Castle Roland

The Apprentice

by Sahypo

In Progress

Chapter 9

Posted: 8 Oct 15

The Apprentice

Copyright © by Sahypo

Events had ground on slowly in other matters, and while Timmy and Isaac had enjoyed their visit to Scott's farm, the homicide and missing persons detectives had received positive ID on the remains found under the bridge. It was in fact Tiffany Billings, and now Detective Walsh had to make notifications to Jack Tate and Timmy. This was the worst part of the job, as it was always bad news, even if the family of a victim could now stop searching and living a nerve-wracking existence of not knowing…It never got easier, and Walsh promised himself that the very first time a next of kin notification didn't bother him, that it would be his time to quit.

His colleagues had had managed to track down some of the people Tiffany had been close to in the days before she died, and the cops knew she had disappeared after leaving her shift at Goldies, and never arrived at the trailer she had been sharing with a man she took up with after leaving Jack Tate with her son, seven months prior…

Jack Tate had worked the midnight to seven AM shift at that time, and had been at work the night Tiffany disappeared. Focus of the investigation turned to Tiffany's live-in, who had been busted for possession of methamphetamines, and was doing six years in a state lockup. Walsh met with the man in prison, and got nothing out of him except that Tiffany had not shown up after leaving Goldies. His things had been removed from the trailer after his arrest and disposed of; he never made bail and stayed in county jail until he was tried, convicted and sentenced to state custody two years ago. Walsh doubted that there would be anything of value left even if the man wasn't in prison. It had been over ten years now.

Walsh decided to have some more visits with the prisoner, to keep him guessing and nervous. He had a confidential informant in county jail that he would try to have transferred in as the man's cellmate. The informant was only doing a few months for pot possession with intent to distribute less than an ounce, and he was sure the sentencing judge would lift the rest of that time if the informant could get Tiffany's ex-roommate to talk about what happened to her.

Walsh stopped by Tate's house, and found that Tate was out. He got back in the unmarked Crown Vic and headed for Isaac's house. When he pulled up to park, the garage door was open, and Timmy was in the garage.

Walsh got out of the car and said "Hello, Timmy!, It's Ron Walsh, remember me?" Walsh asked, extending his hand. Timmy took the detective's hand and shook it, and said

"Yes, Sir, I remember you."

"Timmy, is Isaac around?" Walsh asked, remembering that Isaac was Timmy's guardian.

"He's in the house, I'll go get him" Timmy said, then stopped and turned back to Walsh "Do you want a drink, Mr. Walsh?"

"Thanks, that would be great."

"Come on in the kitchen then" Timmy said, and Walsh followed him into the house.

"Isaac, Detective Walsh is here!" Timmy called out. A few seconds later the bathroom door opened and Isaac appeared.

"Hello, again, how is the case going?" Isaac asked as Timmy washed his hands and got glasses and ice.

"We made a bit of progress…that's why I'm here." Detective Walsh waited as Timmy filled the glasses with tea and set them in front of Isaac and Walsh, then brought his own to the table and sat down.

"We have been able to identify the missing person with your help, Timmy, and I'm really sorry to tell you that the ID was positive and it is in fact your mother who was found." Walsh waited for Timmy to react, but Timmy had known it had to be this way for a long time… He was totally at peace with the idea of his mother being dead; it made it easier, and he didn't have to spend his life hating someone who didn't give a shit enough to find him…

"Thanks for letting me know, but I kinda already knew, after all this time…if that makes sense?"

"It makes a lot of sense, Timmy…Some things you do just know, even if you can't prove them… I deal with that in my job all the time. The hard part is that I have to prove what I'm sure I know". Walsh said, putting his hand on Timmy's shoulder and squeezing gently. Timmy liked Detective Walsh and felt his sensitivity; he wasn't a hard charging bad-ass like some of the characters on TV cop shows.

"Can you tell me how she was discovered?" Timmy asked, his eyes wide as met Walsh's. Walsh looked to Isaac, with eyes that questioned if he should tell Timmy anything along these lines. Isaac nodded silently, and Walsh began,

"A little boy and his grandfather were fishing near the 15th street bridge, and the little boy saw a bracelet in the mud on the riverbank, and found bones when he looked at it closer. They called the sheriff's department and my office was brought in because I handle missing persons and cold cases." Timmy nodded and whispered "Thanks" very softly, and asked Walsh if he could meet the little boy and his grandfather.

"I can ask them if they want to meet you, and if they do, then I don't see why not…but if they say no, I'm afraid that's the end of it, okay?" Walsh asked.

"Okay….that sounds fair to me" Timmy replied.

"Let me check them out and get back to you on this" Walsh said, addressing them both.

"Thanks, Detective Walsh" Isaac said.

"Ron, please, and you are very welcome…again, I'm sorry I couldn't bring you better news"

"Does this turn into a murder case now?" Timmy asked, a very serious look on his face.

"How old are you, 27?" Walsh laughed "You don't miss a trick, Timmy! Yes, we now are looking at how she died, and we can't rule out murder just yet."

"Do you think Jack did it?" Isaac gasped as Timmy asked the question; he had no idea this had been a burning issue for Timmy since he been able to consider it, and a lot of Timmy's night terrors were driven by fear that what happened to his mother might happen to him.

"Timmy, so far everything we have been able to prove has actually caused us to think that he had nothing to do with it. I do like someone else very strongly for being her killer…again I have to prove that, and I am working on that as we speak. We know where she worked after she left you and Jack, and we know who she was living with the night she disappeared. We know that Jack has a very strong alibi for his whereabouts the night in question, and that he didn't have a motive to kill her. Other than that, I don't know much else."

Timmy didn't say anything in response to what Walsh had told him, but he nodded and accepted what the detective had said about Jack. His dad might have been a son of a bitch, but the cops didn't think he had killed his mother. Although he didn't feel an immediate sense of loss of someone that he had never known, he did often grieve not having the basics in life that other kids took for granted, a mother and father who loved him. Isaac was the closest thing to family that Timmy had, and he knew that Isaac loved him unconditionally. It took a lot of the sting out of Timmy's pain, and the stability that Isaac provided fostered an emotional climate in which Timmy was thriving.

"I hope that makes you feel better in some way, Timmy…" Detective Walsh said. " I don't know what Jack was like to live with for you, but I can guess, since you're here with Isaac….But in my book, he isn't a killer, its just one of those things I know but have to prove."

"Yes, sir" Timmy said quietly. He sat on the couch staring into space, and looked very preoccupied in his thoughts.

Isaac and Walsh wrapped up their conversation, and Walsh got up to leave. He patted Timmy on the knee, and said

"Timmy, I have to run…I will talk to the people who were at the river and see if they will meet with you, okay"

Timmy looked up and said "Thanks, and thank you for letting me… uh, us know about my mother. Isaac is my family now."

Walsh shook hands with both of them and said "You're welcome, and I'll be in touch." With that, the detective was out the door and gone.

Isaac went over to stand behind Timmy and put his arms around Timmy's shoulders. Timmy reached up and held Isaac's arms, and enjoyed the closeness. Isaac didn't say anything for a long moment, then asked,

"Are you okay, little buddy?"

"Yeah, I'm good….I knew she was never coming back, Isaac….I was always 95% sure of that, and now I know I was right all along." Timmy explained.

"How is someone as young and small as you so brave and smart? You amaze and inspire me, Timmy." Isaac said into Timmy's ear.

"Watch it with the small stuff, Mister," Timmy said, making Isaac laugh at the boy's bravado. It was another indication that Timmy was coming out of his shell, as he would have never had said such a thing a few short weeks ago, when he was severely down on self confidence. He would have internalized being called small as a painful insult. The night he had trusted Isaac with his most personal secrets was the first time he had ever let anyone else into his private space, and now Scott had accepted him the way he is as well. He was learning that being vulnerable didn't have to mean being eaten by the fittest in the jungle. "And I'm not that brave. I really need my big brother close to me right now." he admitted.

"Okay, one cuddle coming up" Isaac said as he moved to the couch and laid down on his side, Timmy joined him on the front of the couch and lay his head on Isaac's arm. Isaac stroked Timmy's hair with his free hand and asked "How are you sleeping lately?" Since you moved into the other room, I don't know if you still have night terrors"

"It's getting a lot better since I came here…I still have bad nights now and again, sorry if I wake you…" Timmy replied.

"No, no, not at all…And this isn't about waking me up, it's that I worry about you, Timmy. I want to be there when you wake up from one of those, so you don't wake up alone" Isaac said.

"It really is a lot better, but I would like to sleep with you every now and then, too." Timmy said.

"You can always come in with me if you're having a rough time, Timmy. I'll always make room for you next to me." Isaac said. Timmy reached up and pulled Isaac's arm tighter around his chest, and they stayed like that for a while until it was time to make the evening meal.

Detective Walsh drove past Jack's place after leaving Timmy and Isaac, and knocked on the door. There was no one home, so he continued to The Office, Jack's haunt most nights. Big Bill was behind the bar as usual, and Walsh asked about Jack. Bill hadn't seen Jack in a few days, and couldn't help Walsh, but another patron overheard the conversation and walked over to the detective, nursing a bottle of beer.

"Hello, Detective" The man greeted Walsh, who nodded in reply.

"Bill, I'm surprised you hadn't heard," the man began "Jack ain't been doing so good and checked himself into county the other day, said he though he had appendicitis or something. He's probably still there." Bill was surprised that he hadn't heard something from the regulars, and Detective Walsh thanked the man, shook Bill's hand and said "Later, old friend…got to deliver some news".

"Oh? Did you find Tiffany?" Bill asked.

"Her remains, yes" Walsh said as Bill put his hands on the bar and hung his head, shaking it slowly. "Take care, old man. I'll see ya."

"Stay safe, Detective" Bill replied, as Walsh walked out the door.

Jack indeed was still in County Hospital, and Walsh got directions to his room from the desk in the lobby. Once on the floor, he knocked on the partially open door, and a nurse let him in. "Oh, hello detective Walsh!" The nurse knew him from other times he had been in the hospital, with suspects, criminals, crash victims and so forth.

He flashed her a smile, and said "Hello, how are you?"

"Fine, thanks. It's okay, he's awake now" and with that, she left the men alone in the room. The other bed was empty, and Walsh walked over to the bed Jack was in, and looked at the tubes and monitors and wires attached to Jack.

"I didn't expect you to pay me a visit," Jack croaked, his throat dry. Walsh got him some water, and held it for him to take a drink.

"Hello, Jack. The forensic tests came back and I'm afraid I have bad news to bear" Walsh said.

"Well, you're not the only one today to do that…" Jack said. "I got liver cancer, and they say its pretty grim". Jack said. "But you came to tell me something"

"I'm sorry to hear that, Jack…but yes, I came to let you know that we have made a positive ID on the Jane Doe…It is Tiffany, I'm sorry, Jack" Walsh reached to touch Jack's hand.

"I always knew in my heart that she was not coming back…" Jack sighed

"That is exactly what Timmy said, too, when I told him." Walsh said.

"Is he doing okay with Isaac?" Jack asked.

"Yes, he is doing really well. Isaac considers Timmy to be his little brother now, you know".

"Would you do something for me, Detective?"


"Could you ask Isaac if he would let me see Timmy one more time? I need him to know some things, and it has to come from me"

"I will do that right away, Jack, how long will you be here?" Walsh wondered.

"I don't know, they didn't say, but I'm probably not going back home, I know that now." Jack admitted.

"Let me get out of your hair and talk to the boys" Walsh said, touching Jack's hand briefly before turning to go.

"Thanks for coming by, Detective." Jack said. Walsh waved, and then was gone. He called Isaac from the nurses station and gave Isaac a rundown on Jack, and told him the room number. Isaac thanked him for the call and hung up. Walsh decided to call it a day, and went back to the Police Department to check messages before going home. It seems that his informant had some information already and wanted to meet Walsh at the end of the week, during visitation time.

Isaac hung up with Walsh, and turned to address Timmy. "Timmy, listen up for a minute. I gotta talk to you…" Timmy got off the couch where he had been cuddling with Isaac, and came into the kitchen. He looked like a rat in a windstorm, and Isaac laughed at his crazy hair. "Oh, damn, dude, we need to get you sheared!"

Isaac got serious and said "Jack is in the hospital, and they say he has liver cancer, and won't make it, Timmy. I know this is hard, but he wants to see you."

Timmy didn't say anything for a while, and had a confused look on his face "Why would he want to talk to me?"

"Have no clue….Do you want to hear him out? It sounds like he's running out of time, Timmy" Isaac said. "I will be with you, and if you want to leave, we go, no questions asked, okay"?

"I guess that will work…I'm ready" Timmy said, as Isaac tried to calm the frantic hair and they left for the hospital. Once they got to Jack's room, Timmy paused at the door, and Isaac put his hands on Timmy's shoulders and stood behind him.

"Should I go first?" Isaac asked.

"No, just give me a minute.' Timmy said. They had attracted the attention of the head nurse, who came over and asked if they were in need of anything. Isaac told her they were fine, just gathering themselves, and she said

"Let me go in and check on him" and she went in the room and they could hear her tell Jack that he had visitors.

"He's okay to see people" she said, coming back out of the room and opening the door.

"Thank you" Isaac said, and they went in. They were both a bit shocked by Jack's appearance and the hardware hooked up to him, and the monitors above the bed, flashing and beeping and the traces on the ECG. Even though this was standard protocol, it still seemed to the boys if you had this much connected to you, things weren't good.

"Hello, Jack. We came down as soon as Detective Walsh called" Isaac said.

"Thanks for bringing him, Isaac" Jack sighed "I know you probably don't want to hear anything from me, but there are things I need to say, Timmy. I know you think I hate you, but I really never did. I said awful things to you and was the worst kind of parent, and that's why I gave you up to live with Isaac. I couldn't be a dad to you, and you deserved so much more than me. Sometimes love means I had to be honest and face the fact that you had no business living with a drunk like me, and I had no business trying to raise you, Timmy. I gave you up so you would have a chance to be somebody. I'm sorry I wasn't the father you should have had. I just couldn't do it….." Jack trailed off.

"The night you threw me out…why did you write me a note?" Timmy asked, as he began to cry. Tears welled up in Jack's eyes too. "Why couldn't you just tell me and Isaac that you wanted me to leave?", Timmy squeaked through tears and sobs.

Jack sniffed back tears and said "Because I was afraid…afraid I wouldn't be able to go through with it. Timmy, things were bad enough, but they would have gotten worse as you got older. I know that I have been drinking myself to death, and if I hadn't made you leave, you would have wound up on the street once I was gone. I didn't have any choice once Isaac came along, and I knew you would be okay with him, so I decided that I had to do what I did….I'm so sorry Timmy, about every Goddamned thing. I know I never showed it or said it, but I do love you…enough to get you away from me. I needed to tell you these things before I die, Timmy."

Timmy didn't say anything for a long moment, just quietly sobbing and absorbing what he'd heard. He was gathering that Jack was on his deathbed, and had nothing to lose clearing his conscience with Timmy.

Isaac asked "Can anything be done?" and Jack shook his head.

"Nah, I don't fit the guidelines for a liver transplant, and I don't have time to go on the list anyway. The cancer guy gives me a week to a month." Jack said. "I'm too sick to go home, and I'm sure I won't get better. Timmy, can you grab that envelope?" Jack pointed to a manila on the dresser "Give that to Isaac, please."

Isaac took the envelope from Timmy and opened it. Inside was a notorized legal power of attorney that named Isaac as executor of Jack's estate, and there was a handwritten list of things, like Jack's bank account information, the address and phone number of his landlord, an insurance policy from his former employer and a short will. Basically Jack had willed his car, assets and personal belongings to Timmy, what little there was.

Isaac scanned the will and Power of Attorney, and asked Jack what his final wishes were. "Just keep it cheap and simple. I think the insurance should be just enough to bury me."

"I will make sure all of this is honored, Jack, I promise" Isaac said, and Jack smiled and closed his eyes and said

"I Thank God for sending you, Isaac. Timmy reached into the bed and took Jack's hand, carefully avoiding the drip infusion line taped to the back of his hand. and noticed the wrist band. His glance at the bracelet revealed that Jack had blood type O positive. He wasn't quite sure why that had caught his attention, and a second later his thoughts moved on again.

A nurse came in and said that Jack would need to sleep now, and turned up the drip on what must have been a sedative, as Jack began to visibly react to the medicine. Timmy squeezed Jacks fingers a bit, and said

"Thank you for what you did for me….dad" and a few moments more and Jack was asleep. They turned to leave and walked down the hall to the elevator. When they got in, Timmy began to sob, and Isaac put his arms around Timmy's shoulders as the boy cried. Isaac waited, as Timmy usually always said something when he was crying.

"I wanted to be pissed off and scream at him and hate him, Isaac…..I really d-did…b-but I can't ….I can't….I.." Isaac let Timmy rain hard on the elevator floor for a minute, before he spoke.

"How do you feel now that you know?" Isaac murmured into Timmy's ear.

"Like a lot of shit is suddenly gone…I guess I'm letting go a little?" Timmy continued to sob, but tried to keep his face down and stay quiet as people filed in and out of the elevator. Then the last person left and it was just the two of them.

"Just let it go, little buddy…let it all go. And sorry about the little part!" which made Timmy bust out laughing in the midst of the cry. He turned and hugged Isaac, and said "Yeah, don't forget that, you Greek god!" Isaac just laughed and said,

"You sure it's not Italian?" referring to Michelangelo's masterpiece, David.

"Okay, what you said, then" Timmy said. Isaac always found it highly funny when Timmy would say that. The elevator doors opened, and some people got on , and gave the two hugging boys, one with tears on his face, a careful glance. It wasn't unusual to find crying people in hospital elevators.

Once they came to a halt at street level, Isaac broke the hug and said

"I'm super proud of you, big guy. I know this was a trip you really didn't want to make, but I'm so glad you decided to hear him out."

"Me too, and I'm glad you came with me" Timmy said. "Well, I am kind of your ride, you know" Isaac bantered "It woulda been a long hike on foot."

"You are useful for some things I admit" Timmy said, rising to the game.

"A bit of a smartass are we?" Isaac smiled.

"Sorry" Timmy said, stopping in midst ride, misreading Isaac's remark, his head down again. Isaac stopped and turned back.

"No! No, don't be sorry! I like your sense of humor a lot. I'm glad we can have fun with each other like this."

"Me too" Timmy said. Isaac suggested a stop at Dairy Queen and Timmy found that to be a capital idea. They ate their sundaes on the way home, and Timmy suggested that they go to bed. He peeled off his clothes and headed for Isaac's bed nude. Isaac thought "what the hell, when in Rome…" and stripped as well and climbed in beside Timmy. Timmy spooned his back into Isaac's chest and pulled Isaac's arm over him and kissed it up and down from the wrist to the elbow.

"I love you, Isaac….you were so right."

"About?" Isaac queried

"Letting it all go and forgiving Jack." Timmy said. " I would always have unfinished business if I had not gone to see him and he died"

"I love you too, little brother, and I didn't want you to live with that" Isaac said.

"Wow, you're pretty AND you have brains" Timmy teased, channeling his inner smartass again. Isaac began to tickle Timmy mercilessly, and the younger boy thrashed around in the bed until Isaac let him breathe a little. By this time, Timmy was erect, and Isaac had to check himself before things escalated.

He laid still and let Timmy resume his spooning. Soon they were both asleep.

The next day, Isaac's parents came to visit, and Isaac had gotten up early to take his shower and dress. He fixed breakfast for them both, and got Timmy up and in the shower. Timmy was very relaxed and in a good mood this morning. He knew he would be meeting Isaac's parents and was a bit nervous.

"Do you think they will like me?" Timmy wondered "What are they like?"

"Yes, they will love you! Dad is an executive with Intercontinental Paper, and Mom is a legal secretary at a law firm."

"Have you told them about me?" Timmy wondered.

"Yes, they know a lot about you already, Timmy" Isaac confirmed. "You can trust them with anything, Timmy, don't worry."

"Okay" Timmy said. In his mind, if Isaac said it, it was good as gold, and Timmy didn't question it. Isaac had never lied to, or disappointed Timmy in any way. Timmy trusted Isaac completely and totally, and hoped he could learn to be close to Isaac's parents as well.

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