Richard could have screamed as he desperately tried to get his foot out of the punishing hold of the bulletproof security doors of county lockup. Gerard had already fired five rounds into the glass, and Richard was certain that his exposed limb was next. Scrabbling for purchase with his hands, he tried to pull himself out of the trap, but his fingers slid off the marble to no avail. Hearing thundering footsteps behind him, he started struggling with his entire body, writhing and shaking his leg trying to escape. Grunting with pain as a particular twist nearly wrenched his damaged knee from its socket, he didn’t dare to turn his head to see the Marshals coming closer. Then, suddenly, his entire body went slack as a hand closed around his ankle and a deep voice cut through the haze.
“Richard! Richard, stop, you’re gonna break your leg!” Finally, Richard turned and looked into a pair of eyes he recognised from the dam. “Time to stop running, Richard.”
He slumped to the floor while the other officers were yelling at the guards to open the doors so they could get him out. Gerard crouched down, his hand still holding onto Kimble’s leg. “Get him up, cuff him, he’s coming with us.”
“I’ll alert CPD.”
“No. No, no,” Gerard shook his finger at his team. Just then, the doors finally gave and slid open. Richard hissed as his leg was freed, but then all thought stopped when he felt Gerard support his leg and slowly lower his foot to the floor. “We’re not calling them until we’re at the office.” He snapped his fingers at Newman and Henry, who hurried around to lift Richard to his feet and slap cuffs on him. “Careful with his leg,” Gerard barked before springing back up.
Biggs raised his eyebrows. “Sam?”
“He’s a fugitive, so it’s my job to hunt him down. But as a prisoner, it’s also my job to guard him. Why’s he taking all of these risks? I have questions, I want answers, and, hell, you’ve seen Kelly and Rosetti, they don’t care about answers they don’t already think they have.”
Richard saw Biggs shrug. “Your call, Sam. Just don’t come crying to me when CPD’s hounding your ass,” he added with a grin. Gerard smiled grimly.
“Looking forward to it,” was all he offered before turning to look at Richard where he was standing, flanked by Newman and Henry. “Alright, gentlemen, let’s be on our way.”
“D’you need someone to take a look at your knee?” Gerard asked Richard as he slid into the seat across from him after removing the cuffs and throwing them at Biggs. “Or we can get you a thing, an ice pack.”
Richard shook his head. “I’m ok, it’s just a little swollen.” He chanced a glance at Gerard, who was looking at him oddly. “What?”
“Nothing,” Gerard replied, his face now a blank mask. When he continued staring, Richard shifted in his seat. This interrogation room didn’t look much different from the one he had been in last time.
“What’s going to happen now?” he eventually asked, moving his eyes back to Gerard.
“CPD is going to want you back, but we’re not handing you over yet.”
“Why not? Do you believe me?” He edged forward in his chair. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Biggs twitch, but Gerard didn’t move a muscle.
“I don’t believe anything. All I know is, people have lied to me and I’m entitled to the full story after going to all that trouble to bring you in. You’re gonna turn over all the evidence you think you’ve found, and you’re gonna be riding with us on this. But, pay attention,” he echoed his own words at the dam. “You try to run, you get shot. Leads don’t pan out, you’re going back to jail. Got it? Now gimme the rest of that list.”
Gerard had dragged him through the security grid at the Marshal’s Office without having him searched. “He’s unarmed,” was all he’d said, waving the guards away, his team trailing behind them. As a result, no-one had gone through his pockets yet.
“It’s in my coat,” he said, eyes flicking between Gerard and Biggs. Gerard nodded, Biggs watching Richard’s hands like a hawk while he hurried to get the list out of the parka he was still wearing. “Here.” He handed it over, then quickly retracted his hands, laying them on the table, curled into loose fists.
“Relax, Richard.” Gerard murmured without taking his eyes off the scrap of paper. He frowned. “Your list is much shorter than ours.”
“I was able to identify the type of prosthetic the man was wearing, a Type F elbow joint. That narrowed it down.”
“So that’s what you were doing all that reading for, huh?” Richard hesitated, then nodded. Of course, they’d found the place he’d been staying at. Gerard reached the end of the list and cocked his head. “Biggs — Fredrick Sykes. Why does that name ring a bell?”
“Chicago detectives questioned him in the initial investigation, his name’s in the reports.”
“Well, I wanna talk to him myself.”
“Alright, I’ll tell the others to bring him in.” Biggs made for the door, but Gerard stopped him.
“Hang on.” He looked back at Richard. “What would you have done?”
Richard’s eyes widened in surprise. He thought for a moment, going through his options had he managed to get away in time. “I… I would have called to see if he’s home and then I’d have… broken in, looked around, and,” he took a deep breath before continuing, “if I’d found something, I’d have called you.” He raised his chin defiantly, a silent challenge in his expression.
Gerard regarded him for a moment. “Well, what do you know. Biggs, call Sykes. If he answers, hang up, try again later. If no-one’s home, come get me.” Biggs nodded and opened the door the second Newman was about to knock on it. They shuffled past each other, Newman coming to stand before Sam.
“Sam, the boss wants to see you. It’s about Dr Kimble.”
Gerard sighed. “Excuse me a moment, Richard. Noah, keep an eye on him.”
“Sure thing, Sam.” Gerard slid out of his seat, the list of names still in his hand, and left Richard with the younger agent, who took up the space Biggs had just vacated, leaning against the wall next to the door. Richard avoided his gaze, looking down at his hands instead.
“Deputy, this is unacceptable! We demand that you release Kimble into our custody right this minute!” An outraged Detective Kelly damn near shouted at him in Miller’s office.
“I don’t think so, Detective,” Sam shot back, squaring his shoulders and towering over the stocky cop.
“Gerard!” Miller interrupted at the same volume. “That’s enough! Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t just hand Kimble over to CPD so he can go back where he belongs.”
“I can give you two, sir,” Gerard retorted, turning to face their department head, but pointing an accusing finger at Kelly and Rosetti. “When I told them that I didn’t get why Kimble should have killed his wife for the money, seeing as he’s already rich all by himself, they said, ‘Yeah, but she was more rich’! That’s the reason why I’ve been re-doing all the interviews with Kimble’s friends and colleagues, and they all told me the same thing: he didn’t do it. Not only do I wonder why all of those testimonies never made it into the courtroom, but I’m also not quite clear on why Kimble dove off a dam into a spillway rather than shoot me and climb over my dead body, and then came back to Chicago to track down a one-armed man nobody believes exists. He saved a boy’s life at Cook County Hospital, risking exposure. Plus, we had word from the injured guard they pulled out of the train wreckage. It wasn’t the other guard who saved lives that night, it was Kimble. I’ve been lied to, sir, and I don’t like being lied to.”
Miller glared at Gerard, then at the detectives, both shaking with barely concealed rage.
“You’re not here to solve puzzles, Gerard.”
“I’m not trying to. But if Kimble’s guilty, I want to see it with my own eyes. I can’t hand him over until I’m sure.”
“You get 24 hours. If you don’t have anything by tomorrow afternoon, 2 o’clock, he belongs to CPD.”
“Yes, sir.” Gerard walked out, the protests of Kelly and Rosetti background noise to his racing thoughts. “Robert! What about that phone call?”
“And what exactly are we doing here?” Richard hissed as he rounded the back of the house behind Gerard, Renfro and Newman dogging his heels.
“This was your idea, remember, Richard?” Gerard asked with infuriating nonchalance and then proceeded to break and enter with a speed that was very nearly unbecoming of an officer of the law.
“Sam, I find myself agreeing with the good Doctor,” Cosmo piped up from behind Richard.
“Just get your gloves on and see what you can find. Richard, you too. Sykes is an ex-cop, if he notices any sign of a break-in, we don’t want your prints all over the place.” Gerard handed Kimble an extra pair of gloves out of his coat pocket. “Stick with me. Anything you find, show me.”
Cosmo and Newman went off into the bedroom and kitchen, respectively. Gerard grabbed his radio. “Biggs, you tell me the second you spot Sykes coming home.”
“Got it, Sam.”
Richard had wandered towards the desk, flipping through document folders. The name Devlin MacGregor caught his eye and he tugged at the papers to get a better look. Beside him, Gerard gave a low whistle through his teeth.
“Now that is a big fish.”
Richard looked over and saw the Deputy flipping through a sizeable stack of photographs. He was about to turn back to the papers when something — or, rather, someone — caught his eye. “Lentz,” he breathed.
“Huh? You know this guy, next to Sykes?”
“I do. Hang on.” Richard rifled through the folders. One by one, what he was seeing connected to memories of functions organised by Devlin MacGregor, of being wooed by them, of having patients bleed out on his table who were involved with the drug trials. RDU-90. “Oh my God.”
“What? Richard, what is it? What am I looking at?”
Kimble fixed him with a stare. “Remember what you told me in the tunnel?”
Gerard’s gaze hardened. “I remember you were pointing my gun at me.”
“You said, ‘I don’t care.’”
From the way Kimble was staring at him, Gerard decided that that was probably what he was most pissed off about, aside from the obvious — another entry on the list of things that didn’t add up when chasing a convicted killer. Still, no need to tell him that. “I don’t. I’m not trying to solve a puzzle.”
“Well, trying to or not, but we just found a big piece.”
Gerard was about to give an admittedly rather snide retort when Cosmo’s voice sounded from behind him. “There’s nothing in the bedroom, Sam. Have you checked that dresser over there?” Gerard stepped away from Richard and turned towards Renfro. “No, go ahead.” He was looking around at the rest of Sykes’ living room when Cosmo exclaimed, “Sam! I found an arm!” after a bit of rummaging. Gerard whirled around.
“You what now?”
Sam and Richard both went over to his colleague and peered into the drawer.
“That’s it. That’s the prosthetic I saw that night,” Richard said with certainty, though his voice went a little unsteady on the last few syllables. “I’m sure of it!”
Gerard took a moment to study the fugitive. Quaking shoulders, wide eyes, shallow breathing. Decided to snap him out of it. “Richard, you just said we found a big piece. Explain it to me.”
“I need to go to the hospital. I need to see Bones, and Kathy. I need to call Chuck!”
“None of that’s going to happen, Richard, and you know it. I went with you on this one, but the rest we’re doing my way. Noah, anything in that kitchen?”
“Then come back here. Cosmo, shut that drawer. Richard, put that folder back where you found it, I’m keeping the photograph, he won’t miss just one. C’mon, we’re hauling ass.” As if on cue, Gerard’s radio crackled.
“Sam, Sykes is coming back. You need to get out.”
“Not a minute too soon,” he growled, herding everyone out. “Move, move! Richard, one step in the wrong direction and you’ll be fish food after all.”
In the end, it took a moment’s inattention and Richard was off, stalking towards Nichols where he stood at the podium. Sam swore under his breath. After all the persuading he’d done to convince Richard to let Cosmo collect the samples, to let Noah talk to Wahlund, to let Biggs dig up hospital records and what could be salvaged of Richard’s files, the man was still bent on confronting the man he’d thought his best friend himself. Halfway through their war with paperwork and Richard’s third go of explaining the drug trials, the consequences of his findings, and the way Nichols had buried them, they had been hit by a surprise.
The discovery that Sykes had been called from Richard’s car phone had shocked the entire team into silence. Richard’s head had whipped up, his eyes wide as saucers. “What? No, I didn’t—I didn’t call him! You have to believe me!” He turned to Gerard. “I didn’t.”
Sam had regarded him, his face showing dismay and confusion before he pulled himself together. “Give me that arrest report. 7:30, you say?”
“Yeah, there, 19:30.”
Gerard had read the lines quickly, confirming his hunch. “It wasn’t you, Richard. Nichols borrowed your car, remember?”
Richard had closed his eyes in relief.
The ride to the hotel where the conference was taking place was tense. Sam was driving, with Richard right next to him, Cosmo and Poole in the back.
“Richard, I want you to remember something.”
“Yeah. This is our investigation, this is our collar, and you are my responsibility.”
“I’m a grown man, Deputy Gerard.”
“Yes, thanks for the reminder, Arthur Miller, but that, right now, is beside the point. Because, right now, you belong in the custody of the US Marshals Office, and that is how you will conduct yourself. You will not go off on your own, you will not confront Nichols without me or one of my agents right behind you and other law enforcement officers blocking all the exits.”
Sam didn’t have to look at Kimble to know he was doing one of three things: just barely keeping from rolling his eyes, clenching his teeth, or curling the hand Sam couldn’t see into a fist. Or possibly all three.
And now, he was advancing on Nichols with a menace that Sam hadn’t thought he had in him, fugitive and all.