azombiewrites: (The Equalizer)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: Monday Night at the Bar
Fandom: The Equalizer
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Angst.
Rating: PG
Main Characters: Mickey Kostmayer, Robert McCall and Control.
Disclaimers: Based on the characters created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim
Warning: I wrote this story almost eight years ago but for some reason never posted it here. Wrote it for an Equalizer fic group on Yahoo Groups.
Total Word Count: 12,482
Status: Complete

Summary: After a mission gone bad, Mickey Kostmayer, seeking solitude and alcohol is taken hostage along with the bar's other patrons. When he realizes he's the target, Mickey finds himself in a situation he can't control.





Monday Night at the Bar
Part One


It hadn’t been an easy mission; one of his worst, and the last thing Mickey Kostmayer wanted to do was talk about it. He knew McCall would want to know what had happened. That was why he hadn’t called McCall to pick him up at the airport. No, the last thing he wanted to do was talk about it, he didn’t even want to think about it. Normally he was able to deal with the things that went wrong and if he couldn’t he would just push it to the back of his mind until he was able to sort through the details without any emotion. But not this time, this time was different. This one had involved children, a lot of them. Innocent faces staring up at him with dead eyes. He shook the image from his mind and took another drink from the bottle of beer in front of him.

He was sitting in a bar far from his apartment with the intention of having one beer too many. But his gut instinct was telling him not to get drunk and he never ignored his own instincts. They had saved his life more times than he could remember. They were instincts he had been born with. That was why he had been the natural choice for joining the army and his brother had joined the priesthood.

Mickey looked around the bar with trained eyes. It wasn’t crowded which is what he wanted. He couldn’t get into trouble in a place like this. If - no not if, when - when McCall found out that he was back home he wouldn’t be happy, he would know that something was wrong. But McCall would never find him here. He shouldn’t find him here. No one knew where he was, not even Control. McCall was good, very good but he wouldn’t be able to find him. The longer Mickey hid out in this bar the better. And he was going to hide out here for a very long time.

The doors opening caused him to look towards them and he saw three men entering the room. His first look at them told him they were professionals. Their first look at him told him he was in trouble. Mickey Kostmayer’s life was about to get a lot worse.

“Shit.”

Well at least it would be a distraction from what was going on in his mind.

He watched as the doors closed . . . locked shut. The men drew weapons from inside their coats, aiming in three different directions, one of the guns aimed directly at Mickey Kostmayer.

They know who I am.

“Everyone up and against the bar . . . NOW!” The man’s voice was deep, strong and held no fear, his blue eyes like steel.

Mickey stood up and turned so his back was pressing against the bar. He kept one eye on the men and watched for any heroics from the people who were now moving towards him. The last thing the situation needed was a stupid person wanting to be a hero. It took only a number of seconds, the group herded like cattle towards him and he let out a slow breath when they finally joined him. He couldn’t help but notice that he was the first in line.

“Search them,” said the steel voice.

Mickey muttered another curse under his breath. He was wearing his gun. He watched the man move slowly towards him and the smile on the man’s face told Mickey that he was going to enjoy searching him and he was right. The man grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around. Body slammed against the bar, Mickey grunted in pain, the air forced from his lungs. Before he could fill his lungs with much needed air the right side of his face hit the bar, hit it hard.

“Hey . . .” Mickey put a little fear into the tone of his voice.

“Move a muscle and I’ll do a lot worse.”

Hands roughly searched his arms then his sides. The man behind him didn’t tense up when he felt Mickey’s shoulder holster. It was as though he had expected to find it. Mickey felt the man’s breath on his face as he leaned closer to him, his hand reaching inside Mickey’s army jacket and moving across his stomach until it reached the holster. The gun ripped from its resting place, Mickey forced to turn around, his back hitting the bar, a grunt of pain forced from clenched teeth.

“Nice weapon, what do you use it for?”

“Pest control.” Mickey’s eyes filled with innocence. He knew he had made a mistake when the man drove a fist into his stomach. He gasped and doubled over in pain. Mickey could almost see the disapproving look McCall would have given him if was here with him.

“Search the rest of them.”

The man pushed Mickey to the floor and said, “Stay there.”

Mickey Kostmayer was not surprised when the man didn’t search the other customers as roughly as he had searched him. The feeling they knew him returned with a vengeance and he had no idea who they were.

.
.
.


Robert McCall was just sitting down to a plate full of pasta, a glass half full with his best wine and a soccer match on the television when a knock at the door stopped his plans. He threw his napkin onto the table in frustration and walked away from his dinner. He opened the door to find Control standing in front of him.

“Control, I can’t say that it’s nice to see you.”

“Then don’t.” Without waiting for an invitation, Control walked past McCall into the apartment. “Kostmayer is missing.”

“What?” An image of Mickey lying in a water tank, an oxygen mask covering his mouth, his eyes bandaged, and wires all over his body flashed through McCall’s mind. “Tell me what country he’s in and I’ll go and find him.”

“What are you talking about, Robert? He’s not in another country. He came back three days ago.”

McCall watched as Control fell heavily onto the couch. “What happened on the mission?”

“What makes you think something happened?”

“Mickey always calls me to pick him up at the airport, the fact that he didn’t call tells me that something went wrong.”

“Things didn’t go as planned.” Control admitted.

“Was he hurt?”

“No,” Control sighed, “Look, Robert, I’m sure that if he wanted you to know what happened he would have told you.”

“He doesn’t want me to know, that’s why he didn’t call me.” McCall rubbed his face with his hand. “What makes you think he’s missing?”

“He hasn’t made contact with the Company for two days.” McCall raised his eyebrows at the man in front of him. “We had an argument about the mission . . . “

McCall smiled and said, “He’s not missing, he just doesn’t want to be found.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“Then why in the hell did you barge in here and tell me a close friend of mine was missing, especially after what happened to him the last time he went missing.”

“Because I need you to find him. Another job has come up and he’s the only one that can do it.”

“Is he dealing with what happened on the last mission?” McCall asked him. When Control didn’t answer he realized that Mickey Kostmayer wasn’t dealing with it and that meant it had to have been bad. “I’m not going to find him for you.”

“Robert . . .”

“No! You know as well as I do that Mickey copes well with the violence that he deals with almost every day. Of course he has his moments, he’s only human but for him to react this badly . . . no, he’s not ready for another mission.”

“Then find him and make him ready or I’ll put a Retrieval Order out on him.”

Before McCall could make any sort of protest, Control stormed out of his apartment.

“Mickey, Mickey, Mickey.” McCall spoke quietly to himself. “You should have called me, I would have helped you.”

.
.
.


It wasn’t unusual to find Mickey Kostmayer tied to a chair, ropes holding his wrists and ankles so tight that he was losing feeling in those parts of his body. It had happened before, many times. What was unusual was that he was the only person tied to a chair. The other customers were sitting on the floor next to the bar. He was becoming more and more convinced that he was the reason for what was happening here.

He felt the shift in the air close to his face before he felt the fist striking his face. His teeth cut into his gums. A second punch cut open his bottom lip.

“Who are you?”

Mickey looked up into cold blue eyes. The man in charge.

“Someone who’s just trying to have a quiet drink-“

“You carry a gun but you don’t have a badge.”

Mickey spat out a mouth full of blood and spit then answered, “I'm an American, and I strongly believe in the 2nd Amendment.”

The rebuke answered with a back hander, the ring on the man’s pinky finger cutting into his left cheek.

“Why do you carry a gun?”

“Have you seen the rats in this neighborhood?”

He waited for the punch but it didn’t come. Instead, the man grabbed the little finger of his left hand and bent it back until it snapped. The sound of breaking bone was loud in Mickey’s ears, the intense pain causing him to scream.

“Son-of-a-“

“Why do you carry a gun?”

“I told you, rats, big rats.”

The blow was so powerful it knocked Mickey off balance; he could go nowhere but down. He landed hard on his right shoulder.

“Lift him up.” He nodded to his companions. Once Mickey was upright, the man leaned forward, too far into Mickey's personal space.

“Who are you?”

“Why don’t you check my wallet . . . wait, I forgot, I left it at home.” The punch didn’t carry as much force but it still hurt like a bitch. “You know if you keep hitting me in the face I won’t be able to get a date for at least a month.”

“Oh . . . dating is going to be the least of your problems.”

Oh yeah, they know who I am.

“What do you want?” Mickey asked the man in front of him.

“What every man on the run wants. A place to hide until the heat cools down, and then we leave.”

“Bullshit! You know who I am so why the games?”

The man grabbed a handful of Mickey’s hair and pulled his head back as far as it would go. Mickey gasped at the pain centered in the back of his neck.

“Just having a bit of fun Mickey,” he let go of Mickey’s hair and gently slapped his face, “Just having some fun.”

“If you want to have some fun why don’t you cut these ropes off and we’ll get right to it.”

“You really think you could take the three of us?” He looked directly into Kostmayer’s eyes and he knew the CIA agent was capable. “No, you don’t have to answer that, of course you’re capable of dealing with us. You’re a very dangerous, man Mickey Kostmayer,” he narrowed his eyes at the lopsided grin Mickey gave him, “That’s why every one of your appendages is tied to that chair.”

“Let the others go.”

“You’re not in a position to be making demands Mickey.”

“What’s your name?”

“What?”

Mickey almost rolled his eyes. “You know my name but I don’t know yours. If you don’t want to tell me that’s fine, I mean I can just call you every name under the sun but I’m sure you won’t like that.”

“No you’re right, I wouldn’t like it . . . Henson, you can call me Rudolf Henson.”

“You in the business or is this personal.”

“Personal,” said Henson.

“Then let them go,” Mickey nodded towards the hostages, “You don’t want them.”

“No, I need them, besides if I let them go now they’ll just go running to the police and the boys in blue will ruin my plan.”

“And what plan is that?”

Henson laughed and said, “You, Mickey Kostmayer, are going to help me kill Robert McCall.”

.
.
.


McCall knew it would be a complete waste of time looking for Mickey. The man didn’t want to be found, therefore, Robert McCall, was not going to be able to find him. There was nowhere to start the search anyway. If Mickey had been taken again – God forbid – then he would know where to start. He would search Mickey’s apartment, seek information from informants and friends and use The Company’s resources. However, Mickey had disappeared by choice. He wouldn’t leave behind any clues.

He also didn’t want to look for him. No, Control was going to have to do his own dirty work and God help anyone who tried to bring Kostmayer in.

One quick glance at the phone on the wall and he made a decision. Leaving a message on Mickey’s answering machine couldn’t make the situation any worse than it already was. He should at least try to warn Mickey about the Retrieval Order Control was going to put out on him. McCall grimaced in disgust. He was sure the first thing Control would have done after leaving his apartment was to put out the order. The man would have had no intention of waiting for McCall to find Mickey.

McCall smiled. No, he wasn’t going to search for Mickey. He would sit back and wait. When Mickey was ready, he would show up at McCall’s front door, an embarrassed smile on his face, an apology on his lips and a bottle of good wine in his hand. It may take a few more days but Mickey would eventually find his way here.

.
.
.


“I don’t know a Robert McCall.”

The man who wanted McCall dead kicked Mickey in the chest, knocking him backwards, the back of his head hitting the floor. Henson leaned down, grabbed a fistful of Mickey’s shirt, put his leg against the chair for leverage and pulled Mickey upright.

“Let’s try that again shall we. You will help me kill McCall and you won’t have any choice in the matter!” Henson yelled.

"Got a picture of this guy I'm supposedly going to help you kill? Only I'd hate to get the wrong guy involved."

Henson smiled, pulled out a photograph from inside his jacket and held it up for Mickey to see. The eyes of Robert McCall stared back at him. Unfortunately, so did his own. Mickey raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“So . . . you going to help me or do I need to persuade you.”

Mickey smiled. He couldn’t help it. “It’s been tried before, by more professional people than you and it didn’t work.”

“I know, Mickey, I know all about it. That man was stupid. You were the wrong choice. Your friendship and loyalty to McCall is strong, too strong in fact. No, Allenwaite should have used someone who didn’t like McCall. That way their hatred of him would have been even stronger after the brainwashing.”

Mickey frowned. The only way this man could have known about that incident would be through a leak in The Company. The business Mickey Kostmayer was in was becoming less professional by the day. It was becoming too easy to bribe government agents for information. He was sure the business hadn’t worked this way in McCall’s day and age.

But a leak wouldn’t have told Henson how to find him. No one knew where he was.

“How did you find me?”

“We put a tracking device on your car while you were out of the country.” Mickey only blinked once, but it was enough to give him away. “You didn’t check your car when you got back did you, Mickey?”

“Had other things on my mind.” If he could, he would literally kick himself for his mistake.

“That was very unprofessional of you.”

“Yeah, tell me about it.”

“You made a mistake last week didn’t you Mickey.”

“That wasn’t my mistake.” Why was he even defending himself against this man?

Henson waved a dismissive hand at Mickey and said, “It doesn’t really matter who made the mistakes. You were there. You led the team so their mistakes were your mistakes.”

“You seem to know a lot about me.”

“Not a lot Mickey, everything, I know everything there is to know about you. I know about your stint in Fort Leavenworth . . . I know about Serena . . . I know about your brother the priest.” Henson smiled at the emotion that flickered in Mickey’s eyes. “I would have used the priest to get what I want from you but I have this thing about religion. My mother would turn in her grave if I hurt a man of the church.”

Mickey was grateful for small mercies. “If your information is right, then you know I would die before I’d kill McCall.”

“Oh, I know that, Mickey, I know that.”

Mickey watched as Henson glanced over at the hostages, a small smile tugging at the corner of the man’s lips. Mickey felt a heavy dread beginning to settle in his stomach. He needed to buy some time. He needed to come up with a plan. One free hand would be enough to deal with the threat to McCall’s life. Stopping Henson was all that mattered now and he would stop him at any cost, even if it meant his own life. Death didn’t scare Mickey Kostmayer but Robert McCall dying because he didn’t try to do anything to stop it from happening did scare him.

“Why do you want McCall dead?”

“That’s none of your damn business, Kostmayer.”

“Hit a sore spot there, huh,” said Mickey, “what did he do? Send you to jail? Kill your father? Brother? Pet rat?”

“Unless you want another sore spot, Mickey . . . drop the subject.”

Mickey could hear the threat in Henson’s voice but he chose to ignore it. “Hey, you’re the one that started all this, the least you can do is tell me why. I mean if he killed a rat . . . then that would leave one less rat in the world.”

“I’m not stupid, Mickey, I know what you’re trying to do.”

“Of course you’re stupid,’ said Mickey, ‘you wouldn’t be doing this if you were smart. You’re not going to get me to kill McCall. Nothing you can do will make me hurt a good man. You on the other hand, I could kill easy, no hesitation, no remorse. So tell me . . . do they know how good I am?”

Henson looked over at his two men. One was watching the hostages. The other, to his surprise was watching and listening to him and Kostmayer with interest.

“They know.”

“Hey!” Mickey grinned at the man watching them. “Did he tell you that I’m nut? The cops tell me I’m a loose grenade without a pin. It’s like your boss said before.” He dropped his smile, “I’m a very dangerous man. You keep helping him and you’ll die here today . . . if you’re lucky.”

“What the hell can you do?” said the man watching the hostages, “You’re tied to a chair and soon you’re going to be-“

“Shut up Simmons!”

“I’m going to be what? Dead? I don’t think so.” Mickey nodded to Henson. “Your boss here won’t get what he wants if I’m dead.”

“I wasn’t going to say . . . dead.”

“One more word Simmons and I’ll kill you myself.” Henson turned his attention back to Mickey. “Now, why don’t we get down to business?”

“What business is that?” Mickey raised an eyebrow.

Henson chuckled at the man sitting in front of him. “I like you Mickey, I really do and I don’t want to kill you, not yet anyway but,” he wrapped his fingers around Mickey’s throat, squeezing until he began to struggle for breath and when Mickey was about to black out he let go, “enough of the games. Robert McCall . . . tell me about him.”

Mickey coughed and drew deep breaths into his aching chest. He was beginning to lose his sense of humor. “Information? I thought you wanted me to kill him.”

“I do, Mickey. You’re going to kill him by giving me all the information I need to know Robert McCall inside and out.”

“Okay, call me seriously confused.”

“Then how about I make it clear for you.” Henson began to walk slowly around Mickey’s chair, glancing into Mickey’s eyes every time he passed in front of him. “Mickey . . . I know you inside and out.” The understanding dawned in Mickey’s eyes. “You see, I just finished going through this same thing with someone you know.”

“Who?” Mickey whispered.

“A woman who works at the Company. Sarah MacIntosh.”

“I don’t know her.” Mickey lied.

“Yes you do.” Henson was still circling the chair. He ran a hand along Mickey’s shoulders. “I believe she has a crush on you, even asked you out once but you said no. Why was that, Mickey? Sarah is a very pretty woman.” Mickey refused to answer him. “I only needed the one hostage with her.” Mickey still refused to bite. “Gone a bit quiet there, Mickey, something wrong?”

Mickey looked up at him and said, “I’m waiting for the punch line.”

“How’s this for a punch line. I had to break three of her son’s fingers before she would agree to do what I wanted. Two hours later, I had a copy of your file.” Henson frowned when Mickey didn’t react to his news. “That doesn’t bother you, that I broke the fingers of a ten year old boy.”

“Untie me and you’ll find out how much it bothers me.”

“You keep trying don’t you.”

“Wouldn’t be me if I didn’t,” said Mickey. “So why didn’t you just have her get you McCall’s file?”

“She doesn’t have access to it. Anyway, I needed, no not needed, wanted . . . I wanted to work my way up the ladder. Sarah, then you, then McCall.”

“Hang on, there’s something I don’t get. Why didn’t you just look McCall up in the phone book, give him a call and play the twenty questions game with him?”

“I’m not one for the simple things Mickey. I don’t like straightforward, get to the point type of situations. I like to take my time, go about things the long way, take the scenic route and enjoy myself along the way.” His eyes traveled over Mickey’s injuries. “Take pleasure in the violence that I inflict on others.”

“I’m sure your dead mother is proud.”

“Oh she is.”

“Did you kill them?”

“Mother and son? No, but I do have someone staying with them until I finish here with you. She’ll be calling in sick later to explain her absence. Killing women and children is another thing my mother doesn’t like.”

“But she doesn’t mind you hurting them?”

“Not at all.” Henson was rubbing his hands together in anticipation of what was to come. “Okay, enough of playing for time. Let’s begin shall we. Simmons, bring the young lady over here.”

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Ten minutes later, there were two people tied to a chair. One Mickey Kostmayer, a man trained to withstand physical torture and a young woman who had no idea what real pain was.

Mickey had watched as Simmons tied her to a chair, the ropes so tight that her fingers were turning purple. She had protested all the way, her complaints silenced with a slice of tape across her full lips. He was grateful for the restraint: it meant that he wouldn’t have to listen to her screams.

He could hear the rest of the hostages whispering amongst themselves. They knew what was going to happen to the woman, knew what would happen to them if they were the one tied to the chair.

Fingers gripped his chin, forcing his head to turn towards the woman. “Watch Mickey,” Henson told him, “I want you to watch.”

And Mickey Kostmayer did watch. His mind took in every detail, every moment, every muffled scream as Henson tortured the woman. Fingers were broken, fingernails ripped from her flesh, and cuts that would scar were fashioned on her pretty face. Ten minutes was all it had taken. Ten minutes of pure hell for a woman who just wanted Mickey Kostmayer to talk, to do something, anything to stop the pain from continuing.

“You want me to take her out the back?” Simmons asked Henson.

Mickey took his eyes off the woman whose eyes were as wide as saucers, filled to the brim with tears and glared at Simmons.

“No.” Henson was watching Mickey. “You’re a hard man to break Mickey.”

“I’m not going to break.”

“You will Mickey, you will.”

“Want to make a wager on that.”

“You sick bastard,” yelled one of the hostages, “Tell him what he wants to know!”

Henson shot the hostage dead. “Yes, Mickey, tell me what I want to know.”

Mickey had flinched at the sound of the gunshot. “No.” His throat was dry, his chest tight with the burden of guilt. Henson trained his gun on a second hostage, his forefinger tightening on the trigger, the smile on his face growing with each passing second. “Alright,” said Mickey, “alright.”

Henson laughed. “Now if I thought it was going to be that easy I would have just killed someone in the first place.” He leaned closer to Mickey. “But if I had done that, I wouldn’t have enjoyed torturing that young lady now would I.”

Mickey spat into Henson’s face.

“That wasn’t very nice Mickey.” Henson wiped the spit off his face with his sleeve.

“Untie her and let one of them take care of her.” Mickey nodded to the hostages without taking his eyes off Henson.

“Not yet Mickey, I may still need her.”

“You won’t. I’ll give you the information you want now untie her.”

Henson frowned at Mickey. “You’re going to tell me everything.” Mickey nodded. “I’m not going to have to hurt another hair on her pretty head.” This time Mickey shook his head no. Henson seemed to think for a moment then said, “No, I may want to have some more fun, besides, I need to keep you on your toes.”

Mickey wanted to wipe the smile off Henson’s face, wanted to rip his heart from his chest but all he could do right now was just stare at the man. “What do you want to know?”

.
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.


Something was eating its way into McCall’s stomach, causing him to leave his meal untouched: a feeling that was telling him something was wrong . . . that something was very wrong and it involved Mickey Kostmayer. He never questioned his instinct or his experience, the decision to find Mickey made without hesitation. Firstly, he would make some phone calls, put out some feelers as to Kostmayer’s location, let people know he was looking for him. Then he would visit Mickey’s apartment, look for something, anything that might tell him where his friend was keeping himself. Again, his experience told him that he would find nothing but he had decided that the last thing he wanted to do was to sit in his own apartment and wait. If his instinct was right, and deep down he knew it would be, Mickey needed his help and he needed it now.

And when he did find his friend he was going to sit him down, tie him to a chair if he had to, and explain to him the benefits of friendship. Mickey could have come to him, should have come to him when he had returned home. Kostmayer needed to know that he could talk to him about anything.

McCall laughed and shook his head. Mickey would throw that one back in his face, accusing McCall of being the last person to talk about his feelings. He sighed. Mickey still needed to know that he could talk him. However, it would be up to Mickey to take him up on his offer.

He closed his eyes at the thought of the Allenwaite incident. Mickey had stayed with McCall for a few days after his release from the hospital – not by his own choice of course. McCall had offered a listening ear then but Mickey had refused to talk about what had happened. His own brother hadn’t been able to get him to open up.

Now it was happening again. Something had gone wrong with Mickey’s mission, something that had been bad enough to cause him to run and hide from his friends. But Mickey didn’t need to hide, not from McCall. This was going to be the last time that Mickey shut himself off from his friends. McCall was going to make sure of that.

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Henson had pulled up his own chair and was now sitting facing Mickey Kostmayer, their knees nearly touching. “Talk to me Mickey.”

“What do you want to know?”

“I want to know how he thinks. I want to know what his strengths are, his weaknesses. I want to know everything about Robert McCall.”

“He thinks like a soldier, acts like a soldier and lives like a soldier.” Mickey explained. “If you want to beat McCall at his own game, you’re going to have to think like he does.”

“I already do.” Henson smiled at Mickey.

“You’re a soldier?”

“No, but you don’t have to be a soldier to think like one.”

Mickey smiled to himself. Henson was an idiot. The man had no idea what he was doing. “If you thought like a soldier you wouldn’t be here dealing with me. You would have gone straight to McCall.”

“I already explained myself to you, Mickey.”

“Yeah you did and I don’t buy your explanation.” Mickey frowned then smiled. “You’re scared of him aren’t you?” It wasn’t a question but a statement of fact. “You’re afraid of Robert McCall.”

“Maybe and what’s wrong with being afraid of McCall? Nothing, that’s what, and I’ll tell you this Mickey. When I’m finished with him, McCall’s going to be afraid of me.”

“Won’t happen,” said Mickey, “nothing scares that man.”

“We’ll see.”

“No, you won’t see because you’ll never get the chance.”

“I’m starting to get tired of your attitude, Mickey.”

“Then shoot me.”

Henson smiled. “What are his strengths?”

“Loyalty and friendship.” Mickey told him. “He’s looking for me right now.”

“I don’t think so, Mickey.” Henson shook his head, “No one knows where you are, not even McCall. You made sure of that.”

“What makes you think that?”

Henson was still smiling. “Like I said before, I know everything about you, Mickey.”

“A file wouldn’t tell you something like that.”

“No, it wouldn’t, but you’d be surprised what Sarah knows about you.” Mickey was surprised but he didn’t let it show. “She told me that you were listed as missing.”

“Missing? Me?”

“Yeah you. Apparently the Company hasn’t heard from you in two days.” Henson leaned forward and stared into Mickey’s eyes. “What happened?”

“What?”

“What happened on the mission?”

Mickey frowned. “I thought we were talking about McCall.”

“Yeah, so we were.” Henson didn’t move back but instead stayed within Mickey’s personal space. “What are his weaknesses?”

Now it was Mickey’s turn to smile. “Loyalty and friendship. It goes both ways for McCall.”

“You’re not giving me what I want, Mickey.” Henson pushed his chair back and stood up. “Do I need to kill another hostage, maybe hurt the young lady a bit more?”

“No!” Mickey lowered his head. “Just ask your damn questions and I’ll answer them.”

“Family?”

“He has a son.” If Henson knew anything about McCall, he would know that he had a son.

“Look at me, Mickey” He waited for Mickey to raise his head. “Now . . . tell me something I don’t know.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“I told-“

“Damnit! You know more about McCall than you’re letting on so why the questions if you already know the answers.”

An expression that Mickey couldn’t read fell onto Henson’s features. “You’re a lot smarter than I gave you credit for Mickey. And here I was thinking you were just McCall’s errand boy.” Henson folded his arms and smiled. “You’re right. I’ve just been messing with you. Playing with your mind, just like you did with my brother.”

“So you don’t want McCall,” said Mickey, “you want me.”

“I’ve got you Mickey, and when I’m finished with you I’m going to deal with McCall.”

“Who’s your brother?”

“Does the name Hawkins ring a bell?”

Mickey nodded and said, “Yeah . . . the guy got what he deserved.”

Henson’s fist struck Mickey’s jaw with such intensity that Mickey fell backwards, the back of the chair landing heavily on the floor, knocking the breath out of him. Darkness began to invade Mickey’s vision, taking his hand, and leading him into oblivion.

“Shit!” Henson kicked Mickey’s chair in frustration.

.
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.


McCall had returned from his investigations into Mickey Kostmayer’s disappearance with no new information. Mickey had left no indication as to his whereabouts in his apartment or with his friends. McCall had been right; he wasn’t going to be able to find his friend.

And if he couldn’t find him, he couldn’t help him.

His last resort was to contact Control and let him know that he couldn’t find Mickey Kostmayer, that he wouldn’t be able to find him. He was going to have to leave it to the Company’s Retrieval Order to find the missing agent. He didn’t want to but he knew Mickey wasn’t just missing, he was in trouble and McCall would do what was needed to find him.

Just as he was about to make the call a fist collided with his door. Instinct told him it wasn’t Mickey. McCall removed the small weapon from inside his coat and stepped closer to the door.

“Open the door, Robert . . . I know you’re in there.”

McCall sensed the urgency in Control’s voice. Something had happened. He opened the door and when Control was about to step into the apartment he stood in front of him, blocking his way.

“If you hurt him I’m going to-“

“I haven’t hurt him, Robert, but he’s in trouble.”

McCall grimaced in disgust. “You tried that line earlier this evening, remember.”

“Are you going to let me in?”

“No. You can say what you need to say from there.”

“Robert, I don’t have time for this and neither does Kostmayer,” Control growled.

“Then you better start talking.”

Control sighed and rubbed his forehead with his right hand. “Kostmayer is officially missing.”

“Official now is it,” said McCall, “So what’s happened since the last time you were here.”

“Robert-“

“Someone who is less capable than Mickey tried to bring him in. Is that it? What did Mickey do to him?”

“Robert . . . please listen to me.”

There was a note of sincerity in the tone that Control used, and it was enough for McCall to realize that Mickey Kostmayer wasn’t just in trouble, he was in serious danger. “Come in.” He stepped aside to allow the older man to pass by him and enter the apartment. “What’s happened to him?”

“I don’t know what’s happened to him.” He lifted a hand to stop McCall’s rebuttal. ”But I do know this . . . Sarah MacIntosh called in about half an hour ago to let her boss know that she wasn’t coming into work tomorrow.”

“What the hell has that got to do with Mickey?”

“She asked to be put through to her boss, a Mr. Hunter . . . we don’t have anyone with that name working for us.” Control saw the recognition on McCall’s features.

“Hunter . . . that’s Mickey’s code name,” McCall nodded.

“How do you know Kostmayer’s code name?”

“That doesn’t matter now,” said McCall.

“He told you didn’t he?” Control threw his hands into the air in an act of frustration. “You have too much influence on the kid, Robert.”

“Kid? You’re worried about him, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m worried . . . he’s one of my best agents and I can’t afford to lose him.”

McCall smiled and it was a smile full of anger. “You’re worried about losing your best agent, not about Mickey Kostmayer?”

“I’m worried about both, especially after what happened to Mickey on his last mission.”

McCall ignored the comment; he didn’t have the time or the energy to argue with Control about Mickey Kostmayer. “Sarah MacIntosh knows something about Mickey’s disappearance, possibly even his location.”

“Yes.”

“What else did she say?”

“Only that she won’t be in for a couple of days.”

“Give me her address.”

“McCall, I’ve already sent some men over there, there is no need for you to get involved. I just wanted you to know what was going on.”

McCall laughed. “I’m not stupid, Control. You came here to get me involved, not to give me information. Now give me her address!”

“I never could fool you could I.” Control headed for the door with McCall on his heels. “I’ll drive.”







Part One | Part Two


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