My Past is My Present
Already it was day two after the murder and no one had gotten any sleep. The coffee pot in the corner of the large task force office was already empty even though the coffee had been made only twenty minutes before.
Jay slammed down his phone and looked around at everyone else, "Anyone know who Giovanni Marinelli is?" There was a collective no. "Well, my friends in the GTF say if anyone from the Italians was going to be the murderer it would be him."
"I'll see if I can find anything on him," Jessica replied as she hung up her own phone. "My cousin says if we want to run with this case then go for it. There's nothing that they or the Justice Department will use to take it away from us."
"Alright," Parker was back. "Find out everything you can about this Marinelli guy and see if he can be connected to the scene. Check the videotapes from the bank across the street."
He stood there for a moment and watched as everyone worked. Just as he was about to head back into his office and get some sleep Nick leapt up from his desk and went over to the whiteboard. He stared intently at the information already written there and when he found what he was looking for he looked back at everyone.
"Alright, Kieran can't be connected to the actual scene, but he had to have been there if the witness saw him and correctly identified him," Nick told them.
"Maybe she had seen him from somewhere else?" Jessica commented.
"Why would he be there though? There's nothing that connects him to that section of Manhattan," Jay replied as he looked through the papers in front of him.
"Except this," Morgan said from the hallway door.
In her hand she held a folder that looked like it was bulging with papers. If Aidan hadn't been present when Kieran bought the apartment she wouldn't have had this information. She walked to the table in the center of the office and started laying the papers out on the table.
"I thought you took yourself off the case," someone commented.
"This information proves that witness statement is circumstantial. Kieran was moving into his new apartment and if you call his friends," she lay another piece of paper on the table, "you'd find out that he was occupied for the time before, during, and after the murder."
"Let me see that," Owen said and crossed the short space from his desk to the table.
He looked at the paperwork for the sale and then at the contract from the movers. After a few minutes he set the papers back down on the table and took a step back. Morgan looked at him with a raised eyebrow as if asking him if he was ready to give in. He took one look at her and raised his hands in defeat.
"You win, but I still say your brother is involved."
"Morgan, call your brother in here. I want to take a formal statement," Parker ordered.
"Yes-sir," she said as she pulled her cell phone from her pocket.
Jay stood up, "Do you want Nick and I to find this Marinelli guy and get him in here? We could try a line up and see if Kieran saw him at the scene."
"Wait until we get Kieran's statement. If we find any cause to, we'll get Marinelli in here and have a lineup. We first need to find the murder weapon and connect Marinelli to the scene and to D'Salvatore. To do that we need Kieran and maybe some help from your father," Parker directed the end of that to Morgan.
She nodded in understanding and then quietly spoke into the phone. Once her brother had agreed to come in she hung up the phone and began to gather up the papers. She had put them all into a single pile before she spoke again, this time to the rest of the agents.
"Aidan is coming in with Kieran. I 'ope you don't mind, but my family doesn't trust the FBI."
"Don't you recognize him?" Kieran asked, "Number eight. He works for the D'Salvatore family."
Morgan glanced at number eight without any real interest. Just because the guy worked for their enemy didn't mean he was the one who had framed her brother; it was just a simple possibility. Unfortunately, as Kieran's sister she wasn't privy to who the actual suspect was. The name Giovanni Marinelli meant nothing to her. This was all up to her older brother and nothing she or Aidan said could change that.
"Well, which is it? Number eight or number three?" Nick asked and Morgan caught sight of the flicker in his eyes.
Kieran rubbed the back of his left hand against his forehead, "Number eight 'as the right length for his hair, but number three could have gotten it cut."
"Kieran," Aidan spoke up, "just try. That's all they're asking you to do."
Morgan almost snorted but she checked herself in time. At the moment, all they wanted was to get out of the cramped room and into an interrogation room to question Kieran.
"I know who I would say, but that's with personal preferences," she muttered under the breath. "Kieran didn't you say that he called someone?" She asked with a bit of a smile.
"Yea and your point is?"
"Do you remember anything he said?" Nick questioned catching onto her train of thought, "like a name or-"
Kieran cut him off, "Armageddon."
"A fitting word for this situation," Jay commented dryly as he folded his arm across his chest.
Parker pressed the button on the intercom, "Number three step forward and please," there were snickers from the agents, "say Armageddon."
Once number three had stepped forward and complied everyone looked over at Kieran who shook his head no. If only things could be easy; she just wanted to get out there. For as long as she could remember, she hated these parts of the cases she had worked on. Vaguely, she heard Parker put number eight through the same routine.
"Number eight," Kieran whispered and she looked over at Aidan who was staring at Kieran. "I'm sure of it now, that's him."
"Thank you," Parker replied and Morgan could tell that he meant it. "Morgan, I want you to question Mr. Marinelli. Nick you're with her. Jay, take Morgan's brothers into the conference room and get Kieran's statement."
Giovanni Marinelli was one of those guys who time hadn't been that kind to. His unkempt long blond hair was falling out of the ponytail and his cold gray eyes showed all that he had seen and done. For a moment, Morgan didn't even want to step into the interrogation room, but the press of Nick's hand against her lower back propelled her into the room. This was her job and for her to be afraid of talking to a suspect was practically unheard of, in her case. With her head held high and her back perfectly straight she crossed the short distance to the table and motioned for the junior agent to leave the room. Nick moved to stand behind her but to her left, so that Marinelli would be able to see him clearly.
"Mr. Marinelli, I'm Special Agent Nick Adams and this is my partner Special Agent Morgan O'Grady."
His gray eyes narrowed, "Why am I here?"
"You should know why," Morgan commented dryly.
"Tell us the significance of Armageddon," Nick asked as he shot a glare in Morgan's direction.
"Armageddon?" Giovanni asked with a hint of amusement in his voice. "You mean total destruction of all things on earth? It's in the bible, so why ask me about it?"
Nick took a step forward, "Don't play with me Mr. Marinelli, I'm not in the mood."
Morgan laid her hand on Nick's shoulder and pressed down. As soon as he had relaxed she pulled out the chair across from Giovanni and slid into it. For a moment she said nothing to him and the silence hung heavily in the air.
"Mr. Marinelli, you want to know why you're 'ere?" He glared at her with obvious distaste. "You tried to frame Kieran O'Grady in the murder of Michael Paxton."
"Did she say something?" Giovanni asked Nick.
"Now isn't the time to be anti-feminist Mr. Marinelli," Nick responded. "Just answer her question."
There was a snort of laughter, "I'm not being anti-feminist Mr. Adams," Nick bristled at the lack of Agent, "I'm just being anti-Irish."
"That's funny," Morgan observed. "Though, I 'ave to admit that you're being anti-O'Grady, not anti-Irish, since my partner here is Irish as well and you'll willingly talk to him."
"That makes sense, but just to inform you Mr. Marinelli," Morgan could sense a lie forming in Nick's words, "Morgan here isn't one of those O'Grady's. Her family is perfectly on this side of the law."
Instead of getting angry at his words, Morgan felt herself relax even more. Nick was definitely a better partner then Jay who would have acted like a complete idiot in that situation. She rested her elbows on the table.
"Besides, I'm an avid fan of Italian food," she told him with a slight smirk.
Giovanni chuckled and leaned forward to look at her, "You look just like Kieran O'Grady."
"Agent Adams never said I wasn't. He just said I came from a good family on the right side of the law."
"Armageddon is what you wanted to know about right?" At their nod, he continued, "I have a fascination with the topic. Destruction and death amuses me."
Obviously, Morgan said to herself. Only someone who loved death would be able to kill without emotion. His fascination, however, explained the missing book from the apartment. The book was probably sent to Paxton to inform him of his ending life and then stolen back afterward. The book was his calling card of sorts.
"I didn't kill this Michael Paxton," Giovanni told them. "I've never even met the guy before."
Those were lies number one and two.
"Well," Nick had a rare trace of amusement in his tone, "that's an obvious lie. You've been seen following Mr. Paxton for days now." The folder Nick carried was opened and the pictures inside were thrown across the table. "Not to mention that the word on the street says that Paxton was cheating on his wife Anne."
"What does that have to do with me?"
Morgan took up the story, "Anne is your boss's—Victor D'Salvatore's—godchild. It is well known that Victor doesn't tolerate cheating in his family. Besides, you used to be Anne's bodyguard until she got married to Paxton. Word is that the two of you were really close."
"That's stupid, I was never-"
"Victor D'Salvatore said differently," Nick replied as he crossed his arms across his chest. "He also told us where to find you today."
Morgan smiled, "Something tells me you screwed up Mr. Marinelli. I wonder at what point. Were you supposed to kill Paxton or did you go on this little mission of your own free will?"
The look on his face said all. Nick checked his watch and motioned to Morgan that time was up.
"Well, Mr. Marinelli, it is your lucky day. Unfortunately, we have nothing to 'old you on. You're free to go, but we should remind you that it would be a bad idea to leave the city until our investigation is over," Morgan advised him as she stood from her street.
"A very bad idea," Nick echoed.
Morgan raised the cool metal Beretta that was very unlike the Smith & Weston that she usually used. Instead of her own gun she was using Nick's and for the life of her, she couldn't figure out why. She must have grabbed his gun instead of hers. The heavy feel of the Beretta irked her and she desperately wished she had grabbed her lightweight Smith & Weston. She heard the intense slam of the shooting range's metal door against the jam and she quickly fired off several rounds into the target.
"Nice shot," Owen commented from somewhere behind her.
"I know you're mad at me, but please just let it go."
She spun around to look at him and unconsciously the gun rose as well to point at his chest. For a moment neither of them moved and then she lowered the gun and slid on the safety before it was placed on the ledge beside them.
"How am I going to be able to let this go? You were ready to arrest my brother, without evidence, just because he 'appens to be a part of the Irish Mob." She couldn't help the snort of laughter. "You're my coworker and best friend, but that doesn't mean I'll forgive you easily when you try to prosecute someone based on their background and not evidence."
He took a deep breath and took the plunge. "You're blowing this out of proportion. The evidence pointed-"
"The bloody evidence was circumstantial. Aidan would 'ave gotten it thrown out before the trial even started. Then there is the matter of the alibi!" She paused for a moment and yanked off the leather hand guards that she wore. "There's no way I can work with you if you go off like a bottle rocket whenever we have case involving the mafia and mob especially if you insist on trying to pin whatever it is on my family."
"I wouldn't do that Morgan."
"Yes you would and then we would be in a situation like this again with both of us angry and how can I 'ave your back and you 'ave mine if we're both angry at each other?"
He sighed, "Maybe you should transfer out of the unit then? Would that be easier on you?"
She tried not to laugh but in the end the room echoed with her laughter.
"Why should I leave? You're the one that obviously has a problem with me and my family. No one else does." She shook her head. "I can't deal with this right now. We have a case to finish."
Three days of living with her father was starting to get to her and as she walked into the task force office she could tell that everyone knew. Well, it was kind of obvious considering Owen and she weren't walking into the office together anymore. She plastered on a smile and dropped her coat onto the back of her chair.
"Good morning, anyone got any news about our dear Giovanni Marinelli?" She asked and she was shocked at how normal she sounded.
Jay smiled at her, "He hasn't gone off the grid yet, but word on the street is that D'Salvatore wants him dead and unfortunately we have the bodies of two known Italian hit men lying in the morgue at One Police Plaza."
"I wonder if there's a connection," Jessica murmured sarcastically as she dropped an armload of files onto Morgan's desk. "Here are the files on cases we think are connected to Marinelli. Care to go through them so that I know my foray into the deepest circle of hell A.K.A the records room wasn't unnecessary."
"Hand them off to Jay," Parker ordered. "Nick, Morgan I need you to go talk to D'Salvatore and his lawyer. They'll be at that poor Italian excuse for a pub."
Morgan looked over at him, "Are you sure that's a good idea? I am after all the daughter of D'Salvatore's greatest enemy."
"Just do it," he snapped and she jumped to attention.
"Yes-sir," she said with a mock salute.
As the two of them left the office she could hear the laughter pouring from the rest of the agents. Everything was finally back to normal which was a major relief.
"Mr. D'Salvatore?" Nick inquired as he walked up the stone steps to the older man at the top.
"Yes, can I help you?"
Morgan sighed and walked up a few steps, "Agent Morgan O'Grady and this is Agent Nick Adams." She showed him her shield. "We'd like to ask you a few questions about Giovanni Marinelli." She was about to continue when a shot rang out from somewhere near them.
There was a spit second where she could see the gunman out of the corner of her eye. Nick had seen him at the same time and had already leapt into action; she followed a moment later after checking the area. Before she knew it she had already outrun her partner but she wasn't fast enough to catch up to the gunman.
"Nick," Morgan shouted over her shoulder, "head him off."
She dodged pedestrians and found that the distance between them had closed to a mere few meters. For a moment, as he disappeared out of her sight, she thought that all was lost and they wouldn't be able to capture him. Giovanni Marinelli, the man who had just shot his own boss. She couldn't understand why it mattered so much to her; there was a deep hatred inside of her for the Italian Mafia. Yet, there she was racing after a hit man who had attempted—or at least she hoped so—to kill Victor D'Salvatore. Ahead of her, Giovanni was dodging pedestrian after pedestrian and suddenly she saw him stop in front of-
"Dammit," she cursed as she saw the children that had just stepped out of the school park beside Giovanni.
Her heart dropped as Giovanni yanked one of the children towards him. Without any hesitation, she drew her Smith & Weston from the holster and angled it towards the ground as she moved forward a few more steps.
"Let the girl go," she heard herself order.
A single sound of metal sliding across medal and the safety was off. There may be a child involved but she wouldn't hesitate to shoot. She may not be the best shot that has worked in the FBI but she could hit Giovanni without hurting the girl.
"Put down the gun, sweetheart, and maybe I will," he was toying with her.
Her eyes narrowed and she raised the gun a little. Giovanni wanted her to make a mistake so he could get away. There was a quirk of her mouth and she aimed the gun directly at him. The child squirmed in his arms and he tightened them enough that the girl cried out a bit; at least she wasn't screaming for help. That would have distracted her completely.
"Call me sweetheart again and I'll shoot you in the kneecap. I've 'eard it's very painful," she retorted and scanned the area carefully at the same time.
Nick. The minute he showed himself from where he hid behind Giovanni she felt herself relax, however minimally it was. Even though Nick was there she still tightened her grip on the gun. Now she had to make sure that Giovanni kept his attention on her and didn't notice Nick. That would be a disaster if he did.
"Are you willing to let this little girl die?" Giovanni asked as he placed the barrel of the gun against the girl's temple.
Morgan snorted and commented dryly, "She's not going to die. If anyone is going to get shot and possibly die, it would be you."
"I'm a good shot," he informed her, his voice cold and unfeeling.
She tilted her head to left a bit. "I'm better, besides there are about three New York cops pointing their guns at you."
Oh, was she a bloody liar. Nick winked at her from where he was and nodded in understanding. Giovanni's eyes shifted to see where she was looking, but he couldn't look behind him without leaving his front wide open. For a moment, when she heard the sirens, her hand shook and she tried to steady it. In that instant the child was sent in her direction and as she moved to catch her, Giovanni bolted down a nearby alley. After she made sure the child was safe she ran after Nick and Giovanni. But before she could get very far she heard three shots, two in quick succession and the third a few heartbeats later.
"Nick," she shouted and dove around the next corner.
Her heart was pounding as she continued to follow the echoing noise of the gunshot. When she reached a small fenced area between buildings she felt her knees go weak. But she forced herself to move and she darted over to Nick's side as he applied pressure to the wound on his upper arm.
"Adams," she hissed as she pushed him against the brick wall behind him.
Her gun raised she walked towards the gasping body of Giovanni Marinelli. As she stood beside him, her gun aimed at his head, she heard his broken laughter.
"You're an idiot," he told her plainly. "Even if I die and D'Salvatore lives, nothing will change. The Italians will still kill all of you."
She smirked, "So far they're not doing a very good job." Then her tone changed and she became businesslike, "Besides I'm 'ere as an FBI agent, not the daughter of the Irish mob."
When he took his last breath she was still there with her gun aimed at his head. After she made sure he was really dead she walked over to Nick and pulled his cell phone from his jacket.
"I lost my phone," she told him.
"Morgan? Nick?" Someone shouted and before she realized what was happening she was being swept off her feet, literally.
Nick pushed himself away from the wall, "Let her go, Owen."
"Is D'Salvatore dead?" She couldn't hide the hopefulness and the glare that her boss sent her confirmed that he noticed.
"Unfortunately not," Jay told her as he pulled the gun from her hand and flicked the safety on. "I'll hold on to this for you; it's evidence."
She easily snagged it back, "Sorry, but Nick shot Marinelli not me."
"Really?" He didn't seem to believe her.
"Are you going to ask me that every time we come up against the Italian mafia?" Her tone betrayed the mirth she wanted to let loose. "I know my family is the Irish mob, but give me a break, I became a FBI agent instead of a mobster. You should be grateful."
"And we are," her boss admitted. "Secure the scene," he ordered Jay and Owen. "O'Grady, get Nick to the hospital. I'll have Terrance meet you there to take your statements."
Morgan rested back on the sofa, her feet in her oldest brother's lap. Her father handed her a glass of wine and she smiled.
"I'm glad this is over," she told them. "I hope, however pointless it may be, that you all stay out of trouble for awhile? If I have to keep taking myself off cases I'll never get promoted."
"You could always work for the family," her father suggested slyly.
She snickered. "Not a change in hell. There's something about not having my phone lines bugged that just makes me happy. Besides, my fiancé is FBI," she let her eyes wonder to him where he stood by the fireplace talking to Aidan, "and I won't let him be the one to have all the fun."
"I still don't think I'll ever understand why you joined the FBI," Kieran admitted.
"No? Well in instances like this you should realize it. Someone has to have your backs and who else then an FBI agent?"
"Who else indeed," Kieran muttered. "I guess it has its perks. You can tell us when we're being investigated."
There was laughter. "News flash Kieran, you're always being investigated. Just this time it was a bit closer to home since you were framed for murder and not investigated for something family-related."
"She has a point," Aidan commented as he dropped onto the couch beside Kieran. "I'm still waiting for the day I have to defend one of you in court."
"I have to hope that never happens," Michael, her fiancé, replied. "It would look very bad for the two of us if Morgan's family were to be connected to a murder or fraud and the like."
"We shall see."