saga/title/fandom: Adagio chapter 12 (A Man Apart)
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.
Monday morningís assignment meeting went as it usually did, with Porter giving tasks to the officers in his efficient yet approachable manner. To Kate and Vetterís surprise, he announced that the detail on Kafelnikov was being strictly curtailed. The twenty-four hour surveillance was over and only Monaghan and Edwards would be attached to the investigation. The other teams would move on to different projects, most of them centering on narcotics trafficking.
"Thatís it," Porter said once he gave out the last of his responsibilities to the officers.
Only Kate and Vetter remained at the table. "What about us, Cap?" she asked.
"You two have a special assignment. Come with me to my office," Porter answered, exiting the room before either officer could say anything.
When Kate and Vetter walked in to the Captainís office they discovered a well-dressed man in a designer suit. He appeared to be in his early thirties, handsome in a polished way, with black hair and hazel eyes that glittered with the slick arrogance of a man too fast on his way to the top of his profession. Vetter didnít recognize him but Kate did and she instantly stiffened. Vetter perceived her discomfort but couldnít ask her about it.
"I believe Officer Shea knows Assistant Chief Geffen," Porter said. The unease in his voice he betrayed the fact that he did not want to witness the scene about to take place.
"Good morning," Geffen said, extending his hand to Kate. "Itís nice to meet one of our best agents."
She accepted the gesture somewhat warily. "Thank you."
"And you must be Officer Vetter," Geffen continued, now offering his hand to Vetter. "Youíve only been with us for a short time but youíve already distinguished yourself. Impressive."
Vetter shook the hand, nodded solemnly. He hated suits.
"Assistant Chief Geffen is second-in-command of the overall CSTU operation," Porter said, gesturing to Kate and Vetter to sit in front of the desk as he took his own place behind it. "Heís come here this morning to talk to you about the Kafelnikov investigation."
"I understand that you had dinner with Mr. Kafelnikov last week," Geffen said, his practiced supervisory smile firmly in place. "Could you tell me about that, please?"
Instantly Kate shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "There isnít much to tell," she said. "Grig Ė Mr. Kafelnikov invited me to his home for dinner. I went, didnít see anything unusual, came home. It wasnít a productive evening as far as the investigation went."
"Was it productive in any other way?"
Kateís eyes narrowed but she managed to speak calmly even while her resentment began to bubble. "How would you mean that, sir?"
"Not to be indelicate, Officer Shea, but Iím interested in whether you think Mr. Kafelnikov will be getting back in touch with you," Geffen said.
She felt Vetter move in the chair next to her, leaning toward her a bit as if to let her know she was not alone. She needed to know that.
"He already has," she confessed.
"Wonderful," Geffen said. "Thatís precisely what we need for him to do, to pursue you."
"Assistant Chief Geffen, I need to explain something to you," she said, internally picturing the razor wire she was about to trod. "Mr. Kafelnikov is not mentally stable. I realize the CSTU is aware of that, but not of how distorted his view of reality actually is. This weekend he proved that to me quite strongly and I donít care to see anymore of it."
"How do you mean, Kate?" Porter asked.
"Kafelnikov seems to be obsessed with me, Cap. I know that sounds pretty arrogant after one date but thereís no other way to look at it. He paid someone to learn my address and phone number, both of which are unlisted and which I didnít tell him. He sent a huge spray of roses to my house. The next morning he showed up on my doorstep. It unnerved me."
"Was he abusive toward you?" Geffen inquired.
"No. But he invaded my privacy. When the roses arrived I left him a very strongly worded message that I didnít want him to contact me again because I resented his prying into my private life. He called later and I told him again that I didnít want to see him. When he came to the house he tried to get me to forgive him by offering me a pair of ruby earrings. This isnít normal behavior. Frankly, Iím alarmed by it," she explained.
"What did you do when he came to see you?" Porter asked.
"Threatened to shoot him," she answered bluntly. "To which he replied that when I admit my true feelings for him and want to see him again all I have to do is call. Heís seriously disturbed and I want nothing to do with him."
"Weíre going to get a restraining order this morning," Vetter announced.
For the first time Geffen lost a bit of his composure. "Do Officer Sheaís personal problems concern you, Officer Vetter?" he asked.
"My partnerís personal problems concern me," Vetter replied, making no attempt to hide the resentment in his voice.
"According to the reports in your personnel file you donít have a partner here."
"I do now."
"Officer Vetter and I have clicked as partners," Kate said quickly. "We want to work together. Weíre friends and heís supporting me in this."
"Thatís admirable, of course, but what we need to deal with here is Kafelnikovís criminal enterprise," Geffen said. The smile returned. "Officer Shea, what we would like you to do is contact Kafelnikov and tell him that youíve changed your mind about seeing him again. Our intelligence reports tell us that this new arms shipment is going out very soon. We need someone on the inside who can monitor what heís doing and tell us when the sale is likely to happen and how."
"Wait one minute," Vetter said, getting out of his chair. "You canít ask her to get in touch with this guy after what he did this weekend. Heís a stalker, for Godís sake. If Shea goes back to him after that heíll never leave her alone."
"Sit down, Officer Vetter," Geffen said.
"Youíre asking her to endanger her life for your damned investigation. The hell with that," Vetter fumed.
"Are you aware of the proper protocol for a addressing a superior officer?" Geffen demanded.
"Yes, and if there was a superior officer in the room Iíd use it."
"Vetter, go to your desk," Porter said quickly, pushing him toward the office door. "Iíll call you when we need you."
"You canít do this to her," Vetter replied, his agitation growing.
"Kate is in good hands. Go."
Vetter left only after Kate nodded to him. He slammed the door so hard the glass pane in it rattled.
"Is he always like that?" Geffen asked as Porter returned to his chair.
"He never has been," Porter lied. "Apparently his concern for Kate is causing him to act rashly."
Geffen considered the words a moment, then turned back to Kate. "Will you undertake the assignment?" he asked.
She stared helplessly at him while she tried to get a handle on the mass of thoughts whirling around in her head. She knew that Geffenís question about whether she would accept the assignment was purely rhetorical. He could not force her to go back to Kafelnikov, of course, but if she declined she realized that a specific set of events would begin to occur in her professional life: lack of promotions or commendations, critiques in her personnel file over things that previously drew no notice. Everyone on the force knew that Geffen kept grudges. Very long grudges.
"I have a daughter," she finally said. "Kafelnikov doesnít know about her and I wonít endanger her, even for the department."
"Does she live with you?" Geffen asked.
"No. She lives with my ex-husband, but I see her every other weekend, more often lately. If she hadnít been at the park with Vetter on Saturday she would have been home when Kafelnikov came to the house. I find that an extremely frightening prospect," she said.
"When is she next supposed to see you?"
"Saturday, for our birthday."
"Intelligence tells us that Kafelnikov may be planning to send out his latest shipment this Friday. If you can help us nail him then by the time you next see your daughter heíll be in jail," Geffen said. "You know, if heís as obsessed with you as you claim the only way to be certain that heíll leave you alone is if heís in prison for the next fifty years. Consider that."
She could not deny the truth of his words. She tapped nervously on the arm of the chair, her leg bouncing up and down without her knowledge. At last she asked, "Could I speak with Captain Porter privately for a few minutes, sir?"
"Of course, Iíll be back in five." Geffen went to the door, pausing long enough to say, "Iíd appreciate your consideration on this matter, Office Shea. Youíd be doing the department a tremendous service by enabling us to catch Kafelnikov at last."
He went out, leaving a faint trace of cologne to linger after him. Once the door closed Kate looked to Porter and pleaded, "Get me out of this."
"You know I would if I could," he replied. "But this assignment comes from the top of the food chain, Kate. Geffen wants Kafelnikov so heíll have something to show at his mid-year review. He wants to take "Assistant" out of his title."
"Cap, Kafelnikov came to my house," she said passionately. "If I call him now after threatening to shoot him heíll think heís right that Iím destined to be with him."
"Geffenís too ambitious to have the amount of power he has. Thereís nobody I can go over his head to." Porter took in a deep breath. "Screw it, Kate. No project is worth endangering you or your daughter. Iíll tell Geffen heíll have to get his mole someplace else."
"There goes my career," she said.
"Iíll back you. If he starts coming down on you Iíll go to the Review Board and let them know what heís doing."
"Everybody knows how prejudiced he is against people who turn down his assignments but no one has been able to prove it. Whenever an accusation arises all he does is smile that ad exec smile and he slides out of trouble like shit on ice while the officer involved looks like an embittered idiot," she said.
"Look, the only thing Geffen is right about in all this is the fact that if we do put Kafelnikov in prison youíll be safe from him. If we donít, then heís going to be a problem for you for an awfully long time," Porter said. "You could get rid of him once and for all by nailing him."
"Iíd appreciate your re-phrasing that," she told him.
"What you do is completely up to you. As I said, Iíll stand behind whatever decision you make, and so will the CSTU." Porter arose. "Iím going to go out for a while. Take all the time you need to make your choice. Iíll keep Geffen out until youíre ready."
He placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. She heard the door close behind him and titled her head back against the chair. She couldnít risk Kafelnikov knowing about her daughter, and if the investigation took longer than the projected week she saw almost no way to avoid him learning about Katie. Yet if the unit did not put him in prison he would always be there, lingering in the shadows like some sort of hovering demon, an animal against which she could not defend herself or her child. She had to decide now which risk was greater: a sin of omission or commission.
As he saw Geffen crossing the squad room toward his desk Vetter felt his stomach muscles clench. The feeling was the same that came over him whenever he saw a drug dealer flaunting his wealth and power. Geffen was the same kind of animal as any drug lord: vicious, greedy, and out solely for himself. He didnít give a damn who he hurt as long as he got what he wanted.
"Iíd like to speak to you," Geffen said.
Vetter lowered his eyes to his desk and pretended to read a file. "Iím here."
"That little scene you played out in Porterís officeÖI donít care for it, Vetter. You may have gotten away with that hotdog cop shit in California but it doesnít wash here. I know how you fucked up out there. Youíre lucky I even let you into this squad," Geffen said.
Vetter sensed a sudden ebb in the conversations of the other officers seated nearby. He knew this was the effect Geffen wanted: to command the attention of everyone on the CSTU and let them know exactly who was running the show. Vetter leaned back in his chair, smiling at the other man.
"Why donít you tell me how I Ďfucked up out thereí?" he asked.
"Okay. You disobeyed orders. You took unnecessary chances. You violated the civil rights of so many people in L.A. that the ACLU could name a special unit after you. It got to the point where shooting you would have been a public service the dealers could have provided for the city," Geffen said.
Vetter sat silently a moment, then threw back his head and let go a laugh that echoed around the squad room. "Jesus, you suits are all the same," he said. "You sit around all day in your designer merchandise barking orders and making judgments, while guys like me go out on the streets and risk our asses so you can take all the credit for making the world safe for Mom and Dad and the 2.5 children. The fact of the matter is if you faced one situation on the street that I have youíd shit your pants in half a second."
Geffenís face flushed red. Vetter leaned forward.
"Tell me something," he said, placing his chin on his palm. "Are you the mayorís nephew, or did you fuck somebody to get this job? Because those are the only ways that I can explain you being here."
"Thatís it," Geffen said, his polished composure vanished. "You are going in front of the Review Board and answer for your insubordination."
"You want to know whatís insubordinate?" Vetter flew out of the chair with the words, coming around the desk so he was in the other manís face. "Asking a woman to resume seeing a man whoís a threat to her and her child, thatís insubordinate. You donít give a damn what happens to Shea or her daughter as long as you look good when itís time for your goddamned raise!"
"Vetter!" Porterís voice crossed the nearly silent squad room like a bullet. "Stand down!"
The Captain reached the desk just in time to shove himself between Geffen and Vetter.
"Whatís going on here? " he demanded.
"Officer Vetter just committed an act of insubordination for which Iím going to cite him in front of the Review Board," Geffen replied.
"Is this true, Vetter?"
"Yeah, itís true. And heís lucky I stopped at talking to him."
"Go back to my office," Porter told him. "Wait for me in there with Kate."
"That bastard is going to get her killed -"
"Iíll take care of it. GO."
Vetter slammed his fist into the surface of the desk but did as commanded. He stormed back to Porterís office with such fury that anyone seeing him instinctively ducked into a doorway to hide from him. He almost broke the office door when he opened it.
"Jesus, Vetter, whatís wrong?" Kate said as she whirled around to face him.
"Are you going to do it?" he demanded.
"I donít have a choice."
"You mean that bastard Geffen ordered you to see Kafelnikov?"
"No, I mean that if I want to make sure Katieís protected from him I have to put him away for the rest of his life."
He walked to where she sat and grabbed her hand. "Weíll bust this guy, I promise you," he said passionately. "Donít expose yourself to being alone with this damned stalker again. You donít need to worry about Katie. Iíll protect both of you."
"This is my responsibility. Iím Katieís mother."
"And Iím your partner. Tell Geffen to go fuck himself."
Her eyes narrowed. "Oh god, you already did that, didnít you?"
He didnít answer.
"Vetter, what the hellís wrong with you? Heís an assistant chief! Weíre just getting to know each other as partners and now you go and get yourself on Gefffenís shit list. Dammit!í
"It doesnít matter."
"It does if he busts you down to traffic cop."
"Iíll deal with him. My concern is you and that terrific kid of yours. I will protect you, Kate. Trust me."
He never called her by her first name before. The realization that he had startled her a bit, as if she just attained a level of familiarity with him she was not expecting. She ran his name through her head -- Sean Ė and wondered if she could make herself use it with him.
Before she could respond to him Porter entered the office. Geffen swept into the room behind him, smiling triumphantly when he saw Vetter.
"Youíre suspended until further notice," the suit announced. "Turn in your badge to Captain Porter."
"Either Vetter heads my back-up team or I donít see Grigori again," Kate said.
All three men stared at her.
"I mean it. If Iím going to take such a risk for this department I want somebody behind me I know I can count on. Vetterís with me or Iím out."
"Heís suspended," Geffen said.
"Then Iím at home washing my hair the rest of the week."
She saw a grin start its way across Porterís face: the Captain forced it down. "Officer Shea has the right to pick her team if sheís going undercover," he said.
Geffenís eyes darkened. He started to say something, thought better of it, bit his lip. Finally he told Kate, "You should pick your allies better."
He stormed toward the door. Pausing with his hand on the knob he turned back to the officers and stated, "I want this operation run strictly according to protocol. Everything will be documented and accounted for. And as for you -" he looked at Vetter "ó sheís only gotten you a reprieve. When Kafelnikov is in jail, you will be up before the Board and your badge will be mine."
He slammed the door as he left. For a long moment silence lingered in the office, but then Vetter turned to his colleagues and smiled.
"I donít know about you two but I feel pretty good," he said.
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