Thanks for your patience, everyone...
No content warning needed this time around, no worries
... ok. You know me. Rude language is very likely.
Sometimes, it feels as if Winter will never end. Legions of snowflakes keep falling from the grey skies as if they were tiny alien invaders, slowly but surely taking control of the world
Some say, though, that everything looks so much nicer when covered with pure white, but...
Well, I am I the only one who is thinking "shroud" here? Anyways. Let's see how Al is doing
And there he is, seemingly oblivious of his surroundings and the cold, staring rather blankly at the building on the opposite side of the road from a gap between two more old and rundown brick buildings
As he hangs his head, a tossed away newspaper catches his eye. Mechanically, he reaches for the soaked paper and picks it up
Only to freeze as, promptly, the first article he sees on opening the paper is about Betty.
"Local girl still missing after failed attempt to hand over ransom money"
"Grieved parents blame SCPD, will move South"
The building on the other side is where Betty used to live
The paper is several weeks old
Silent tears of despair trickle down his face
The White Knight has failed his Princess
Silent tears, and silent rage. Al recalls all to well how, some time ago, he came back "home" from his daily search for food
No, he still had no idea that Basecap set him up. But the sight of a woman in a suit on an abandoned factory ground was suspicious enough in itself to make him stop dead in his tracks and quietly retreat behind the next corner to take a better look
... Feds, eventually? But why?
Another suit, apparently searching the premises? Hm.
"Sir, with all due respect- we are wasting time here- that little druggie was obviously just trying to save his own ass! We have literally turned every piece of trash in this building, there was absolutely no sign that the girl has ever been here!"
The senior officer looks just as tired and worn out as you would expect of someone on a job like this, knowing all to well about the 48 hour rule when it comes to missing children
"Helen, we both know that we have no other lead. So would you please just carry on and, eventually, pray that we find something, anything at all?"
While those two still muse about the use of the operation, the pale blonde guy hesitates, then goes down on his knee to inspect a dent in the snow a little more closeley
"Sir I know, but still, I believe that we should press matters with the stepfather some more. He has something about him that makes my skin crawl!"
"Sir? Excuse me..."
Have you found something interesting, Pale Guy?
"I think I found..."
"... that pink bunny toy the mother kept talking about, Sir"
"Hell. See that? The suit found that rabbit thing. I can't believe it. I can't believe he really did this. Kidnap a child? Fuck it. Fucking unbelievable"
Tomasz watches his partner for a bit. As the other cop falls silent after that omnious remark, he hesitantly reaches out and touches Harry's arm lightly before speaking up
"So I was right. You know that homeless guy, don't you? How? Who is he?"
Can he trust his new partner with this? Hell why not...
Taking a deep breath of the cold Winter air, Harry mans up
"Alan used to be a street cop, one of us. Same precinct, even. One of the best... then he was called to a bar brawl. Killed a Guy. Couldn't get over it.
Even internal affairs said it was self defense, but still... he kind of lost it after that. Got on the wrong side of the uppers all the time, ended up loosing his job, his family, everything, and plain dissapeared from the screen.
Saw him last summer, digging through a trash can in a back alley... don't think anyone but me knew he was still around at all. Jeezas. I just can't believe he has fallen so far. A kid? A little GIRL? That's low, man... that's so low. Don't even want to think about what he has done to her. Guess you just never know a guy inside out"
And that was how Al learned that he was the main suspect in Betty's case. As you can tell, he did not take it lightly, but what should he do- but run?
So run he did
Running, and hiding he has been eversince. Kept on moving. Never slept in the same place twice so far, but he knows he is running out of options and will have to start to use the same hideouts in turns now
Taking one last look up at the now lightless windows of Betty's former home, he wipes the already frozen tears from his face and starts to walk away
As a former cop, he knows literally everything about man hunting, so he keeps a low profile at all times, and he keeps on moving. Needless to say, he doesn't get much sleep anymore
Lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of any kind of rest for both body and mind are taking their toll on him, and he can feel it... he won't last much longer
Al knows that his priority is sleep, and in a frost free place. People's houses or garages are not safe... public buildings are better...
Like this old slaughterhouse, converted into a grungy nightclub by some shady investor
Public toilets are best, as long as you keep an eye on the opening hours of the facility you are using, you will very likely go completely unnoticed
What now... should he return later, or can he take the risk of entering a stall now to take a much needed nap?
"Al?! Oh my God"
Yes, I guess he is just as perplexed as you are...
"Oh God, man, I- I- I am so sorry!! I had no idea... when I heard they suspected you... I just couldn't.."
"Jeezas ... they framed me, I swear..."
And without warning..
... he breaks down. Physically. On his knees, on the still slightly damp floor he wiped just a moment ago. Sobbing, shaking
"Please don´t kill me, I am so sorry"
After a moment of stunned silence, broken only by frantic sobs the older man reluctantly reaches for the younger one´s shoulder and pokes him ever so lightly
"Son. Shut up, get up, start over - what the hell are you talking about?!"
So, fire away. Guess. What on earth could Dan of all people have done that would be reason enough for Al to finish him off?