Alec finds himself standing in the living room of a two-story penthouse overlooking the Hudson River in the middle of the afternoon two days later, Magnus standing by a dead male in his 40’s, duct-taped to the chair in the living room, front of the body full of blood. The Medical Examiner was dressed in tight black colored leather pants and cream-colored long-sleeved dress shirt that did wonders to his biceps. But that ass-
“Stop staring at his ass,” Jace elbows his brother.
Lydia made a slurping noise that annoys the hell out of Alec, “That’s a great ass you know. Even better than the fake Kardashian booty.”
“Stop talking about his ass,” Alec hisses, blushing later on when Magnus’ gaze shifts on him, a smirk on his face, probably knew how the detective had been devouring his ass with his hazel colored eyes since he arrived, “And he’s probably taken.”
“Nope. Still single.”
Alec raises an eyebrow, “And how do you know that.”
“Izzy work with him stupid. And they’re buddies.”
Lydia nods, “And he moves here after his ex-girlfriend left him for greener pasture.”
“What an idiot.”
Jace agrees with his brother, “And you would be one if you don’t make a move.”
Alec takes a deep breath, the hesitation was obvious in his tone, “What if he’s not interested?”
Lydia snorts, slapping the male by the back of his head, “Only an idiot would say that. He’s been flirting with you non-stop ever since that night, you stupid.”
Alec growls, rubbing his injured area, “I’m not stupid. I have a degree in Criminology.”
“I don’t care stupid. Make a move. He’s into you as you are in him,” Lydia hisses, making a move downstairs when an officer yells for her attention, Jace behind her.
“Alexander?” Magnus calls for the detective’s attention, eyes still on the wound around the dead male’s neck.
Alec moves towards the ME, right hand grabbing a photo frame on the end table. He stood next to Magnus, frame next to the face of the deadman, confirming he is the owner of the house.
“His name is Jarred Alden-Orlander. His husband, Charlie Alden-Orlander, is missing,” Magnus explains, then showing the wound around the neck, “Same MO. Clean cut.”
Alec nods, eyes on the floor and under the glass coffee table, “No flowers this time. He knew that we had figured it out.”
Magnus looks at Alec, “The son, Jonathan?”
Alec nods, drawing a huge breath, “Yes.”
Jace steps into the living area from the grand staircase, “Alec,” he calls for both men’s attention, “You need to see this.”
* * * * *
Alec stood at the main entrance door, a young male clad in a sweater was explaining to the officer on the reason he’s there, “Hey, all I know is that I got a delivery for a Detective Alec Lightwood,” he says, hand holding a bouquet of approximately 20 black roses with a yellow chrysanthemum in the middle.
Alec nears him, “That’s me,” he later takes the white envelope embedded in between the arranged flowers while Jace pulls the delivery boy away to take his statement.
With hesitations, Alec pulls the card with his gloved hand, Magnus watching him.
Tick tock detective
Catch me if you can
* * * * *
Magnus walks into the bullpen, a file in his hand, “No fingerprints were found. And they used standard paper and ink you can find in any stationery store in the city,” he says, standing by Lydia’s desk which was situated opposite of Alec and Jace’s workstation, handing the file to her.
Jace grunts, tapping in his computer, “The order was made through an envelope with a wad of cash in it, dropped into the mailbox of the flower shop probably late last night with that card,” he leans into his chair, “Who the hell does that?’
“People who are adamant on keeping their identity a secret,” Alec says, elbow on his desk, palm supporting his chin, “Not that we didn’t know who he was.”
“You okay Alexander?” Magnus asks.
“Yes, I’m fine, I just-” he looks at Jace, “Clary doesn’t have any pictures of her brother? Like at all?”
Jace shakes his head, “Sorry buddy. When their parents separated when she was 5, Valentine took the brother away and never shows up,” he pauses, eyes on Alec, “Up until the day you and Lyds arrested Valentine and we found out about her being related to him when that lunatic requested for her.”
Magnus frowns, stepping to stand by Jace’s desk, “I thought you and Alexander caught Valentine?”
“Nope, it was me and Alec. We were partners before,” Lydia says, fingers still typing a report into the online system.
Alec grins lopsidedly, teasing his ex-partner, “And who knew, my ex-partner climbed a rank when I was away on compulsory sick leave for 3 freaking months.”
Lydia tosses a pen at Alec’s way, hitting him straight in the arm, “Shut up asshole. You knew I was taking the Sergeant exam.”
Bending to pick up the pen, Alec hisses, “I could write you up for violence in the workplace.”
Lydia rolls her eyes, unamused, “Whatever.”
“Her Defence Attorney boyfriend would make your life a miserable hell Alec,” Jace says, but later moves to pick up the phone ringing on his desk.
Magnus moves to sit at the edge of Alec’s table, “You sure you’re okay?”
Alec nods, not knowing why he’s so oddly comfortable in the presence of this new male in his work life, and without hesitation, moving to place his right palm on Magnus’ thigh perched on his desk, “I’m fine Magnus.”
Heart blossoming at the way Alec had finally gotten comfortable with him, Magnus smiles widely, right hand resting on Alec’s.
“Sorry to disturb you lovebirds,” Jace says over the phone, eyes on the couple, “Someone found the missing husband.”
* * * * *
1645H Marshland Conservancy, West Entrance
Magnus frowns when they were greeted at the crime scene with a single police car, lights off. For an active high profile case, that is extremely odd.
Jace, Alec, Lydia, and Magnus walks towards the officer and the young man who found the body, nodding at the rough direction of the body’s location he was describing.
“Thank you, just bring him back to the precinct and hold him until I come back. Good job officer,” Jace says, joining the other three at the opening of the secluded area within the compound of Marshland Conservancy.
Four of them treks down the winding path filled with vines and dead roots, to a bushy area almost 50 feet from the pathway, a body was hidden under fallen dead trees, leaves covering 80% of the body laying on the ground.
“Magnus,” Alec starts as Magnus moves to stands by the feet of the body, “I’m sorry but we need to surveil this body.”
Magnus frowns, “What do you mean?” he places his workbag down on the ground, “Wait, you mean just leave him here?”
Lydia nods, “Doctor Bane, this body, he’s still not-” she pauses, finding words to say, “-not complete.”
Magnus looks down at the body, genitalia still attached and if it not because of the severely pale skin, it was just like staring at a male sleeping on the ground. He argues a second later, crouching by the body, “But the longer we let the body here, more forensic evidence is lost!”
Jace takes a deep breath, “Doctor, from the look of the body, I can tell you that he died of asphyxiation, just like the other body that you autopsied yesterday and from the files you’ve read.”
Magnus grunts, slowly putting on his gloves, inching closer to the body in his crouching position.
“Magnus please,” Alec pleads, moving to step closer to the ME, “He’s still not complete. There’s a reason why the body is still in hiding and his genitalia still there,” he stops a feet away from Magnus, “We’re sure Jonathan might come back to finish him, this is our best chance to get him.”
Lydia looks around, voice lower but strained, “Doctor Bane, please, this is the only way we have to protect Alec.”
Magnus takes a deep breath, looking up at Alec who was jittery, his left thumb scratching the back of his right hand.
“I won’t do this if I wasn’t desperate,” Lydia tries again, “We’ll put the entrances under surveillance, and doctor, please, if we don’t do this, we got nothing.”
Jace closes his eyes, looking at Alec in worry and at Magnus in a desperate attempt to get him to agree with their plan, “Please, for Alec.”
* * * * *
2345H Marshland Conservancy, North Entrance
Alec was sitting in the car with Jace, while Lydia had partnered up with Alaric at the other entrance at the other end of the conservancy. He munches on his protein bar, eyes alert on the surrounding area, “Thank you.”
“For what?” Jace asks, mouth full of potato chips.
“Everything you and Lyds are doing.”
Jace shrugs, sipping on his can of cola, continues on munching his potato chips seconds later, “You’re my brother. It’s a must,” he says with a mouthful, chip crumbs dropping out of his noisy mouth.
Alec chuckles, “And how the hell Clary finds you hot when you’re this disgusting.”
Grinning, Jace wiggles his eyebrows, “I have my ways with the ladies.”
“Magnus likes you, you know.”
“I know,” Alec says, “I like him too.”
“So you should ask him out.”
Alec nods, biting into his protein bar, thinking on how he should gather the courage to do so, “I will. But after I ensure The Circle is taken care of.”
“Alec, you know it’ll take time to do so,” Jace retorts, later sipping on his cola, eyes on his brother.
“I want him and I don’t want to endanger his life,” Alec says, “That’s how serious I am of him.”
“Wow, that’s a great proposal dude,” Lydia chirps in through the wireless ear intercom.
“Oh fuck-” Alec swears, forgetting the fact that he had just confessed to his teammates plus his step-father’s best pal, “Don’t you dare say anything to him Lyds, or I’ll tell John embarrassing stories about you.”
“And you too Alaric, do not gossip with Luke. He will then talk to my mom and oh god-” Alec grunts when Alaric laughs into the intercom, running his hand down his face, “-what have I done. I dug my own grave.”
Jace moves to open the door of the car, “I need to pee.”
“Don’t go far stupid,” Alec reminds, “And you have a bladder the size of a baby pony, you should wear diapers on the next lookout,” he comments, receiving chuckles from both Lydia and Alaric.
20 minutes further on the lookout, with Jace dozing off in his seat, Alec turns his head when he heard the subtle sound of footsteps and bushes rustling, “Jace,” he whispers, palm slapping his brother’s chest, “Hey wake up-”
Alec makes a swift move out of the car when a figure crosses in front of their car, running towards the woods, “Hey stop there!” he runs after the black hooded figure, his gun out, “Stop right there!” he yells again. He hastens his pace, the figure still not making a move to adhere to his commands
Able to find clear sight, Alec stops in his chase, gun up in line with his nose, he draws a short breath, holding it before his finger presses the trigger.
A loud gunshot resounds, but before Alec could make a move forward towards the fallen body, a tall figure chokehold him from behind.
During the scuffle, the perpetrator manages to knock Alec’s gun away, his hard boot kicking the back of Alec’s knee, sending the detective onto a kneeling position on the filthy ground. Another swift kick landed on Alec’s back, sending the male into a coughing fit. Alec was about to lurch in front to grab the man before he was subdued with a small jolt of a taser gun, rendering him weak and lying on the ground, somehow still awake.
“You’re a disgusting man,” the figure spits on him, later taking out a scalpel from his pants pocket with his right hand. The man stood in between Alec’s body, left hand harshly grabbing Alec’s hair, pulling him up from his lying position, “My father says hi,” he says, pressing the blade subtly over the skin of Alec’s neck, earning gasps from the detective when blood starts trickling down.
“Liking a man-” Alec gasps in between the pain, trying to gain his strength amidst the pain, “-is not a crime asshole.”
Irritated, Jonathan kicks Alec in the stomach, laughing when the male lurches forward, emptying the content of his stomach on the ground.
“It is a sin.”
Alec laughs, heaving hard, still don’t have enough strength to fight back, “Says who? Your lunatic dad?”
Jonathan throws the scalpel away in a rage, “Shut up! It is out of natural for a man to like another man!”
“And killing another human being is okay with you? You’re the disgusting man here Jonathan,” Alec taunts, smiling when Jonathan was visibly angry at him, “Just like your father. No wonder your mom doesn’t want you.”
“Shut up!” he yells, moving to kick Alec on the stomach again, and pressing the sole of his boot on the now lying figure’s chest, “I’m going to have fun with you, you fag,” he says, proceeding to grab Alec by the collar of his shirt, slamming his head onto the ground.
* * * * *
0235H Laboratory, the basement of New York Police Department
“Any news on the stakeout?” Magnus asks when he pushes the door of the laboratory, Izzy was typing the report in the pc on the work counter.
“No. You okay?”
Magnus shrugs, moving to sit on the stool by the microscope, “I’m just worried, it’s been almost 7 hours.”
Izzy smiles, licking her red painted lips as she continues on typing, “I see you’re smitten with that cold-blooded brother of mine.”
“Well, he wasn’t actually warm and fuzzy at first,” Magnus says, adoration clearly in his voice, “But he’s a great man. And adorable,” he pauses, “And gorgeous.”
Izzy rolls her eyes. Seconds later, with a wide smile on her face, she turns to look at her boss, “You’re totally smitten huh."
“You don’t mind?”
“You’re a good man,” Izzy says, moving to stand next to Magnus, “But do remember I have access to all your social media accounts in your office.”
Magnus snorts, “I like him, I definitely won’t hurt him.”
Grinning, Izzy hugs her friend tightly, “He’s a bit of a mess, so be careful with him okay?”
“Okay,” Magnus says, patting the back of his friend cum subordinate.
The loud shrilling of the phone breaks the comfortable silence in the empty lab, Izzy quickly makes a move toward the countertop, picking the cordless phone with her left hand.
“Hello, ME Lab. Oh Jace, yeah, Magnus is here,” she gasps loudly, “Oh, what-okay. Okay, we’ll be there.”
Magnus approaches Izzy, face frowning when the female turns pale the second she put the phone down, “Isabelle, what’s wrong?”
“They uh-” she catches her breath, “Jace said we have to go to the lookout, there’s a body for you, Alec shot the guy.”
“Okay, that’s great isn’t it?”
Izzy turns to look at Magnus, tears pooling at the corner of her eyes, “Alec’s hurt.”
* * * * *
0255H Marshland Conservancy, North Entrance
Jace envelopes his sister as soon as she walks out of Magnus’ car, “He’s okay.”
“You said you’d protect him!” Izzy yells, punching Jace on the chest with her balled up fists, sobbing, “You promised me and mom!”
“I know, I know,” Jace coos, voice soft, “I’m sorry Izz, I’m sorry,” he continues on mumbling, hand dragging his sister towards the ambulance where their brother was receiving his treatment.
Not knowing what to do, Magnus approaches Lydia who was standing by one of the parked police cars, next to Aline who was on the phone, probably with her feds office, “What happened?”
Lydia smiles, pointing a finger at an ambulance about 30 feet away from where they’re standing, “He’s fine, don’t worry. I asked for further evaluation since Jace said he found Alec on the ground unconscious at first.”
Magnus grips the handle of his leather work bag, “How-”
“Jonathan was there. Alec was chasing after Pangborn, one of the members of The Circle and able to shoot him before Jonathan sneaked up on him,” she pauses, making a move to lead Magnus to where the body was, “Jace found them before things escalated for the worse.”
Magnus let out a deep breath he didn’t he realize he was holding onto, “Is he in custody?” he asks, stepping carefully into the woods, assisted by the flashlight in Lydia’s hand,
Lydia shakes her head, “He managed to escape when Jace went to check on Alec. He was shot, I doubt he’ll get far, we’re still scouring the area with the help of the feds. Once we’re sure he’s not within the 300 yards perimeter, that’s when I call you,” she says, smiling later on, “Wouldn’t want Alec busting my ass for calling you here when it’s still dangerous.”
* * * * *
Magnus signals his team to carry on with lifting the body of the male onto the tarp, jotting down notes on a piece of paper in the clipboard in his hand, “Miss Lightwood would be riding with you back to the lab, just do as usual.”
Magnus passes the clipboard to one of the Crime Scene units, proceeding to remove his work gloves before joining Lydia and Aline who was conversing nearby, under a tall tree.
“Are you done?” Lydia asks.
“Nothing much on him,” Magnus starts, “Based on my initial exam, he died due to massive hemorrhage. And I’m scheduling his autopsy later in the afternoon, after my much-needed beauty sleep.”
“Alec’s a great shooter,” Aline comments, while three of them were again moving towards the other part of the crime scene in the area, to the body of Charlie Alden-Orlander.
* * * * *
Magnus crouches by the lying body, “He didn’t finish it,” he says, observing the vines covering the nether region of the dead male.
“Probably heard Alec shouting after Pangborn.”
Magnus stands by the body, finger making a motion to call his unit, “You’re done processing the area?”
The dark-skinned guy nods, “Yes doctor. We started earlier but decided not to touch the body yet, waiting for you.”
Magnus nods, grabbing the clipboard from the guy, “Thank you,” he jots down his signature, “I’m done here, just take him to the lab. Collect anything within three feet from the body.”
“Will do doctor.”
Yawning, Magnus turns to look at Lydia who herself was obviously exhausted, “I’m gonna head home.”
Lydia nods, “You should get some rest doctor-”
“Magnus,” Magnus cuts in, smiling at the blonde female, “Goodnight Lydia.”
* * * * *
Noticing the ambulance was gone by the time he reaches the entrance of the conservancy, Magnus walks slowly towards his Lexus. The boot of his luxurious car opens automatically with a press of a button, and he proceeds on placing his work bag in one of the compartment. He reaches down to remove the field boot he was wearing, chucking it inside the box and carefully put on his designer dress shoes. Done, he presses the button in the inside of the boot, walking towards the driver’s seat with a big yawn.
Magnus turns his head to look at a messy Alec standing on the other side of his car, “Why are you here?”
Alec bit his lower lip, licking to soothe once he releases it, “I wanted to see you,” he whispers softly, voice hopeful.
Magnus closes his eyes, drawing a huge breath before circling his car to stand in front of the detective, “Are you okay?” he asks, right hand pushing the stray locks covering Alec’s cheek, eyes on the white patch covering the wound on his neck.
“Yes,” Alec nods, right hand moving to hold Magnus’s left side of the waist although he was hesitated at first, “It’s not as bad as it looks,” he pauses, “Nothing compared to what Valentine did to me.”
“Are you going home?” Magnus asks, hands softly patting away the specks of dust and mud stuck onto Alec’s hair.
“Yeah. But have to wait for Jace and Lyds,” Alec says, yawning behind the left hand covering his mouth, “I need a good bath and probably a Xanax or two.”
“They’ll probably be taking a while, the search is still on isn’t it?”
“Yes, but I don’t want to hear them nagging me, so I’d rather stay back. And I’m not gonna go back to my mom’s, I’d rather die than let her smother me the whole night.”
“Stay with me.”
Alec gasps, “What?”
“Stay with me at least for the night? My building’s one of the topmost secured in the city.”
“Better than Attica?” Alec teases.
Magnus grumbles, “I’m being serious. I promised, no weird business. Take a nice bath, and goodnight-” he looks up, the pitch-black sky turning bluish-grey, ”-or morning sleep. And I’ll drive you to the precinct.”
“I’m all dirty, and your car-” Alec turns his head to look at the car, “-God I don’t earn that much to replace your dirty seat cover.”
“Screw the car. I can clean it.”
“You sure about this?”
Magnus nods, “Yes.”
Smiling, Alec nods a few times before tightening his hold on Magnus' waist, “No weird business?”
Magnus rolls his eyes adorably, “And why do you sound so disappointed at that?”
Teasing the doctor, Alec places his left hand on the empty side of the waist, slowly squeezing it, “Oh well. I didn’t realize you were such a-” he pauses, “-saint.”
Magnus snorts, pressing the button to unlock his car, “I’m not. Get ready with me on my full mode flirty side when you’re awake later on,” he says while pulling the door handle, opening the passenger side door for Alec to climb in, “Get in. I’ll tell Jake you’re with me for the night.”
Grinning as he settles in the expensive leather-covered seat, Alec looks up at Magnus, “He’ll assume that you and I-”
“Just let him,” Magnus snorts, “It’ll happen sooner or later anyway,” he mumbles softly under his breath.
* * * * *
0410H B1 parking lot, Walker Tower
Standing by the elevator at the parking lot, Alec gulps, “Didn’t know you earn this much.”
Laughing, Magnus shakes his head, “I don’t earn enough to own a property in this building with my ME salary.”
Alec frowns, turning to look around the basement parking area, full of luxurious cars, “You uh-” he gulps again, “It is legal right?” he asks softly, scared he might insult his newfound crush.
Magnus chuckles, “God, you really don’t know a thing about me do you?”
Alec shrugs, “All I needed to know is that you’re extremely beautiful, have a great ass and good at your job.”
“Oh god, stop flirting with me,” Magnus groans, forehead pressing against the metal door of the elevator, “I’m barely holding on right now.”
Chuckling, Alec carefully pats Magnus’ back, “Okay, sorry.”
* * * * *
Magnus knocks on the door of his guest room, he himself fresh out of the bath, clad in his silk pajama, “All okay in there?”
“Just a minute!”
Being greeted with a wet-haired Alexander, clad in a just a pair of sweatpants hanging low on his hips, upper body naked and deliciously looking was not how Magnus imagine his night would be, “God, don’t tease me,” he groans out loud, eyes clenched shut.
Alec grins sheepishly, taking his sweet moment to put on the tight tank top Magnus gave him previously, “Still holding on to the ‘no weird business’?”
“Your brother and sister would kill me if they found out.”
Alec snorts, “I’m a grown man, I can do what I want,” he says, stepping closer toward Magnus, their body just a few inches away.
“Darling,” Magnus let out a deep breath, closing his eyes to gain his sanity, left palm pressing against Alec’s chest, “I want us to take our time,” he says, pushing the male slowly away, “We just met and god, as much as I want you-”
“I want you, Magnus,” Alec says, voice loud and clear, “I really do.”
“I know,” Magnus pauses, “I want to take time to get to know you, ergo, you need to do the same.”
Alec groans loudly, side of his head resting against the doorframe, “Ergh, I did tell Jace that I’m only gonna make a move on you once we caught Jonathan and end The Circle. Didn’t know it’ll bite me in the ass hard when you decided to do the same.”
“I have to admit, this is totally out of character of me,” Magnus says, golden-green eyes gazing at Alec in a hopeful look, “And I was never attracted to a person as much as I am with you, in such short span of time.”
“I’ve never feel attracted to anyone. You’re my first.”
Magnus blushes, clearing his throat as he shifts his gaze onto his ringed finger, “I-uh-thank you.”
Loving the look on Magnus, Alec smiles widely, before breaking a huge yawn, his body begging for the rest it really needed, “It’s getting late. We better get some rest.”
Magnus nods at Alec’s suggestions, “Goodnight Alexander,” he says softly, moving to press a kiss onto the detective’s cheek, “Dream of me,” he whispers softly before sauntering towards his bedroom.
Alec groans at the way Magnus purposely exaggerated the sway of his hips, cheek still warm with the press of the other’s lips.
* * * * *
1140H Homicide Unit, New York Police Department
“Someone looks well-rested,” Jace teases as his brother walks into the bullpen, a grin on his face.
Lydia grins, moving to fold her arms on the table, “Great night huh?”
“Shut up, don’t you people have cases to solve?” Alec hisses, moving to sit on his chair and switching on his desktop, “And for your knowledge, nothing happened last night.”
“But something else did happen?” Lydia asks, eyes straight on her ex-partner.
Alec hesitantly explains, “We’ve decided to take our time.”
“Whatever floats your boat brother.”
“You uh-” Alec clears his throat, eyes on his blonde-haired brother, “-don’t think this is weird?”
“It’s your love life, why should we care about the pace you two had decided on?” Jace says, eyes on his partner, “Magnus wants you and you want him. Forget everyone else.”
Alec smiles, nodding a few times, “Thank you, guys.”
Lydia chirps in after a few minutes of silence, wide smile on her pretty face, “Jace, don’t forget you and others owe me 50 bucks each.”
* * * * *
Alec sits on the barstool at Izzy’s workstation, watching her typing in the toxicology report on their latest body into the shared online system, “Please don’t tell me you’re in the betting pool as well?”
“Oh god, you are!” he half yells, then cowering in shame when the other technicians stare at him, “Izzy!” he hisses.
“The fact that you bet, me and Magnus would-” he leans over the counter, face in front of his sister, “-have sex last night-” he whispers softly, “-you-”
“Hey darling,” Magnus greets as he pushes the glass door open, a case file in his hand, “I was about to go up to give you the autopsy report,” he says, standing next to a flustered Alec, “You okay Alexander?”
“Yeah yeah, I’m okay.”
Izzy chuckles, “He’s just pissed that we had a betting pool last night.”
Magnus raises an eyebrow, eyes watching Izzy typing in her report, “On what?”
“On whether you would pop Alec’s cherry,” Izzy explains, receiving a very loud groan from Alec who covers his face with both his palms, his pale neck slowly turns into a shade of red.
“Oh,” Magnus says softly as his brain processes the information he had just gain, “I see.”
“Oh god, you’re freaked out,” Alec groans, face still hiding in his large palms.
Izzy turns to look at her boss, “Really?”
Magnus shrugs, “So your brother is gorgeous and endearing. I still want him.”
“Oh god, you’re a sappy man boss,” Izzy chuckles, “Big bro, you’re in good hands.”
“Shut up. I hate you.”
* * * * *
Stepping into the bullpen with a worried gaze of Lydia and Jace the moment he walks in, and to make matters worse, Aline standing in between them was all Alec needed to know that shit will hit the fan soon, “What is it now?”
Aline who was wearing her standard issued FBI jacket nears her cousin, licking her lips nervously, “You may want to sit down.”
“Just tell me.”
“A few hours ago,” Aline starts, “Valentine Morgenstern escaped custody.”