Second, I had a bit of writer's block on my CSI:NY fic and a fic challenge seemed to be a way to get over it. So, I give you a CSI:NY R.A.W. (aka Random Act of Wordiness). The narrator is another man I love, Det. Danny Messer, although he is never mentioned by name. I warn you, this hasn't been betaed because I do not yet have a CSI:NY beta. You guys are my test subjects. *rubs hands together and grins maniacally*
Third, since I have no beta for CSI:NY, I'm really nervous as to how this will come out. So please give me good, honest feedback. And if anyone would like to beta CSI:NY for me, let me know.
Now, may I present, my submission for Dante's Prayer
Title: The Morning Sun
Rating: G/PG I guess. I use the HBO ratings: V for mentioned violence
Feedback: Much needed since there's no beta.
Disclaimer: Det. Mac Taylor, Det. Danny Messer and the CSI:NY universe so don't belong to me. Everyone else is mine.
Summary: Every detective has that one case that haunts them forever. This is Danny's ghost.
Notes: For the Missing Tales Challenge. A throw back to Challenge #7 Dante's Prayer "Please remember me."
Just for fun.
Here's a doll I made of Token aka Lily Baker.
The call came in early, a shooting outside a club. Three confirmed dead. Two seriously injured. When I arrived on the scene, I had no idea what was in store. The next forty-eight hours would leave a mark on me that I will carry for the rest of my life. Why? Not because it was a horrible tragedy. I have seen those before and will see them again and again before my time is over. It was a promise I made to a woman who knew she was going to die. Her name was Lily Baker. When I met her she was just another victim. I came to know her as a sweet, lonely girl, living a dream. The world knew her as Token.
She was the singer for rappers JJ and T, but after three big singles and videos to match, she had become a celebrity on her own. The trio was having a night out while in New York recording their latest album. As they left the club, shots were fired. JJ, Jerome Johnson, made it through without a scratch. Terrell Sims, T, died at the scene along with bodyguard, Raymond Davies, and a friend Marquez Waters. Lily and another friend, Tony Franklin, went to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Tony, although paralyzed, would eventually recover. Lily would die the next afternoon.
The hospital called just after eight to say that Lily was awake, but they suggested we get over there fast. Although her condition was stable, she was weak. I will never forget the time I spent with her. She was the perfect girl next door with her blonde hair and blue eyes. When the nurse opened the door she laid perfectly still except for the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. Her head was turned to the window where the morning light filtered in through the closed blinds. She barely moved when the nurse spoke to her. Lily’s eyes flipped back and forth from me to the nurse, as she asked if she was up to talking. Lily closed her eyes and nodded slightly.
“If you need anything,” the nurse added looking from her patient to me, “just hit the button.” The woman pointed out the call button and, with a concerned smile, left the room. It was quiet for a moment as we looked at each other. The only noise, the muffled sounds from the hallway and the beeping of the monitors. I had been lulled by the quiet so, that when she spoke I was a bit startled.
“Do me a favor?”, she breathed, “Open the blinds. I wanna see the sunlight.” I smiled, happy to oblige her. She sighed as the light touched her and closed her eyes. “You want to know what I saw.”, she said, her eyes still closed. “Well, I’ll tell you everything I can.” I pulled the chair from the wall over to the bedside and took a seat.
When I opened my mouth to speak, my voice was an involuntary whisper, “Let’s start just before you left the club.” Opening her eyes, she turned to face me. She was so very pale and she seemed to summon all her strength just to speak. I let her take her time. Rushing would just do her more harm. She needed to stay calm. I spent nearly four hours with her that morning going over each moment of the shooting. Giving her the time she needed to remember as much detail as she could. Before I left, I asked if there was anyone that needed to be contacted. Her family? Her friends?
Her voice was even softer, “No.”, as she turned back to the sunlit window. I was just about to walk out when she spoke again, “Come back tomorrow.” I could hear the insistence in her voice. She turned her face toward me, “I have more to tell you.” The emotion of her plea tugged at my heart.
I thought for a moment, and then answered, “You get some rest and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I’ll be here.”, she said, a smile gracing her pained face. It was the first time I had seen her smile and that night I prayed it would not be the last.
When I walked into her room the next day, her smile greeted me. There was more pain in her face and she winced every now and then. I sat down in the chair and she began to talk. “Frank, our manager, came by last night. He said Terrell, Ray and Marquez all died. Jerome is shaken but otherwise ok. He didn’t mention Tony.”
“Tony’s stable.”, I said, “He took a bullet in the back and is paralyzed from the waist down.”
Her eyes closed and she took a deep breath, “At least he’s alive.” Her eyes opened and she continued, “He has a daughter you know.” As she spoke, I leaned my arm on the edge of the bed and listened. “Her name’s Breanne. He married one of the dancers, Mai Lin, about a year and a half ago.” There was a quiet moment, where she looked right through me. I took the time to ask the question that had stuck with me all night.
“Tell me about Lily. How did you get here?”, I asked softly.
She gave a weak smile, “It’s a long story. Do you have time?” Her face contorted and she groaned.
I gave her hand a gentle squeeze, “I’ll make time.” Mac was going to kill me, but nothing could have made me leave. I knew that room was where I was supposed to be.
I spent a good portion of my day listening intently to her story. She was an orphan who had grown up in foster care. At eighteen she moved to Atlanta looking for work. She worked retail, was a waitress “for two days”, she emphasized, and did temp work. She took a temp assignment as a receptionist at a recording studio and ended up staying for three years. One weekend the engineer asked her to stand in for a singer who had not shown up. Lily was introduced to T and JJ and sang back up for a demo track. The guys’ producer decided to keep her and they gave her the name Token. They had joked that she was their “token white chick”.
A year later they were cutting their first album. The next two years were a whirlwind of tours, videos, appearances, and photo shoots. Somehow they found time to make a second album. Fame was something she had dreamed of, but it was not what she thought it would be. The guys threw wild parties full of girls and drinking. Lily spent her time fighting off countless jerks. She thought she had found someone, a young accountant who worked for the group’s financial advisor. Then he was caught skimming money from clients’ accounts. She resigned herself to being alone and set out to make herself happy. She bought an apartment in the city and was in talks to be a spokes model for a clothing company.
The longer she spoke the more slowly her words came. Her grip on my hand was loosening. She caught my eyes, “Promise me something?” Her next words were strong, as if she had summoned all her strength, “Remember Lily Baker. This person you’ve talked to, not that character the world knows.” She paused a moment and winced again, “Please remember me.”
I held her hand between mine, “I promise.” She smiled and I memorized her face just like that. Moments later the smile faded as the monitors went crazy. “Somebody help!” I heard myself yelling, but I felt far away. People came running into the room. I was still holding her hand until they pushed me aside, but by then I knew she was gone. I had felt her leave.
Every now and then, when the sky is clear and the city is bathed in sunlight I go back in my memory to that smile. I look up and I see her for a second, the warm sun on her skin. I smile and she fades away.