saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 5 (A Man Apart)

author: Rae/Celtia/Celtiareborn

rating/genre: (NC-17) - Romance/Crime Drama

warnings: het, language, violence, and graphic sexual content

summary: Officer Sean Vetter, formerly of the DEA, tries to rebuild his life in Chicago after losing his wife in a botched assassination attempt on his own life. Joining the Chicago Special Tactics Unit, Vetterís bitterness toward life and sullen determination not to care for anyone makes him a nightmare of potential partners, until a stubborn Irish woman named Kate Shea decides she isnít going to let Vetter chase her away Ė from his career or his life. (Sean/OFC)

comments/disclaimers: My summary and first chapter pretty well give away the plot of the movie, so if you haven't seen it yet you might want to wait to read this until you have. FEEDBACK: Two conditions: Please talk to me, not at me; Please do not rewrite my stuff and send it to me the way you would do it. Otherwise have at it. Thanks. ARCHIVE: A qualified yes Ė I would not like the story to appear anywhere else without the person discussing it with me first. NOTES: The story does involve a stalker. Also, there is some violence stemming from Vetter and Kateís jobs as undercover officers. NOTE II: There is some Russian used in the story but I try to explain it unless it explains itself.

CHAPTER FIVE

Kate met Vetter at the door to the conference room on Monday morning. They exchanged quiet greetings and sat down at the long polished wooden table next to each other. They chatted a little while the other officers assembled for the morning assignment meeting. People noticed them, stared at them a few moments before taking their own seats. Captain Porter, when he finally came in the room, all but stopped breathing at the site of Vetter being civil.

The assignments remained the same: Vetter and Kate were still on third shift at Kafelnikovís office. At the conclusion of the meeting they both rose. They made plans for meeting up for their shift. Kate said something and Vetter smiled faintly before leaving to go home for some sleep.

Porter watched the big man go. He motioned to Kate to come into his office. When she did she found him waiting eagerly for her by the door.

"Did I see Vetter talking to you?" he asked.

"Yeah."

"Has he been doing a lot of that?"

"Not a lot. But we are talking."

"Do you think heís going to be okay here?"

Kate fell into a chair in front of the Captainís desk. "Itís too early to tell," she said after a long moment.

"But he seems approachable with you. Thatís got to indicate that we wonít have to kick him out to another unit."

"Itís just too soon to be sure. Donít rush this." She watched him cross to the desk and perch on the edge in front of her. "Heís had a big adjustment to make, Cap. Give him time."

"This is the first time heís ever spoken to anyone in this department unless absolutely necessary. I told you you could do it," Porter said happily.

"You spend eight hours locked up in a car with him and even somebody like Vetter is going to open up a little. I donít know if weíll ever get past this stage, though. We may never be true partners." She felt vaguely uncomfortable lying to her captain but her need to guard Vetterís privacy made her want to keep his gentler side secret.

"Iím damn glad about whatís happened with him so far. Keep working on him. You might be saving his career." Porter poured himself a cup of coffee from a carafe on his desk and offered some to Kate. "So whatís your take on these Russian businessmen meeting with Kafelnikov?" he asked as she took the coffee from him.

"Two legitimate guys who donít know what theyíre getting involved with," she said.

"Meeting with a guy all week from 11:00 at night until 3:00 in the morning doesnít indicate talks about expanding his office to include a daycare center for his employees with kids."

"Maybe. But Molokov and Chiuk are straight-arrow guys, Cap. Very strong character references in the community. I just canít see them getting involved with the Russian mob."

"Whatís Vetter think?" he asked.

"That theyíre in whatever Kafelnikovís doing up to their necks."

"When these guys come out in the morning after meeting with him, how do they look?"

"Like somebody just shot their dog. They donít seem to enjoy whatever happens in that office from eleven to three."

"Monaghan and Edwards get the same impression about them when theyíre going in to meet with Kafelnikov, that they do not want to be there."

"Blackmail?" she asked.

"Thatís how Iím leaning. But what could Kafelnikov be blackmailing them about? Youíre right about their reps in with the Russians. Theyíre good family men, faithful to their wives, heavily involved in the Orthodox Russian Church. Itís pretty hard to find damning evidence against people like that so you can force them into helping you get illegal weapons to Moscow," Porter said.

"Maybe the family connection is the key. Kafelnikov could be resorting to naked threats: do what I want or Iíll kill your wife and kids. That would be a good hammer against Molokov and Chiuk," she said.

"He usually has a little more finesse than that but if he really wants this shipment to go and needs their help you may be right about how heís getting them on his side. Keep on the office front. If the routine changes and Kafelnikov leaves the office after the other two are gone call it in and follow him wherever he goes. I have this serious wet dream that heíll leave the office and go right to wherever these weapons are so we can bust him," Porter said.

"Thanks for the graphic imagery." Kate gave him back the coffee. "You gonna pull Vetter and me off the all nighters anytime soon?"

"Once we get the guys back from narcotics. You donít like spending the night with Vetter?" he asked, grinning.

Kate stared at him, then turned and left the office. ********

"Whatís in the bag?" Vetter asked as Kate met him at the precinct steps.

"Lunch," she answered. "I realized as I was leaving tonight that you never bring anything to eat on the shift, so I packed an extra sandwich and a few other things for you. If you want them."

"Thanks." He opened the door of his truck for her.

As they drove toward Kafelnikovís office they talked. Kate informed him that Katieís talk of "Mr. Vetter" was nearly constant. Sunday they worked in the garden and all the child wanted to know was how Vetter would plant the flowers or pull out the weeds.

"I think my daughter has a crush on you," she said.

"I get all the ladies under ten," he replied with a smile.

"Sheís already nagging me to get you back over to the house. You may have created a monster."

He thought a moment, then said quietly, "I could come by the next time sheís over."

"Are you sure?" she asked. "Sheís quite the little manipulator in her way. Donít let her cute you into anything you donít want to do."

"She wouldnít be. Next time Iíll take you two out for dinner."

"Good lord, sheíll have a seizure at that idea. Sheís back on Friday night. You probably already have plans, though."

"Nothing I canít change. Iíll be by at seven. Katie can pick where we go."

She nodded. She found a smile on her face she could not erase.

They arrived precisely at midnight. Monaghan informed them over his cell that all events were proceeding as expected: Molokov and Chiuk were up in Kafelnikovís office. At the conclusion of his report he whispered, "Is Vetter actually talking to you?"

"Yes."

"Jesus, I didnít think he could do more than grunt. Are you civilizing him or something?"

"Totally unnecessary," she assured. "See you tomorrow, Monaghan."

Kate flipped her phone shut. Vetter looked over at her as if expecting her to tell him something. When she didnít he leaned back behind the steering wheel to watch the light in Kafelnikovís office window.

"Porter wanted our feedback on this whole thing with Molokov and Chiuk," she said.

"So which one of us is he going with?"

"Both of us. He thinks that Kafelnikovís blackmailing them. That would explain my feelings that heís coercing them into helping him with the arms shipment and yours that theyíre involved as much as he is."

"Makes sense. Kind of makes me want to know what he has on them that could make them jump to his tune," he said.

"Iím going the threat-to-the-family route."

"Maybe. But I just have a feeling thereís something more to it than that. What kind of a rep does Kafelnikov have with the Russians?"

"That heís somebody not to be crossed. Everybody knows what he does and how ruthless he is. Theyíre scared of him," she said.

"Could be enough to make him sufficiently menacing to get away with threats. But usually you donít get too far with blatant muscle, not to the point where Kafelnikov is. This guyís style is all designer suits and champagne. I knew a lot of drug dealers like him when I was with the DEA and they always had buffers between themselves and their thugs. The thugs were the ones who did their dirty work, not the dealers," he said.

"So Kafelnikov sent around a couple of animals to Molokov and Chiuk to make the threats. Heís following the Mafia plan for controlling the world," she said.

"It just doesnít fit to me. Iíd really like to know whatís going on in that office. Not that I understand Russian."

"I do," she said.

He stared at her. "You gotta be kidding me."

"Not at all. I needed fourteen hours of a language for my B.A. so I took Russian. Studied it enough after I got out of school that Iím pretty good with it. I donít catch everything thatís said but I get the gist," she said.

"Then why hasnít Porter set up a security mike in the office?"

"Because thatís not us. Weíre destruction and clean up, Vetter, not security. We leave that to the Feds."

"But you could get a judge to give you authorization for a wiretap?"

"Sure. Kafelnikov sweeps regularly though. Cocaine tends to make you see bugs of all sorts around every corner," she said. "Heíd find anything we put in within a couple of days and go to ground."

"Yeah. Out of his office. Into his house where we could have a lot more room to work," he contended.

She thought for a moment, then said, "Porter would never go for it."

"If I sold it to him he would."

"Weíre not like the DEA: we donít do undercover shit. No, we have to stick with the protocol as it stands. You need to get used to the idea that youíre a different kind of cop now."

He pulled a can of soda from the bag in the seat between them. "Would you go in with me?" he asked as removed the pulltab.

"You mean into Kafelnikovís operation?"

"Yeah."

"I donít have a problem working from the inside." She studied his face. "You really intend to push Porter into letting us go."

"You guys have been watching Kafelnikov for what, two years now? Surveillances and tails havenít worked and that isnít going to change. Heís too smart to get caught with his hand in the till, coke habit or not. You have to get somebody in with these Russians. Thatís the only way to crack an operation like this," he contended. "Talk to Porter with me after the shift. If youíre for getting in too he wonít turn us down."

"I did go undercover once. By accident."

"Explain that."

"Byron and I were assigned surveillance on a guy dealing in weapons. Small time, not like Kafelnikov. We watched him go into this bar every night for three weeks on the odd chance that he would be stupid enough to come outside and make his deals. Never happened of course, but that was the order. We were getting antsy just sitting there with our heads up our asses while this guy peddled his stuff in the bar. It was stupid to let that go on," she said.

"How did the accidental undercover work come up?" he asked.

"One Saturday afternoon Katie and I were out in the park, and I saw this guy out there with his kid. I couldnít believe it but there he was, a weekend parent just like me. I was still trying to comprehend the fact that I was seeing him when he came over and sat next to me on the bench. Katie and his kid hooked up to play soccer so we started talking. He came onto me and I let him think he was getting somewhere. We made a date to get together Sunday night after our kids went home. I wore a wire, got him on tape trying to impress me with his big guns. Best bust I ever pulled off," she said.

"Youíd be perfect with Kafelnikov. You speak Russian and you can handle the pressure of being on the inside. This will work," he said excitedly.

"I have to admit that these endless surveillances do seem useless to me. Okay, Vetter, Iím in, even though I canít see us getting authorization. It should at least make for an interesting conversation," she decided. "On the off chance that Porter actually goes for his plan, what will you be doing while Iím charming Kafelnikov with my knowledge of Russian?"

"I speak the universal language," he contended. "Muscle."

"I suppose guys like him canít ever have too much of that. That was your shtick in California, right?"

"When I wasnít on a raid. Demetrius and I had a great system. He was the smooth talker, the guy with the brain, and I was his mad dog killer. Used to get to scare the hell out of the muscle the dealers kept on hand. I had more job offers to work for drug dealers than they had buyers," he explained.

"It must have been hard to rein that in when the infiltration was over," she said.

"Stacey was always there. She could calm me down no matter what was going on at work. She was better than anything I could trip on," he said.

Kate waited for the change in his demeanor she observed after he spoke of his wife: the body deflated of life, the voice hushed by pain and memory. She did not see it.

"How about breakfast after we talk to Porter?" she asked.

He shrugged. "Iíll probably be too hyped to sleep anyway."

"Did you call your parents like you said you would?"

"Yeah, I did."

"Howíd it go?"

"Great. My folks and I had a good long talk. My sister Sara is pregnant again, which makes her fifth. Iím running out of christening presents."

"I thought only we Irish Catholics raised our own football teams."

"I have three sisters and two brothers. They all went the traditional get-married- and-have-kids-in-a-couple-of-years route, so after Stacey died it was pretty hard to be around them and their children. Iíve missed a lot with my family the past few years. Stupid," he remarked.

"So make it up with them now. If thereís one thing my divorce taught me itís that itís never too late to recover things you think youíve lost," she said.

"You have a lot more optimism about life than I do."

"Not really. I can just see the little pictures inside the bleakness of the big one."

He considered her words. "Interesting," he said.


home          prior chapter          next chapter          fiction gateway