Raymond Reddington struggles against sleep. He stares up at the slightly familiar ceiling of the hotel he was in, not wanting to close his eyes, but needing sleep desperately. He turns to look toward the corner of the room where Agnes slept in the pack ‘n’ play; he closes his eyes as he thinks back to just a few short weeks ago, when Tom had made contact with him.
Dembe rushed further into the hotel suite that he and Raymond were staying in, murmuring into the phone he had pressed to his ear. Red looked up from the papers that were spread out in front of him. Dembe holds the phone out to him: “It’s Tom Keen.”
“Tom,” Red said with no emotion in his voice. After all he had done to try and help, Tom had just pushed him away. He had forbid him from having anything to do with his daughter, blamed him for Lizzie’s “death”.
“I need help,” Tom’s voice wheezed over the phone.
Red could hear shouting in the background and the unmistakable sound of bullets and Agnes’s cry. “Where are you?”
Tom rattled off an address. “I'm pinned down. I have no back up.”
“We will be right there. Keep Agnes safe,” Red told him. Red jumped up from the couch, abandoning the paperwork and headed for the door. He waited impatiently for the elevator to arrive and he slammed his finger on the ‘door close’ button a few times. He crossed his arms across his chest as Dembe raised an eye next to him. “Don’t,” Red muttered angrily. He sighed as the elevator doors finally closed.
To Red, the ride felt like forever as they got down to the garage. They both rushed out of the elevator and to where the Mercedes was parked. Red rattled off the address to Dembe as they both climbed into the car. Dembe started the car and immediately drove off.
Red wrung his hands together as they flew through the narrow DC streets. He wasn’t sure what they would be walking into when they got to the place. He looked up as Dembe screeched to a halt in front of a warehouse. Red had been so lost in thought that he hadn’t even noticed they had arrived.
Red pulled his gun out of it its holster, Dembe followed suit, they exited the car simultaneously. The building looked the same as every other warehouse they had entered in their long careers as criminals. It was brick and there were a few broken windows. Red had an ominous feeling as they entered the building and found a man face down on the floor. They kept walking and every few feet they came upon someone else; and each one had no pulse.
Red had to give it to Tom, the guy definitely was trained well. He looked around the warehouse at the remnants of the massacre that must have taken place. He looked over as Dembe muttered a few words into the phone he had up to his ear. Mr. Kaplan, no doubt.
He wanted to be angry at the woman but he just couldn’t find it in himself to be. He was finally starting to see things from her and Lizzie’s perspective. As much as he had tried to protect Elizabeth, he couldn’t always be there to do so. And Elizabeth had made a choice to protect her child. Agnes was first in her life above all others and he couldn’t fault her for wanting to protect her.
“Raymond,” Dembe’s voice broke through his thoughts and he turned to see Dembe kneeling down over a body that was tucked into the corner. Red walked over to see Tom, his chest rising and falling in erratic movements.
“Thomas,” Red called to the younger man. Tom slowly opened his eyes to see the two men in front of him.
“I tried,” he said softly. “I tried to protect them as best as I could. I just got her back and I lost Liz. I don’t know where she is.”
“Where is Agnes?” Red asked. Tom rolled his head to the side and stared at a trash can that stood a few feet from where the three of them were. “You put her…” Red trailed off as he turned to stare at Tom.
“I had to… I had to… Protect her,” Tom muttered. His breaths started coming on a little faster and Red knew he didn’t have much longer to live. Red got up and walked over to the trash can, lifting the lid. He smiled down at the sight of the little girl who meant the world to a lot of people. She was asleep and wrapped in a soft white blanket. Red pulled her out of the bin, guiding her to his chest.She let out a soft whimper of protest before curling herself into his chest.
He turned and walked over to the two men before kneeling down and guiding the little girl into her father’s arms. Tom held her tight as his glassy eyes gazed down at her before looking back to Red. “I will protect her, Tom,” Red tells him.
Tom blinks a few times before nodding at the older man. “I… I want you… to take these… bastards down. Find Lizzie… protect her… and Agnes. Promise… me,” he pleaded. He blinked a few more times before he leaned down and gave his daughter a kiss on her head. “Love… you.” Red scooped Agnes out of Tom’s arms as he closed his eyes for the last time.
After that incident Red and Dembe had renewed their effort to find Lizzie. But Alexander Kirk had gone underground and even Red’s allies didn’t know where they were. So for now, it was back to the drawing board for Red and Dembe.
And as for Agnes, Red didn’t let her out of his sight and reach. When he found Lizzie, and he would, he wanted her to know that she was loved and cared for in every way. When he wasn’t with her, Mr. Kaplan was, so he could hunt down leads and try to find Lizzie.
They were so close to finding her. He knew it, he could feel it. but, it would always turn out to be another dead end. He was so frustrated and emotionally drained.
He blinked up at the ceiling to banish the memories. He wanted to sleep desperately, but tonight it eluded him. He turns to his side to look at the sleepy angel next to him. He takes a moment before gathering her in his arms and bringing her to lay on his chest. He runs his hand up and down her back, while breathing in her baby scent. He watches as she brings her hand up to her mouth to suck on it.
“Aggie, we are going to find your mama soon little one, I promise. I won't rest until she is brought back to us,” he pledges to her.
Agnes nuzzles her head into his chest and he smiles at the sight. He pulls her closer to him and drops a kiss onto the top of her head. He wraps his arm around her, while pulling his free arm up and under his pillow before turning his head to peer out the window. He stares at the moonlight coming through the window and blinks a few times.
“Come back to me, Lizzie,” he whispers into the quiet room.
A few nights later found him in the same boat. He turns to look toward the corner of the room where Agnes slept in the pack ‘n’ play. She couldn’t keep sleeping the same bed with him, as much as he wanted to have her close to him. He loved that fresh, clean baby smell of her after she had just taken a bath.
He wanted the best for her as any parent would. Even though he wasn’t her parent, he considered himself to be. He was the only one she had until they found Lizzie.
He laughed silently as he remembered the look on Dembe’s face when they stepped into the huge baby department store. Yes, he had a daughter and a granddaughter, but he never had to do that part. Red was in his element, going from rack to rack to look and choose the softest clothes. Fall was starting to take hold of the summer and it was getting colder out. He couldn’t remember having this much fun shopping before.
“Only the best for my girl,” Red had told his right hand man.
He grins at the memory before turning to stare out the window once again. There was a full moon tonight, the moon was bright coming into his room. He loved to be able to afford the best that money could buy. He blinks a few times as his eyes grew heavier.
“Lizzie please come back to me,” he whispers into the quiet night. He yawns as he finally shuts his eyes to the moonlight.
Red blinks his eyes open, as he hears a soft voice in his room. It was still late, the moonlight coming through the blinds. He blinks once again as he sees a figure standing in front of the window, he throws the blankets back and reaches for his gun. He runs his hand over his face as he finally notices the figure holding Agnes.
“Put her down,” his voice drops an octave.
“You’re not going to shoot me, are you, Red?” came a familiar voice.
“Lizzie?” he asks with hope in his voice. The figure turns and he sits down on the bed, unable to look away from her. “Lizzie?” he asks once again. Lizzie steps away from the window and smiles down at Red. “Elizabeth,” his whispers.
“Raymond,” she whispers his name, careful not to wake the sleeping girl in her arms. Red finally gets up and wraps his arms around Lizzie, being careful of Agnes. “Red,” she whispers, burying her face into his neck.
“How did you get away?” he asks, dying to know just how she ended up in his bedroom. They stare at each other, blue eyes meeting green.
“Does it matter?” she asks, looking down as her daughter lets out a soft noise. Agnes’s blue eyes stare up at Lizzie, and she starts to squirm at the unfamiliar hands that were holding her. She looks up at Red as Agnes lets out a cry. Red holds his hands out and Lizzie transfers Agnes to his arms.
“She doesn’t like to lay down unless she’s eating or sleeping. She likes to be up and looking around,” he tells her. She watches Red who had a practiced hand with Agnes. Red takes Agnes and holds her by her bottom up against his chest. Agnes brings her little fist to her mouth and starts sucking on it while looking at Lizzie. “She wants to know what’s around her, what’s going on.”
“Red,” Lizzie gasps, tears sliding down her cheeks. “I don’t even know my own daughter and she doesn’t know me.”
Red slides his free arm around Lizzie and tugs her to him. She wraps her arm around him and lays her head onto his shoulder. He gives her a kiss on her head and they both look down as Agnes lets out a sigh as she finally closes her eyes.
Dembe and Mr. Kaplan stood in the doorway watching the two. They were both smiling at the cute picture the trio made.
“They will be okay,” Mr. Kaplan whispers to her companion. Dembe watches the scene for another moment before nodding.
“I will make sure they are,” he tells her as they turn to walk away. He takes one more look into the room, smiling as he watches the two share their first kiss. He closes the door quietly. He would do anything to protect the three of them. Raymond as his friend, mentor and brother. He had spent many years with the man and came to respect and admire him. Elizabeth was starting to feel like a younger sister to him. He adored her and loved the sarcastic attitude she had that she had hardly shared with anyone. And little Agnes, he adored and loved that little girl to no end. The first time he held her, it reminded him of holding his daughter and granddaughter for the first time. Holding that little girl, it was like everything was right in the world.
Yes, he would do anything for the three of them. He just hoped they would be able to enjoy their time together. Who knew what was coming from around the corner.