD officer Maloney raised the Crime Scene tape for Mac and Hawkes to enter the scene.
“Thank you,” said Mac, “What have we got?”
“Kid tried to rob Wu’s deli,” replied Maloney. “Off duty Detective stepped in, got himself stabbed for his troubles.”
“How is he?” asked Mac as he took in the scene.
“Medics are bringing him out now. Looks like he’s gonna make it.”
Mac followed his gaze to the doorway of the deli where a figure was being moved on a gurney. His eyes widened as he recognized the patient behind the oxygen mask. “Don?” Mac was by his side in a second, with Hawkes close behind. “Don, can you hear me? What happened?”
“What’s his condition?” Hawkes asked the medics.
“Single stab wound, upper right shoulder from the rear. We’ve managed to control the bleeding for now, but we need to get him to the ER.”
“You’re bringing him to Trinity?” asked Hawkes.
“Yeah,” replied the medic.
Mac glanced away from Don, “I want to be kept informed of his condition.” He was about to continue, when he felt a hand brush his, and he looked down to see that Don’s eyes had flickered open. Mac hadn’t seen Don so pale since the bomb blast the previous year, and now he leaned in close to the younger man, taking Don’s hand and squeezing it.
“You’re going to be okay, Don,” he said reassuringly.
“Mac…” Don’s voice was weak. “Gun…they took…took my gun…”
“We’ll get it back Don. We’ll catch them and get it back. You just take it easy, I’m on the case now.”
Don nodded slowly, his eyes closing.
“Sir,” said the medic. “We need to transport him now.”
Mac nodded and stepped back to allow them to move the gurney. He watched until Don was loaded into the ambulance, and then turned his attention back to the scene. “Let’s do it,” he said.
Detective Maka was waiting inside the deli. “Detective Taylor,” she said, nodding in greeting.
“Detective Maka,” acknowledged Mac. “What happened here?”
Maka glanced at her notes as she replied, “According to the owner, Mr. Wu, a girl came in just before closing time. Guy comes in a minute or so later, next thing Wu knows, guy grabs the girl, sticks a knife at her throat and tells Wu to empty the register. Wu is doing just that when he sees Flack approaching the perp. Flack comes up behind the guy, puts his gun to the kid’s head and gets him to let go of the girl and drop the knife. Only as soon as Flack starts frisking him, bam, the girl gets hold of the knife and stabs him with it.”
“She was in on it?” asked Hawkes in surprise.
“Looks like it,” continued Maka. “Wu said Flack was down back when the perps came in. My guess, the girl comes in first, didn’t see him, and figured it was safe to take the place. It’s a good ruse. Grab a hostage; people will fall over themselves to help. And if your hostage is also your accomplice, makes it all the easier.”
“Unless there’s somebody like Flack to step in,” said Hawkes.
“Yeah,” said Maka. “Wrong place at the wrong time.”
“There is no right time to get stabbed just for doing your job,” said Mac. He was silent for a few seconds as his mind processed the information he’d been given. “Did Mr. Wu give you a description?”
“He did better than that,” Maka nodded towards the ceiling. “He’s got a security camera set up. He’s getting me the tape for tonight.”
“Pardon me, Detective Maka.” Mr. Wu approached the group, videotape in his hand.
“Good evening, Mr. Wu,” said Mac. “I’m Detective Mac Taylor with the NYPD Crime lab. This is Doctor Hawkes. We need to take a look around your premises.”
“Of course,” said Wu. “Anything that will help you find those responsible for hurting Detective Flack.”
Mac was surprised, “You know Flack?”
“Oh yes, he is regular customer here. It was he who told me I should have a security camera. Is always telling me I should be more careful especially late at night.” Mr. Wu sighed heavily, “Perhaps I should have listened to him, but this used to be such a good neighborhood. Nobody would dream of stealing from neighbor…but now…my cousin was robbed a few nights ago…and now Detective Flack…that poor boy, is he going to be all right?”
“He’s in good hands,” said Mac.
To be continued