Fandom: Generation Kill
Word Count: 5,173
Summary: Cop!Brad/FBI!Nate AU. When Nate disappears, Brad doesn't stop until he gets him back.
Notes: Suddenly I just felt there needed to be more. A sequel to this story, with more snippets under the cop/fbi AU tag.
He doesn’t find out because he’s not listed anywhere as Nate’s next of kin. He doesn’t even know that anything is wrong because the apartment has been completely empty of his pacing and his midnight clattering in the kitchen for the last two weeks while he was on assignment. And of course, of course, Nate’s fuckhead family members don’t think he has the right to know, because they still can’t get over the fact that that Nate eats, sleeps, and screws with another man.
But as soon as he finds out he doesn’t know why neither of them thought of this eventuality. They thought of everything else, but not this one.
For a minute, in the silence after listening to what Poke has to say, all he can do is fall back into his rolltop chair and stare blankly at the clutter of files on his desk.
“How?” he asks.
Poke shakes his head. “It’s just the word on the street. That the op went bad, and he was taken.”
The word on the street. The mother fucking word on the street. Brad finds out his partner is missing, presumed dead by a word on the street.
It takes just that much to remember how to breathe.
“I need a leave,” he tells Ferrando.
At this point all the news has filtered through the bullpen and Ferrando looks up at him underneath pitying brows. “Is this about Fick?”
Brad stares at him evenly. “Either tell me yes, or tell me no.”
Ferrando rotates in his desk chair to look out the window of his office, one of the few they have in the building. He doesn’t say anything like it’s a damn shame, or 'it’s too bad about that FBI guy you worked with' like the others. None of them know. He doesn’t blame them, but he has to get out of there.
Ferrando steeples his fingers and nods, because even if he doesn’t understand, not really, he understands a little. “Take whatever time you need.”
He heads to Nate’s office. Of course they know. Nate said he didn’t have it in him to lie all day every day, and it never sounded like an accusation, although Brad always felt guilty. But now he wonders if all of them know, why none of them bothered to tell him. As he strides out of the elevator they avert their eyes over the tops of their cubicles.
Brad walks right up to Mike’s desk and sits down across from him, arms crossed. “Brad…” Mike starts, clearly uncomfortable.
“We’re not going to get into the fact that nobody thought to tell me that Nate went—”
“We thought his family would notify—”
Brad raises his voice above Mike’s, “That Nate went missing, but you’re going to tell me everything you know, and you’re going to give me everything you have.”
Mike sighs and his face takes on that woebegone look that all officers of the law get when they’re trying to tell somebody that their loved ones are dead. “Brad, we don’t even know if he’s alive.”
“Nate’s alive,” Brad replies. Because he can’t be dead. If Nate were dead, Brad would know.
Mike looks like he’s going to protest again, but Brad slams his hands down on his desk. “You didn’t tell me for a week. You’re going to give me everything you have.”
When Mike takes him down to the evidence room, handing him Nate’s own case files, he says over and over that they have their best agents on it, Brad shouldn’t be doing what he’s thinking of doing, but Brad doesn’t have anything left to say to him. When Brad leaves with the files under his arm and Mike’s own research into what happened to Nate, Mike says, “Wait, you can’t take that out of the building.”
Brad looks back over his shoulder and gives him the one-fingered salute. He doesn’t give a shit if somebody gets fired for this. He doesn’t care if it’s him. He doesn’t trust anybody else to get Nate back.
There’s a week worth of surveillance tapes from the upscale bar in Studio City owned by the mob that Nate was working. He watches hours and hours of Nate making cocktails for wealthy beautiful people with nothing better to do than party. From Nate’s case notes he knows the target, middle-aged caucasion, Robbie Angle, with ties to the Los Angeles crime family, fingered for at least two assaults, several thefts and other petty infringements. Nate, along with a female agent installed as a party girl who frequented the bar, were trying to figure out if he was the loose piece in a job that went down at the sanitation department last month that ended with a dead city official and several unidentified bodies.
He doesn’t know exactly where it goes wrong. But suddenly after days of casual flirtation and drinks back and forth with the female agent, and Nate’s own reports that his employers didn’t suspect him, Angle is right there on the tapes twisting the arm of the girl while she struggled weakly and pointing the gun at Nate who had been polishing the bar and minding his own business. All it takes is that single moment for everything to go bad. The restaurant had emptied in a hurry. Angle and two other guys in masks marched Nate and the female agent, an Allie Ross, out the back entryway of the club. Nate attempted to get away exactly once, but Robbie slammed Agent Ross’s head down in the bartop, breaking her nose and probably shattering her cheekbone, and Nate went as soft and compliant as a baby. Now the mob had disavowed Robbie Angle, handed over the surveillance tapes, and done a whole song and dance about being respectable citizens.
According to the statements of underboss Freddie Zuca, who daylighted as a sanitation department official, they had “no idea he was a little psychopath” when they hired him as a plant manager. Right.
And that was it. No leads. Nate and the female agent were officially gone. With the mob pretending to be the boy scouts rather than wise guys and Robbie Angle disappeared into the wind, everybody was just standing around with their thumbs up their butts.
He looked down the list of people Mike had noted as Angle’s known associates, which of whom he’d noted talking to and who he’d noted might have been the men in masks. It was a place to start.
Ray woke him up at 4 AM by pounding on his door.
“You couldn’t wait a few hours?” he said, leaning groggily on the door frame in Nate’s robe.
Ray pushed past him. “Don’t do anything stupid, Iceman.”
Ray put his hands on his hips. “You turned off your cellphone. I just got off shift so I’m sorry if I’m waking you up, but don’t do anything stupid.”
“What are you even talking about?”
“Walt and I know,” Ray replied, sitting down on the couch Nate had picked out. Nate had picked out all the decorations. It had originally been his loft after all. He’d just made room in his life for Brad to fit. He sat down in the leather chair that had probably cost Nate the equivalent of Brad’s entire paycheck.
He asked blankly, “What do you know?”
Ray waved an arm in front of his body like that made any sense and then blew out a breath. “That you’re fucking—I mean living in sin with Agent Fick, DUH!”
Brad closed his eyes.
Ray continued talking. “It doesn’t bother us. I mean we’ve known for like a year now? More? I don’t know. Walt totally walked in on you in the records room and it like traumatized him for a week, because like, ew, who wants to think about where you stick your not inconsiderable dick, but it’s okay now, because whatever, you’re much less grumpy in love and don’t come into the lab looking like you’re going to break all my very expensive and much-needed toys. Also Agent Fick makes really awesome omelets, and who did you think you were fooling? This place has one motherfucking bedroom!” His voice rose in pitch. “And I know it sucks that he’s missing, or gone, or whatever he is, but just, don’t do anything stupid.” He pauses to breathe. “Because Agent Fick wouldn’t want that.”
“Ray, get out,” Brad says. He can’t deal with sympathy right now.
“Okay, homes, but—”
“Out!” Brad repeats.
He doesn’t take Nate’s robe off when he goes back to bed. He can’t fall back asleep. All he knows is he spent a week jerking off in the shower, eating hamburgers and the leftovers of the beer he bought for the barbecue Nate had organized, and going surfing, never knowing Nate had been taken, was out there somewhere nobody knew where.
He gets a call from Nate’s sister the next day after he’s nearly killed himself running on the beach. There was nothing far or fast enough to make the noise in his head go away and it was too freaking early in the morning to go out and break some kneecaps, though he had thought about it.
“I’m sorry,” she says simply.
Brad almost hangs up right there. He breathes out. Doesn’t say anything. What can he say? They’ve made their position on the whole thing very clear.
“You have to understand,” she starts and Brad rolls his eyes to the sky. “My parents feel…” she stops and gives up with a sigh.
He doesn’t have to understand. He’s the one who sees their son everyday. Who he shares finances with, and a dog named Bucephalus, and dishes, and who argues with him over the DVR list. He’s the one who massages his neck when he comes home from a bad case, and who takes him to work when his bicycle gets a flat. He’s the one who really has to think about Nate every time he comes home after an undercover assignment banged up or emotionally fucked over. And he has no right to hold that over Nate because if anything Brad takes worse risks than he does. But Nate is the only person who has any say over any of that. Brad’s the one. Nate’s family is still reeling over a seven years old decision to join the bureau. And they didn’t call him.
Brad says, “I see,” and then he does hang up.
He doesn’t bother with Mike’s list of witnesses. They didn’t ask any questions Brad wouldn’t have asked, and he doesn’t have any pretensions that he can ask them in some better more intimidating way than they did. But he does have methods they don’t have and he’s going to stick to those.
He hits up an old CI, Jeff Heller, who used to be an errand boy for LCN before his coke habit opened up new and impressively pathetic roads for him. Jeff, who has somehow been holding down a job at a garage, sees Brad and tries to run. It takes Brad thirty seconds and one hurdled fence to catch up with him.
“Do you even know why I’m looking for you, you dumb fuck?” Brad asks, slamming Jeffrey back against a chain link fence.
Jeff cowers. “No, Colbert, I ain’t got no fucking idea, no fucking idea.”
“What do you know about Robbie Angle?”
“After my time. I don’t know nothing,” Jeff says, voice thin and eyes rolling in fear.
Brad slams him back against the fence a second time. “We really have to do this the hard way?”
“I ain’t lying, I ain’t lying,” Jeff cries, his hands up in front of his face. Brad lets him go and he slithers down the wall. “I might know some people who do. I might know some people. Do you hear that, Colbert?”
“Talk fast,” Brad replies, looking down at him and shaking his head.
Jeff tells him about a nightly Poker Game held in Tarzana. He nearly pisses himself when Brad bends down next to him and says in a low voice, “I hope you’re not wasting my time, Jeff.”
Jeff hides his face. “I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. Not you, Colbert.”
Brad presses his lips together grimly and hands him his handkerchief. “Clean yourself up, you’re dribbling.”
So Brad could’ve finessed the poker game. He could’ve. But Nate’s been missing for a week, and he doesn’t want to think about how frighteningly bad the statistics get that far out from the disappearance date. He has to believe that Robbie isn’t stupid enough to kill Nate and Agent Ross. That, and if Nate were dead, Brad would know it.
He doesn’t finesse it. He bursts in. He notes five men at the table. Two grab their chips and dive for the door. He lets them go. They don’t matter, they aren’t the guys that Brad needs to talk to—a Herman J Ferolini and Harry Pisano, the Harry and Herman of the underworld, as Jeff had said in hushed tones. One nameless idiot tries to throw down with Brad and Brad shatters his kneecap with one kick and then shoves him back into who he assumes is Harry, watching with grim satisfaction as they both tumble back against a wall. Herman gets two shots off with his Glock 22, but Brad ducks under them and picks up an empty chair, clubing him with it and then slamming it down over Herman’s torso to straddle it backwards.
Harry meanwhile has gotten enough wherewithal to decide to come at him, but Brad raises his gun and flicks off the safety. “I wouldn’t,” he says, and then shoves the chair he’s sitting on so that it jams up against Herman’s dick. He smiles down at him as he twists and moans on the floor. “So how are we today?”
“You are one stupid motherfucker, you piece of shit,” Herman says between wheezes.
Brad rolls his eyes. “I’m off duty, but maybe you’ve heard of me, Brad Colbert, I’m with #1?” He reaches down a hand to shake.
“Haven’t heard of you, you shitsucking bastard,” Herman says, ignoring the proffered hand.
Brad shoves the chair again and Herman cries out. “That’s too bad. You see, somebody I care a fuck of a lot about just disappeared, and if you panty stains knew, you’d realize I really don’t have anything left to lose.” He drops his voice. “So you’re going to play ball with me, Herman.”
Herman whines and says, “It’s Harry.”
“Harry, right, my mistake.”
Herman starts cursing him out and Brad blows a hole in the wall right next to his head, spattering plaster everywhere. Herman and the idiot drop to the ground. “You’re fucking psycho, you know that?” Herman says, lifting his chin off the ground and looking up at him.
“It’s been mentioned a few times.”
“Well Jesus, what do you want?” Herman asks, hands up and out in front of him, plaster dust all over.
“Robbie Angle?” Herman says incredulous. “What do you want with that idiot fuck?”
“He kidnapped two federal agents.”
Herman blinks at him, sweat running down his forehead and making tracks through the dust on his face. “Jesus Christ, when it came down the wire that he was involved in some idiot shit, we had no idea it was that fucking incompetent.” Herman whistles. “That’s what this about? He take one of your buddies?”
Brad narrows his eyes and tightens his finger on the trigger.
“Hey hey, whoa! No need to get all triggerhappy, I’m sure we can figure out a way that everybody leaves happy tonight.”
Harry makes another whining noise and says, high-pitched and pathetic, “Quit fucking around, my nuts are about to explode.”
“All right, all right,” Herman replies, hands still raised before him, “Robbie’s always been kind of a loose cannon. Got pulled for a cleanup job down at the sanitation department, but it went bad, real bad, lotta people there who shouldna been there, you get me?”
Brad stares at him and Herman laughs weakly. “Basically he’s been waiting these last two months for the whole family to come down on top of him, and when it didn’t happen, this fuckstick started getting a little cocky, going back to his usual haunts, saying the family always wanted a real wise guy like him. My guess is your agents spooked him right out of his shiny happy place of serendipity, thought they were from the family and he took ‘em as insurance.”
“And?” Herman says, brows at his hairline. “That’s it. I ain’t got no more.”
“Oh, oh, sorry, of course you want an address,” Herman says. “You’ll have to forgive me, I don’t make it a habit to run my mouths off to the pigs. Word on the street is he bought a place recently in Echo Park. Don’t have any more details than that.”
There it is, the word on the street again. Brad tightens his lips. “I hope you’re not dicking me around.”
“Jesus, I’m not. Tell him I’m not, Harry.”
Harry groans loudly, face going purplish red. Brad snorts and figures that’s the best assent he’s going to get. He stands up off the chair but keeps the gun pointed at Herman. “It was a pleasure working with you, gentleman.” He backs towards the door. Harry kicks the chair aside and cups his testicles protectively. A thought occurs to him. “One last thing, why was the family waiting to take care of him?”
“Beats me,” Harry says, shaking his head wildly. “We just look out for talent. Ain’t got no idea why the higher ups took their sweet time.”
Brad snorts again and doesn’t turn his back to them until he’s at his car.
He calls Poke while driving down the five.
“Where the hell are you?” Poke asks. “The bureau sent somebody to the station today and he’s been in the office arguing with Godfather for the last hour. You better not be doing what I think you’re doing.”
“I need you to look up all recently leased properties in Echo Park. Window is closing on this one, so I need it fast.” He’s racing against the LCN to find Nate, because after talking to a few more people, it became clear they’re looking just as hard to find Robbie as he is. He’s pretty sure if they get to Nate first they aren’t going to turn him in to the lost and found.
“Brad, are you fucking nuts? You need to get back here before you lose your badge. They’re going on about obstruction of justice and stealing evidence.”
Brad lets out a humorless laugh and guns it past a BMW. “Ferrando won’t let them take my badge.”
“He may not have a choice, you crazy bastard!” Poke shouts into the phone.
“I need you to look up all recently leased properties in Echo Park.” He repeats. “I haven’t ever asked for any favors from you. I’m asking now.”
Poke sighs. He waits a moment that stretches on forever, before saying, “I’m on it.”
Nate doesn’t like weapons in the house. He said he was around guns enough at work and if Brad wanted to store more than his service weapon he could do it somewhere else. Brad keeps what Nate jokingly calls an arsenal in a storage facility two miles from their apartment. He pulls up in front of it with a satisfying screech of the tires.
He hasn’t been inside in a while and the door is stuck from disuse. It takes a couple of tugs to get it up and open and the metal screams at him as it does. He walks inside and flicks on the light. On top of a row of boxes and next to a rack of shotguns is a new addition: a Kevlar vest with a note tacked to it.
“If you want to start your own private army, you could probably use this – Nate.”
Brad ducks his head. The world spins under his feet dizzily. He grips the edges of the vest and reminds himself if Nate were dead, he would know it. He has got to pull himself back together.
After struggling into the vest, he unlocks the rack and after assessing the row of shotguns, pulls out a 12 gauge Remington. He checks the chamber before engaging the safety and loading and chambering a round. Along with his service weapon and a .357 magnum he decides it’ll have to be enough.
While Brad waits at a light, his phone rings—Ray with the information he needed.
“Poke is trying to get you a warrant if you’re willing to wait another hour, and I want to know if you’ll even consider letting somebody go with you as back up. And can I just say, nobody ever knew you were such a mama bear!”
Brad just says, “Not enough time.”
“I knew you’d say that. Just trying to kill me from stress, asshole.”
Brad pauses a moment and then says, “Thank you, Ray.”
Ray sounds genuinely flabbergasted on the other end. “For what?”
Brad thinks about Nate’s smile and his chest goes tight. “For everything.”
He doesn’t bother to ring the bell. Just knocks the door down on the crappy falling-apart Eichler with one judicious kick. Angle comes out of the kitchen in his underwear, a gun in his waistband. He’s surprised, a sandwich hanging out of his mouth. Brad notices dark brown blood-colored stains on the wall and floor and shoots him in the head while he’s still reaching for the gun.
One of the unidentified pals comes racing out the back, blitzing the whole room with an MP5. That was unexpected. A stray bullet nicks his arm. Brad is forced to duck into the hallway bathroom. He tears off a strip from a hand towel, making a tourniquet for his arm while he takes stock of the situation. There are two pairs of shoes by the door. Neither Angle nor the goon with automatic weaponry are wearing shoes, leading him to believe that Angle’s third friend isn’t in residence.
The guy screams in impotent rage and starts firing randomly across the living room. Brad ducks to the floor as more bullets go through the cheap-ass walls and ricochet off the porcelain fixtures. Brad rolls his eyes to the ceiling, wondering how it is that a single Eichler is standing.
“Come out or the pretty boy gets it!”
Brad freezes. Confirmation at last that Nate is alive. He takes a deep breath, in and out, and then pumps the shot gun. He has to pray that he’s faster than the guy standing between him and Nate. He kicks the door open and shoots on a roll, hitting the guy in the chest. The MP5 continues firing until the asshole hits the ground, but as soon as the gun goes silent Brad is up and running. He jumps over both bodies, towards the back room.
“Nate!” he calls out.
He shoves the door open and sees Agent Ross on the floor, hands ziptied together through the woodwork on the nightstand. Her faces is scuffed up, bridge of her nose swollen and disjointed, mouth bleeding at the left corner around a gag, and eyes dark and bruised. She jerks her head towards toward the other half of the room.
Nate’s tied to a chair, hands pulled painfully back behind him, head bowed between his shoulders, but he’s breathing. He lifts his head a little as Brad rushes toward him, making a noise around his gag.
Brad cuts it free and Nate coughs. He reaches up, hands hovering over Nate’s face, wincing at the damage. His right cornea is red with blood, eye pigmented a lighter green than it usually is. The entire right side of his face is pulp and there’s fresh blood running down the left side of his neck at an alarming rate.
“Nate, Nate,” Brad repeats impotently. He cuts Nate’s feet free before going to work on his hands.
“You didn’t…need to rescue me,” Nate says, voice scratchy and hoarse, “I had…it all figured it out.” Brad looks at the duct tape around his wrists and notices it is partially sawn through. He ducks his head over Nate’s hands and can’t stop himself from laughing weakly, hysterically.
“It’s okay,” Nate says, “it’s over now.”
It’s the stuff that Brad should be saying to him but the words aren’t coming. He cuts Nate’s wrists loose and goes to haul him up out of the chair. Nate cries out as he does and Brad realizes from the useless angle his arm is hanging at that the shoulder and probably several of Nate’s fingers are dislocated.
Agent Ross has managed to spit out her gag and when Brad moves to cut her free, she shakes her head. “You need to get him to the hospital, he’s lost a lot of blood. They enjoyed torturing him.”
He nods and starts walking Nate towards the front door, holding him by his waist. Nate stumbles every few feet, woozy from blood loss and hunger and days of regular torture. Brad is at once heartbroken, filled with pulse-pounding relief, and brimming with overwhelming anger. He wants to hurt somebody. It doesn’t matter that two of the guys are dead. He wants them to burn.
The front door swings open and the third guy appears, grocery bag under one arm.
He looks back at them, stunned as Nate pulls Brad’s service weapon out of its holster, flicking off the safety. Brad’s mostly carrying Nate’s weight, but his arm stays steady, finger bearing down on the trigger. He has no doubt that if he needs to, Nate will shoot this man right between the eyes.
And that’s the moment the entirety of the central bureau rolls up on Angle’s doorstep, sirens blaring. Poke and Lilley appear behind the third guy in their vests, shouting for him to freeze and get down on his knees. Nate finally drops his arm with a sigh of relief, gun hanging loosely at his side.
Nate looks up at him, eyelids fluttering. “You’re crying,” he says softly.
Brad brushes at one eye. “Yeah.”
Meanwhile, Lilley spins the third guy around to cuff him and read him his rights while Poke shakes his head, looking at the destruction. There are bullet holes in everything from the MP5, all of the pottery in the room is shattered, the TV is a smoking sparking heap. The third guy stares at his two fallen companions with numb shock.
“You couldn’t wait ten minutes?” Poke asks, toeing Angle’s fallen body.
“Agent Ross is still tied up in the back,” Brad says, ignoring the question.
Poke rolls his eyes, but as Brad makes his way past he claps him on the shoulder.
Brad holds vigil over Nate’s bedside. His parents are still flying in from Baltimore, but somehow a contrite looking Mike managed to get him in to Nate’s room.
“He’s suffering from severe dehydration and blood loss, as well as a mild concussion. You already know his left shoulder and three fingers on his right hand were dislocated. Two fingers on his left were fractured and the left ulna is broken at the wrist. Not to mention he has a cracked collarbone and three cracked ribs.” The doctor sighed. “I’ve never seen somebody come in with this degree of injury conscious, so I wouldn’t worry too hard. He’s a fighter.”
Brad already knows. While they wait for Nate to wake up, the whole story is sketched out. Robbie Angle was convinced they were LCN. It never occurred to him that they were feds trying to take him down from the opposite side. He got wind that the family was planning to use him as the fall guy for several of the crimes that the LA office was bearing down on the family for, and one random pithy comment Agent Ross made set him off. Her eyes happened to dart to Nate as she was being hauled off her barstool by Angle and that was the end. Robbie was a dipshit, but he knew enough to see the entire wealth of meaning in that look. And it was over like that.
They tortured Nate for days, making Ross watch, grilling him for information on LCN’s plans. But even if Nate would’ve told, he couldn’t have. Angle started to get impatient, but he was nervous what kind of sign it would send to the family if he killed two of their soldiers.
“Ultimately, I think we were lucky he didn’t realize we were with the bureau. Not sure he would’ve shown us the same courtesy,” Ross said and threw her hands up. “And we didn’t get anything out of it, unless that asswipe, Angelo,” referring to the third man, “talks.”
Brad doesn’t care. While he can sympathize with a blown investigation, Nate’s alive.
Nate doesn’t come to until 12 AM. His hand tightens around Brad’s and Brad knows he’s back. “Hey you,” Nate says sleepily.
“How are you feeling?”
“Like shit. How’s Agent Ross?”
Brad shrugs. “Couple of cuts and bruises. She’ll need her nose reset. They released her a couple of hours ago.”
Nate closes his eyes and resettles himself on the pillow. “Okay.”
“Nate, I was thinking,” Brad says, voice tentative. Nate’s eyes open and Brad swallows at the sight of his discolored iris. “I was thinking maybe we should file for a civil partnership.”
Nate blinks at him.
Brad clears his throat. “So you can put me down as your next of kin.”
Nate face slowly resolves into a smile. “Did you just propose?”
“No, I am merely attempting to optimize our situation.”
Nate closes his eyes again, still grinning. “Yes.”
Nate breathes out a satisfied sigh. “Yes you can put me down as your next of kin.”
Before Brad can answer Ray is shouting over him. “OH MY GOD! CONGRATULATIONS!”
Brad winces and looks over his shoulder. “Ray, how did you get in here?”
“We brought contraband,” Ray says proudly, holding up a bag of McDonald’s fast food. He conveniently ignores the question. Walt is standing behind him with a bunch of balloons. “We figured you’d be hungry, Agent Fick.”
Brad’s the one whose stomach growls. Nate shakes his head at him. “Did you eat at all today?”
“Possibly…not?” Brad offers.
“Jesus Christ. Give him the food, Ray.”
“You know,” Brad says affably, taking the bag full of burgers, “I’m going to kick your ass when you get better.”
“Also, before I forget,” Ray says, “these are for you.”
He hands Brad a bunch of pamphlets. “LAGPA? Los Angeles Gay Police Association?” He glares at Ray. “I ought to shove these up your ass.”
“Ah, but is that really what you want to shove up my ass?”
“Ray!” Walt cries plaintively.
Nate’s hand tightens around his a second time.