Disclaimers: Nothing's mine but the words; everything else belongs to Pet Fly. No infringement is intended, and I'm not makin' a dime. (Who needs money when you've got love?) (Well, okay, but I'm still not making any money!)
Summary: A good workday goes bad for Daniel Casey.
Notes: Just a short piece to keep you vocal Cycles fans at bay! (I'm nothing if not responsive to feedback! ;) More coming soon, I promise. Enjoy.
Sonia Cortez blinked as Daniel Casey answered the door to 852 Prospect — before she knocked. She was going to have to get used to that, she supposed, if she were going to be guiding a Sentinel. Carefully she changed her startled look into a smile.
"Sonia!" said Casey eagerly, grabbing her arm and pulling her in. "I've been waiting for you — come on, come look, you're going to love this!"
"Okay — okay, Daniel, what is it?" asked Sonia, laughing, tossing her handbag so that it landed in a chair. Casey pulled her into the living room, gestured toward the coffee table, which was covered with newspaper clippings. He sat down on the floor in front of it, and she did likewise. "Oooh," she said, eagerly peering down at the table. "Good work day, huh?"
"Oh yeah," said Casey, beaming. "Look at this." The first clipping that caught Sonia Cortez's eye read: "TERROR IN THE SKY." She looked around, saw that there were other headlines, of varying sizes. "HIJACKING AT CASCADE AIRPORT", "HELD HOSTAGE", "NEAR-MISS AT CASCADE AIRPORT", "FIFTEEN PLANES THREATENED AT CASCADE AIRPORT", "TOWER TAKEOVER AT CASCADE INTERNATIONAL" etc. etc. "It's the case Sandburg describes in Volume II," said Casey eagerly. "Look, it really happened."
"I'm sure it happened," said Sonia, laughing. "Though that isn't the point. The point is that Blair Sandburg says that they went to the airport because he had a vision of the disaster."
"Well, obviously it doesn't say that," said Casey. "Some of the articles don't mention them by name at all — it's just, 'Cascade detectives on the scene managed to regain control of the tower and bring the planes down.' No one mentions Ellison or Sandburg in the national press — it did get national press, by the way. Obviously, the closer you get to Cascade, the bigger a deal it is, and the more likely they are to be mentioned. Or at least Him. Ellison," Casey clarified, although Sonia knew exactly who Casey meant. "Sandburg hardly ever gets mentioned before 1998. His press seems to start only after he became an officer."
"Well, that makes sense," said Sonia, skimming an article. "Hard to explain exactly what he was doing there."
"I'll say," said Casey. "The thing is, though, that none of the articles explicitly contradict Sandburg's version. Like, here: 'Detective James Ellison, at the airport to pick up a friend, was able to penetrate the tower and apprehend the suspects.'"
"Hmmm," said Sonia.
"Or this one! This one even better. Get this! 'Upon arriving in the control room, police found three of the seven suspects unconscious. The other four surrendered immediately.' Hah!" exploded Casey. "That fits what Sandburg says, doesn't it?"
"Yeah," said Sonia. "He said he used the Guide voice to push four of them into submission."
"Exactly," said Daniel, beaming. "Exactly. 'Four of them surrendered immediately' — just what the paper says. It's really a shame, you know, that he wasn't mentioned," said Casey suddenly, frowning. "He gets no credit for that at all."
"Yeah, but Casey — hard to explain how he subdued terrorists from ten floors down!"
"I know, I know, but it still sucks. Still," he said brightly, "it starts to get better after 1998. I haven't pulled all the clippings yet, but there's a definite trend. And then, after 2016 — that's when things start going national."
"What happened in 2016?" asked Sonia, frowning.
Casey looked offended. "Weren't you paying attention? Come on, Sonia — you're supposed to be the expert, here. Volume X? 2016? Cascade Summer Olympics?"
"Oh yeah," said Sonia. "Sorry — I do remember that."
"I should hope so. Anyway, the press there is fantastic — dammit, Sonia, what the hell is he doing here?"
"Who?" asked Sonia blankly, disoriented by the sudden, angry question.
"Victor. I thought — I thought it could just be us tonight, you know?" said Daniel Casey softly.
"I — uh — I misunderstood," said Sonia. "I thought you — " and then there was a knock at the door. Casey closed his eyes, didn't move. Sonia got up, crossed to the door, let Victor de Guzman in.
"Hello, Sonia," said Victor, bending to kiss her cheek, and behind her, Daniel Casey flinched. "Hello, Daniel," Victor said, coming over, and Daniel looked away, waved his hand vaguely. "Hey — what's this?" Victor said, looking at the clippings.
"Daniel's pulled some newspaper reports of the 1998 Cascade Airport takeover. Volume II," she added in explanation.
"The first vision, yeah, right, I remember, " said Victor, leaning over to look. "Any contradictions?"
Sonia looked at Daniel, but Daniel seemed to have lost his enthusiasm for the story. "No," she said, finally. "The facts as stated seem to confirm the truth of Sandburg's account."
"Knew they would," said Victor softly. "I just knew they would. He wouldn't lie — not in his work, anyway. His work was goddamned meticulous, always."
"Excuse me," muttered Casey, and he walked into the office and shut the door.
"What's with him?" asked Victor, and Sonia shrugged. "Jesus God," muttered de Guzman. "Flashes of Ellison. The constant outrages, the irritability — "
" — territoriality — " corrected Sonia.
"Call it what you like — I don't know how you stand it. I don't know how Blair stood it."
"He stood it because he loved Him," said Casey tightly, banging the office door open, and they looked up to see him standing in the doorframe. "You guys still don't get it, do you? I. CAN. HEAR. YOU! I never get to be alone, it's never quiet, I can hear you — I can hear everything. Like a radio you can't turn off. And you know what — I don't want to hear you, honestly I don't. You have no idea what I'd give for a little goddamn peace and quiet — and then you two could talk all you want, call me irritable, call me an asshole, call me whatever the fuck you want."
"Casey, I'm sorry — " said Victor de Guzman.
"Well, I don't forgive you," retorted Casey. "You should know better. You knew Him, and now you know what He was — and still you persist in saying bad things about Him. Don't you understand? — for you this is intellectually exciting. A fascinating phenomenon. For me — this is my life, here. This was His life. Not a joke, not a "study" — my life! It's like listening to two doctors discuss a disease when you've got it. You don't have to hear the noise, smell the smells, see — see bacteria crawling! larvae hatching! This isn't abstract for me, okay? This thing has ruined my whole life!" He looked at Sonia, pointed accusingly. "And you. You need to decide whose side you're on — "
"I didn't think there were sides," retorted Sonia.
"There are sides. Blair Sandburg understood that! There are sides. Are you in it, or are you only studying it? It makes a difference, dammit," said Casey, and his voice was strangled "It makes a difference to me. Blair Sandburg understood that — he was in. Isn't that the point of this group?" he asked, sarcastically. "We're here because he didn't publish his work. Because he gave his life to the thing. To being a — a Guide. Didn't he?"
"He did," confirmed Victor quietly, meeting Casey's stare. "He did."
"He threw away his chances at tenure, didn't he? Became a cop. Stood in the background — took no credit. Put up with Ellison's outrages, his irritability — because he was his Guide. Because he understood it — he really understood it, understood Him. Because he — he — " and Casey's face turned red, and he was quivering with anger and...and something else. "Get out. Get out, both of you. I want to be alone — or as alone as I can be with — with this."
"Daniel..." choked Sonia, and she was crying.
"Just go, okay," muttered Daniel. "We'll talk tomorrow. I'm tired, now," and Victor took Sonia's arm, pulled her toward the door.
"Sonia, he means it," whispered Victor. "Let him cool off..." and he grabbed her bag, pulled her out the door, closed it behind him.
Daniel Casey stood in the living room, hands over his face, trying not to listen to Sonia's muffled sobs as she went down the hall, into the elevator, and down down down. He turned suddenly and climbed the stairs to the loft two at a time, and threw himself down on the bed. He stretched out, snagged a pillow, and held it to his head, pressed it to his face, trying to drown out the world, trying to relax, to be comforted, lying in this place where Sentinel and Guide had once loved each other.