"Casey at the Bat" Chapter 2/?
Author: Aphrodite Roslin
Characters: Munch/Casey, The rest of the gang
Summary: John and Casey fight. Bad guy gets Casey. John gets angsty. Things can only get better, right?
Detective John Munch sat down at his desk with a hangover for the record books and an overwhelming cloud of guilt hanging over his head. Casey hadn’t come home after the party. He must have really pissed her off. He couldn’t blame her for not wanting to be around him after the way he’d acted. Of course she’d want time to think! Why he had expected anything different was beyond him.
“Whoa! I was gonna ask why you didn’t show last night, but it looks like you guys had a little party of your own,” Fin smirked from the desk across from Munch.
“You could say that,” he responded, pushing his sunglasses further over his eyes and rubbing his temples.
“Hey, John! We missed you at the party last night,” Olivia smiled as she and Elliot walked in.
“Yeah, we thought Casey might have gotten sick or something, but it looks like you’re the one whose under the weather, huh?” Elliot mussed his hair once to annoy him, and John smacked his hand away, smoothing his hair back down.
“What are you talking about? Casey went without me,” Munch told them exasperatedly.
“No, she didn’t,” replied an equally confused Olivia.
“What are you talking about? We had an argument, she said she was going without me, and stormed out. Her car was gone when I left this morning.”
“Well, wherever she went, it wasn’t with us,” Elliot told him. Concern growing in the pit of his stomach, Munch pulled out his cell phone and dialed Casey’s number.
“She’s not answering,” he announced.
“Hey, wait a second. You’ve got a voicemail,” Fin told him, looking over his shoulder.
“Be my guest,” Munch offered, handing him the phone. Fin pressed a few buttons, typed in the password he set up for his partner, and the voicemail activated.
“You have one unheard message,” the robotic woman’s voice began. “First unheard message.”
Munch held his breath, fearing the worst. He just knew Casey had left him for good this time. But the sounds he heard next were worse than he could have ever imagined. Casey was screaming as loud bangs and shattering glass were heard in the background. Fin and Elliot locked fearful gazes as Olivia and John concentrated on their shoes. There was one last thud before Casey’s cries were cut off. Increasingly loud sounds of shuffling could be heard until the line finally cut off. No one spoke as the robotic voice returned.
“End of message. To reply to this message, press 5. To delete this message, press 7. To save it in the archives, press 9.”
Fin shut off the phone as soon as he could force himself to move. A terrible stillness washed over the group for a long moment. No one knew what to do or say.
“Son of a bitch! God damn it!” Munch yelled, knocking half of his desk’s contents to the floor.
“John,” Fin put a hand on his partner’s shoulder, but Munch shrugged him off and headed straight for the stairs. Olivia made a move to follow him, but Fin stopped her.
“I’ll go. You guys fill Cragen in. Get this investigation started.”
“Go away, Fin,” Munch said without turning to face his partner.
“How’d you know it was me?” Fin ignored the order and continued over to stand beside his friend, looking out over the busy city.
“Your after-shave could choke a horse,” John replied, but there was none of the usual humor in his voice. Fin smirked anyway, out of habit more than anything.
“That’s cold, man,” he said, attempting to put some humor into his tone. John said nothing but continued to stare into the brightly-lit sky. “Look, John, what happened to Casey wasn’t your fault.”
“I asked her to marry me,” Munch began unexpectedly.
“Good for you,” Fin told him genuinely, unsure of where this was headed.
“She said she needed time to think, and I was my usual self. We fought, and she left. She even left her sweater laying on the back of the couch,” John hesitated, turning to look his partner in the eye. “I got drunk and passed out on the couch while she was out there being abducted by some freak. She even called me for help, and I didn’t hear it. Tell me how this wasn’t my fault.”
“There’s no way you could have seen this coming, bro. No way,” Fin replied.
“Then why does jumping off this roof sound so good right now?”
“I don’t know. But it won’t help Casey any if you do.”
John said nothing.
“Come on, let’s go back downstairs,” Fin suggested, placing his hand once again on his partner’s shoulder. Munch nodded reluctantly, and they headed back inside.
“So, what’s the plan, people?” John questioned as he and Fin re-entered the squad room.
“There is none,” a very clearly angry Elliot informed him before turning his head to glare at Captain Cragen.
“What?” Munch demanded.
“Look, I know how all of you feel about this, but it isn’t our jurisdiction,” Cragen replied.
“Screw jurisdictions! Captain, this is Casey we’re talking about!” Munch yelled.
“You think I don’t know that, John? You of all people should be thankful that this case isn’t one of ours,” the captain said sternly.
“So, what? We’re just gonna sit around on our asses until it becomes one of ours or Homicide gets the call?” Fin stepped forward.
“Hey, I don’t like this anymore than you, but this isn’t my decision,” Cragen raised his voice slightly for emphasis.
“Captain,” Elliot began.
“Not another word,” Cragen interrupted. “You and Olivia have your own case.” He told him as he handed Elliot a slip of paper with the case’s details. Lowering his tone, he turned to his other two detectives. “John, go home and relax.”
“Relax? Some maniac has Casey, and you want me to relax?” it was Munch’s turn to raise his voice.
“This isn’t an option, detective. Go home. That’s an order.”
Without another word, Munch turned and headed for the door.
“Fin, make sure he gets there in one piece,” the captain ordered. Fin nodded then headed after his friend.
Neither John nor Fin spoke a word during their drive. What was there to say?
“We’re here,” Fin announced to the distracted John as he pulled up to the apartment building. The older man blinked quickly a few times before reaching to unbuckle his seatbelt.
“Right, thanks for the ride,” he said without looking the younger man in the eye.
“Sure thing, bro. Hey, put your jacket on. It’s freezing out there.”
“Nah. I'm good,” Munch shook his head as he went to open the door. Fin grabbed his wrist before he could go any further.
“Whoa, it’s 42 degrees outside. I’m not gonna watch you punish yourself for this. Now, put on the damn jacket, or stay in the car for the rest of the day. Your choice.”
Munch bit his tongue for a moment in thought before finally grabbing his coat and shrugging it on.
“There, it’s on. Can I open the door now?”
“Go for it,” Fin nodded. John promptly yanked on the door handle and stepped out into the bitter early winter air. His partner followed suit.
“Where do you think you’re going?” John asked.
“Wherever you’re going,” the younger man replied nonchalantly.
“Fin, I’m not a child. I can find my apartment all by myself,” Munch insisted.
“Maybe, but I’ve got all day and nowhere to be. Might as well hang with you,” Fin shrugged.
“Right,” said Munch, obviously not convinced of his partner’s reasoning. “I hope you don’t expect me to cook.”
“You never do,” grinned Fin as they began to make their way to John and Casey’s apartment.
“Make yourself at home,” John told his friend as he closed his apartment door.
“Thanks, man. Mind if I grab a soda?” Fin asked.
“Sure. Get me one while you’re at it,” Munch answered.
“You got it,” Fin said as he made his way toward the kitchen.
Sighing, John took a seat in the chair across from the couch. The first thing he saw was Casey’s sweater lying neatly across the back. An unexpected feeling of helplessness overtook him, and he dropped his head into his hands. This wasn’t a feeling that he got often, and he despised it with every fiber of his being.
Fin found him in that position as he came back into the living room with the drinks. This time he didn’t say a word. Instead, he simply sat John’s soda next to the distraught man and took a seat across from him, careful to avoid the abandoned sweater on the other end.