Speed huddled close against the wall when he heard the door open. The lights came on, and he heard his captor enter the room. He knew he should stand up, but he couldn't. He was too terrified to move, even though he knew he was probably going to earn a beating by staying still. The footsteps ended, and Speed could see the tips of his black shoes a few feet away.
"I shouldn't have to tell you to stand up, Timothy," he said.
Speed shuddered. The voice was the same. He wasn't hiding anymore. Speed could feel tears starting to come. What now? Would he try to rape him again? Would he go through with it this time? "Please let me go, sir," he whispered.
"Get up, Timothy. This is your last chance." Speed slowly got to his feet, pressing a hand against the wall for support. He kept his eyes low, not just because he was supposed to, but because he didn't want to see Horatio's face this way again. "You were bad, Timothy. You broke the rules."
"I'm s-sorry, sir," he said shakily.
"Sorry doesn't change the past. Hold out your hand." Reluctantly, Speed stretched out his trembling hand. He heard a click, and looked up suddenly. The twin was lighting a cigarette. Speed's eyes widened and he started to back away. "Don't make it worse, Timothy," he said. Speed stood still, but his trembling increased. He watched while the man took a short drag of the cigarette and grasped Speed's wrist. Speed wanted to jerk away, beg him not to do it, anything, but he knew it would only get him into more trouble.
Speed screamed when the small fire was pressed to his tender arm. His arms were already completely bruised from all the defensive wounding, and the small round burn nearly reduced him to tears. He was forced to endure the same torture again on another part of his arm. "That's for breaking two rules. I think you should be grateful that I didn't give you the ten lashes you deserve for speaking out of turn, don't you?"
Speed gritted his teeth, trying to hold back his tears. "Yes, th-thank you, sir," he said in a low voice.
"Good boy. " He let Speed's arm go. "Down."
Speed got on his knees, and his half-sandwich and small cup of water were placed in front of him on the floor. As usual, Speed waited for permission to eat, then slowly finished his food. He started to relax ever so slightly, after the visit had progressed so far and there was no second rape attempt. He wasn't comfortable enough to try asking for freedom again, although he desperately wanted it, but at least the status quo seemed to have returned.
A surprising sound interrupted Speed's lunch. A cell phone. The man answered. "Hey. ... Oh? That's perfect. ... Of course I am. Just remember what we talked about. ... You too, Number One." He closed the phone and looked down at Speed. "It's almost time," he said. "Get up. We're going on a little trip."
"Mr. Underwood? Lieutenant Caine is here to see you. He brought a man and a woman with him."
"Send them in, Miss Lowell. And be sure to clear my afternoon."
"Yes, sir. Right through that door, officers."
"Thank you." Horatio led the way into the store owner's office. The room was spacious and tastefully decorated, with dark, heavy wooden furniture, expensive rugs, and lush plants. The golden nameplate on the desk read "Peter J. Underwood, CEO".
A handsome blonde man of about forty, bearing a striking resemblance to the age progression of Jason Cummings, stood up and smiled pleasantly at them. He glanced quickly at the other two, but he fixed his eyes on Horatio. A faint, bemused smile played about his lips. Horatio smiled. "Do I seem familiar to you, Mr. Underwood?"
"Very much," he said. "You look like someone I used to know." He shook himself slightly. "Please, have a seat." They sat down in front of his desk, and Underwood took his seat behind it. "How may I help you today?"
"My name is Lieutenant Horatio Caine, and these are my colleagues, CSIs Calleigh Duquesne and Ryan Wolfe."
"Welcome," Underwood said.
"We're looking for a man we think you may be familiar with," Horatio began.
"Well, perhaps I can help you," he said. "Do you have a picture of him."
"We do," Calleigh said. She pulled out the abuse record and placed a picture of Ulysses on the desk. Underwood's pleasant smile faltered, and he took in a sharp breath. "It is a little old," Calleigh said.
Underwood glared at her and shoved the picture back to her. "Why are you showing me this?" he asked in a strained voice.
"So you did know him?" Wolfe asked.
"Of course I did," he snapped. "And you obviously know that, or you wouldn't have come here. What is it that you want to know about him? Has he been accused of something?"
"We have reason to believe he kidnapped a police officer."
Underwood's eyes widened. "Really?" He sounded genuinely surprised. "Well, I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm afraid I can't help you. I haven't seen Ulysses in over twenty years."
"Is that so?" Wolfe asked.
Horatio looked thoughtfully at Underwood. "I notice you didn't call him John. Wasn't that his name when you were children?"
"No, his name is Ulysses Caine. John was the name given to him by his first foster parents. He learned his real name when he was twelve years old."
"And Peter Underwood is your real name?"
"Yes it is. Ulysses found it out for me."
"You know, I find it very hard to believe that a person you were so very close to hasn't been in touch with you in over two decades," Calleigh said.
"It's not my job to change what you believe, Miss Duquesne. Take it or leave it, I haven't seen him since I was eighteen."
"That was about eight years after your parents were killed, right?" Wolfe asked.
"If you could call them that, yes," he replied.
"According to the police report, you were abducted by the man who murdered them. How did you escape?"
"We didn't," Underwood said simply. "We were never there."
"Excuse me?" Horatio said, leaning forward in his chair.
"We were never there. We ran away that same afternoon."
"So you just happened to run away the day your foster parents were murdered," Calleigh said skeptically. "That seems awfully convenient."
"Perhaps. But, of course, if we'd been there, we would have received a large inheritance. The Cummings fortune was substantial enough, and we were legally adopted children. It would have been more beneficial for us to have stayed, wouldn't you say?"
"Why not run away sooner?" Wolfe asked. "According to the agency's file, the abuse started years before you left. What happened in 1975?"
Underwood pursed his lips together, and Horatio could see his jaw tense. "I don't understand what relevance that has to your officer's kidnapping," he said tightly.
"I know how difficult it must be to have to dredge up these memories, Mr. Underwood," Horatio said. "But lives are at stake, and I don't just mean Detective Speedle. The more we know about Ulysses, the greater our chances are of recovering our officer without anymore blood being shed."
Underwood looked keenly at him, eyes narrowed, almost as if he were evaluating the truth of Horatio's hinted assertion that he didn't want Ulysses to be hurt. "All right," he said at last. "I'll tell you what I know." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before looking back at his guests. "It happened on July 11th, 1975. The day after my tenth birthday. The... Joseph came into my room after I'd gone to bed. He said..." Underwood broke off and closed his eyes again, fists clenched. He took another steadying breath and looked directly into Horatio's eyes. "He told me that I was old enough to learn what it was like to get..." He glanced at Calleigh. "It was time I learned what it meant to be a real man." Horatio saw Calleigh shift slightly, and heard an uncomfortable sigh from Wolfe. Horatio kept his sympathetic eyes directly on Underwood's. "I'm sure you can imagine what that meant," the man continued.
Peter stayed in his room, huddled beneath the covers long after the Alien left. He whimpered when the door opened again, and curled himself in more tightly. Was he coming back? Was he going to hurt him again?
"Peter?" Peter sighed with relief at the sound of his brother's voice. He pulled back the covers, face streaked with tears. Ulysses rushed to the bed and gently touched Peter's head. "What happened, Number One? Did the Alien hit you again?"
"No, Captain," Peter said tearfully. "He... h-he..."
Ulysses gasped and looked at Peter's face, horror in his eyes. "Oh, Peter, no!"
"I'm sorry, Ulie. I t-tried to stop him, b-but..."
Ulysses pulled his brother into a crushing embrace. "Peter, this is not your fault, you hear me? Never think that, ever! And you never have to be embarrassed in front of me. I... I know what it's like."
"He... he did this to you, too?" Peter asked in wonder. How could it be? Ulysses was the strong one. Almost as tall as the man already, he was the one who never let the man hit Peter when he could help it. The one who never let the woman burn him or scratch his arms. How could they do this to him?
"Yes, Peter," he answered. "Ever since... ever since I was ten, oh GOD." He squeezed Peter even tighter. "Dammit! I should have known. I should never have left you alone tonight!"
"It's okay, Captain," Peter whispered. "It's n-not your fault, either."
He cried into his brother's chest for a long time. When they finally pulled away, Peter could see that Ulysses had been crying, too. Ulysses held Peter's face with both hands and looked earnestly into his eyes. "Never again, Peter. I promise you. This will never happen again. No one will ever hurt you again as long as I live. All right?" Peter nodded. "Come on, Number One. You're sleeping with me tonight."
They snuck out of the room to Ulysses' bedroom. Once inside, Ulysses pushed the heavy oak dresser in front of the door and smiled at his brother. "No one can get you in the Captain's quarters."
There was a long silence, during which Underwood turned away from the officers and gazed out of his corner window, fists still clenched tightly. Finally, he seemed to relax slightly, and continued his story. "The next morning, Ulysses and I packed food into our backpacks instead of books. He picked me up from school at the usual time, and we left."
Wolfe cleared his throat. "And you were never separated after that?"
"No," he replied. "We were looking for a way out of town. We didn't even find out that the Cummings' had been killed until three days later."
"Then you must have also known the police were looking for you," Calleigh said. "Why not come out of hiding when you found out they couldn't hurt you anymore?"
He let out a scornful laugh. "Please! And let another agency rip us apart? Dump me in a home with another wealthy rapist and his sadistic wife?" He scowled, all traces of mirth - even the sarcasm - gone from his face. "The Cummings' weren't the only ones with blood on their hands. I was happy to take my chances in dark alleys with vagrants and junkies surrounding me. At least if you barked loud enough, you could be heard, instead of having your pain shoved to the back of a file cabinet for the right amount of cash, no matter how loud you screamed."
There was another long silence, and finally, Horatio spoke. "Would you mind telling us what happened during those last years the two of you were together?"
"We hitchhiked to New York."
"You weren't worried about getting... taken advantage of on the road?" Calleigh asked.
"Ulysses kept his promise," he said simply. "No one ever hurt me like that again. When we got to New York, we lived on the streets for about a year, before Ulysses was able to get an ID and get a legitimate job. He held down two jobs until I was old enough to pass for eighteen. On my real eighteenth birthday, he gave me half his savings and we parted ways."
"Why?" Calleigh asked. "Why not stay together?"
"Because he wanted me to have a normal life. Some of the things he did to support me when we first made it to New York weren't exactly legal, to put it bluntly. He didn't want me to have to hide for the rest of my life."
"Well, you've certainly done well for yourself," Horatio said. "And your brother isn't hiding anymore."
"Don't you mean our brother, Lieutenant?" Horatio looked sharply at him. "He's who I meant, of course, when I said you reminded me of someone. You're obviously related. You look exactly like I would have expected Ulysses to look twenty years down the line." He smiled. "I'd give my finest tennis bracelet to know what your childhood was like."
Horatio managed a small smile. "Another time, Mr. Underwood," he said softly.
"You're sure you haven't received any contact from him since then?" Wolfe asked after a pause. "It seems a little odd that your arrival back in Florida coincides with his."
Underwood shrugged. "I can't be held accountable for coincidences, Mr. Wolfe. Now, if there's nothing else I can help you with, there are a thousand things that still need to be done for the store."
Horatio pulled out a business card and handed it to Underwood. "If you do happen to hear from him, give me a call," he said.
"Sure, Lieutenant," he said, slipping the card into his pocket.
They left the office, and Horatio slid his sunglasses over his face as they stepped into the sun. "Do you believe him?" Calleigh asked.
"Nope," Horatio said. "He may not know where Ulysses is, but I'm sure he knows how to contact him. And we're going to be there when he does."
"We got it, H."
Horatio took the file from Eric's hand and smiled at the judge's signature. "Excellent work. Let's go."
Less than three hours after their first meeting with Peter Underwood, Horatio stood at the man's doorway, search warrant in hand, backed by the rest of the team, and two patrol cars. Underwood came to the door, eyes widening slightly when he saw Horatio and his entourage.
"Mind stepping outside while we take a look around?" Horatio asked.
Underwood recovered his composure quickly. "Certainly not," he said with a smile. "Can I take a look at that?" Horatio handed him the warrant and he read it carefully before standing aside to let them in. One of the patrol officers kept an eye on him while Horatio and the others went inside.
The house was remarkably modest considering Underwood's wealth. Eric had given Horatio a more detailed report on Underwood's business, and even though there were only six stores in the chain, Underwood had managed to make the Fortune 500 more than once. The house was small compared to what others in his tax bracket usually chose to purchase. Two bedrooms, two baths and a well manicured lawn in front and in back. The furniture and decor were of good quality, tasteful, but not ostentatious.
"Wonder why he chose this place?" Wolfe asked, sifting through papers on the coffee table. "That kind of money? He could have a six-bedroom place in the Gables if he wanted."
"Well, he did spend all his teenage years in hiding," Calleigh said. "Maybe he just got used to keeping a low profile."
"We're going to find out if he has another reason for laying low today," Horatio said. "Eric?"
"I'm on it, H."
While Eric worked on tapping the phones, Horatio and the others searched the house for any sign that he had made recent contact with Ulysses. After an extensive search, they were able to turn up nothing that proved Peter Underwood had seen Ulysses (or anyone else, for that matter) since his arrival in Miami. The house was well furnished, but not much lived in. There were only a few suits in the closet, and any documents he possessed were all related to his business, and his travel arrangements. Even among the travel plans, they could find no reference to contacting his brother.
They kept up the pretense of searching even when they had exhausted every square inch of the place, to give Eric time to make sure that the wire was undetectable. When he gave the signal, they packed up their gear and left the house. "All done, Lieutenant?" Underwood asked, sounding far less frustrated than Horatio would have expected him to be.
"Yes. I appreciate your patience."
"All for a good cause, I'm sure," he said. "Best of luck getting your partner back."
Horatio frowned slightly at Underwood's use of the term "partner". He'd never told Underwood that he and Speed worked on the same team. Horatio filed the comment in his "evidence Peter Underwood is protecting his brother" drawer and let it go for the moment. "For your brother's sake, we'd better get him back alive," he said.
He walked toward the Hummer, feeling a little more hopeful than he had for some time. The wire tap was in place. Calleigh was already working on getting a court order for Underwood's cell phone records. It was only a matter of time before one of them slipped and told him where Speed was, and he would be ready to strike when they did.