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That's Gratitude for You

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Fusco slid down the brick wall, relief turning his joints to jelly. That had been too close.
“Geez, how ‘bout a little warning next time?”

After too long with no answer Fusco twisted to look up at Suit. He was propped up against the wall next to him, eyes closed, a white knuckled grip on the door frame holding him up.

“Hey, you all right?” Fusco scrambled to his feet, nervous suddenly about Suits condition. He’d taken more than one hard hit in the mad scramble of the last two hours. Reaching out he grabbed Suit by an arm, careful not to jar him. Pointless: He immediately let go and ducked away from an unsteady right cross. Suit couldn’t arrest the follow through and the clean miss carried him right down to the concrete at their feet.

“Hey, it’s just me. You ok?”

Fusco knelt down next to Suit and put a reassuring hand on his back as he helped Suit right himself. He looked startled at being on the ground and Fusco had to swallow the urge to chuckle. The faint yammering of Little Guy was coming through the ear piece loud enough for Fusco to hear it but Suit didn’t appear to notice. Now that he had a good look at him he had a pretty nasty bump along his left temple and when he finally looked up at Fusco it was with red eyes and damp lashes. Digging Suits cell phone out of his pocket he overrode the Bluetooth. Ignoring the worried questions that started immediately Fusco launched right into the more urgent problem.

“He took a pretty good knock to the head – we’re leaving. Where do I take him?”

There was a relieved sigh at the other end and then terse instructions. Sliding the phone into his jacket he slung Suit’s arm over his shoulders and lifted, a tight grip around Suits waist anchored him to Fusco’s side.

“All right guy. Hold on if you can - we’re getting out of here.”

Fusco grunted at the load. Suit wasn’t very heavy but he was tall and awkward to carry. Hustling him down a corridor, Fusco was being rougher than was good for him but they really did need to get out of there. Fusco was sure he wouldn’t like at all the way he was being dragged around. Good thing Suit was too out of it to object. Banging his way through the last door Fusco cringed at the thump as he miscalculated and Suit hit the door frame. The lack of response sent anxiety surging through him again and he increased his pace to a shuffling jog. Leveraging his passenger door open he shoved Suit none too gently into the seat and hurriedly got behind the wheel. His adrenaline surge had been going so long he had headache.

They’d only been driving ten minutes when Fusco noticed the fancy town car trailing behind them. It had to be Little Guy. Finally! Pulling over he got out to greet the apprehensive looking man.

“Except for the knock to the head I don’t think it’s too bad.”

“Thank you, Detective.”

Helping Little Guy move Suit to the town car was harder than he would have liked. Suit’s color was way off and his breathing labored but at least he was moving a little better by the end. Fusco was surprised by how protective he felt about the injured man. Maybe he’d been hit on the head, too. Either that or he was finally going nuts.

Once he was settled, Fusco started to step back from the car but was arrested when Suit suddenly grabbed him by the wrist. His grip was weak and there was a tremor in his hand but Fusco stopped anyway. Suit looked reluctant but determined even as his gaze remained pointedly forward.

“You did good today, Lionel. Thanks.” He gave Fusco’s arm a little shake before letting go but continued to start straight out the windshield, not making eye contact with Fusco or Little Guy.

“Sure thing.” He stepped back and closed the car door, knowing Suit wouldn’t say anything else.

Watching the car drive away he was chagrined to feel the warm glow of pride. Suit had never thanked him before. Exasperated with himself Fusco shook his head and headed back to his car. This emotional roller coaster was ridiculous. When did he start caring what they thought of him? He wondered if being blackmailed by an emotionally stunted killer and his creepy puppet master was enough to get him a diagnosis of BWS. No, that wasn’t quite right. Maybe Stockholm Syndrome. Yeah, that one – he was absolutely a hostage. Definitely time for a beer and burger.