They aren't mine. They aren't real, either. I've just borrowed them for a while, and I will make no money from this, you know the drill.
This was written on a Monday; one where the system kept crashing. I had to rewrite the first two or three paragraphs twice, then the system crashed again, and I thought I had lost it again. Thank God for Windows 95, it had saved most of it in the temp files, and I got most of it back (4 out of five paragraphs was enough) when I logged in on Tuesday. What can I say, it was a slow day at work, the system was down for three days, up for three, and then crashed for four; and stayed down through timekeeping day.
The idea for this came from the 3-5 inches of rain the previous weekend, and a friend and retired LAPD Sergeant, who told the story of a building, and some sand, and some rain. The rest of the story is all mine.
This is my first finished piece of fanfic, I hope you like it. R. I. Eaton.
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It had to be one of the worst Mondays on record. Torrential downpours, high winds, with minor flooding downtown, near the creeks and rivers in the surrounding areas; and to top it all off, some loony had decided to try to rob a bank. Someone in the bank had managed to set off the silent alarm, turning it into a hostage situation. It would have been so much easier to chase down successful bad guys with no hostages, but no. Instead, there were fifty cops surrounding the building; cold, wet, and miserable.
The hostage negotiator had been having absolutely no luck with these guys. They wouldn't answer the phone. The only windows into the place were those by the door. The window to the old drive through had been replaced by a drive up ATM, and there was no other exit. To top it all off, as the situation extended hour by hour, the weather was getting worse. The temperature was falling, the rain turning to sleet, and threatening snow. All with high winds; so much for the warm 'El Nino' predictions.
"Why don't you just stay in the truck, Sandburg?" Jim Ellison suggested to his partner. "The last thing I need is for you to get sick from being out in this mess."
"Oh, yeah, sure. You think I'm gonna melt in the rain, Jim? I'm not made of sugar, you know." Blair really wouldn't have minded staying out of the cold and wet, but he felt the responsibility to help his partner.
"No, you're not made of sugar, Chief; salt, maybe." He said with a grin, "Just humour me, would you? It's cold, it's wet, and you're like a cat. You hate both of those." Jim smiled and patted his young friend on the shoulder to take the sting out of his words.
Blair dropped his gaze, then looked up with his best puppy-dog expression, "Aw, come on, Jim. I promise to stay out of the way. What if you zone out? You need me, man."
Jim just looked at him. "Tell you what, let me go talk to Simon and find out what he needs, OK? Then I'll come and get you if I need you."
Blair sighed, defeated. "Sure, man, whatever." Sometimes his Blessed Protector could be so overprotective.
Jim climbed out of the truck, "I'll be right back, Chief. Just take it easy, OK?" He sighed when Blair refused to respond. Some days, Sandburg. "Just humour me, OK? I doubt if there's anything going to happen for a while, I promise to come get you." No response. "Chief?"
The puppy-dog eyes lifted to meet his own, "Just remember you said that." Blair couldn't identify the feeling knotting his stomach, he just knew he needed to be with his sentinel. Jim waved a negligent hand in acknowledgment as he left to find his captain.
The situation dragged on, the weather deteriorated, and everyone was becoming more and more anxious. With only one entrance to the building, and that made of glass, the robbers had kept everyone away from the line of sight of the door. The robbers continued to refuse to talk to the negotiator, but they also made no threats regarding the hostages.
Jim was bored. He couldn't see anything through the doors, nor hear anything from their barricade across the parking lot. He was feeling impatient, as well. Even dialing down his senses, he was feeling the cold and damp. He was glad he had left Sandburg in the truck, where he was at least protected from the worst of the weather. He was chafing with the inactivity. Simon was watching him with concern, the flexing jaw muscles of his best detective echoing his own growing frustration.
"Look, Simon, why don't I go up on the roof and see if there's access through the air ducts?" before I die from boredom.
He's almost as jumpy as his partner, Simon noted. He looked at his detective, checking on the proximity of anyone who might overhear, then, speaking in a low voice: "Do you think you can figure out how many people are in there, who's who, and location?"
"Sure, no problem." Jim replied, relieved to finally have something useful to do.
Simon thought a moment, "OK. But take Sandburg with you. We don't need you to zone out up there."
Jim scowled. "It's too cold and wet for Sandburg, Simon."
The captain looked at him, "It's what he's here for, Jim. I'm not trying to be mean, but you can't go up there without some kind of backup, and he's the best qualified for the job. Besides, I've seen how he's been looking at us for the last four hours. He thinks you're mad at him, or something. Leaving him in the truck just makes him brood."
Jim had the grace to look chagrined, as he surreptitiously glanced back at the truck and its miserable occupant. You promised, he sighed, giving up. "OK, but if he gets sick you get to take care of him, this time."
Simon snorted a laugh. "In your dreams, Ellison."
Jim looked back at Blair, sitting huddled in the truck. He waved him over. Blair hesitated, a hopeful look starting on his face. Jim nodded and waved him over again. An enormous smile spread across Blair's face as he jumped out of the truck and hurried over to join them.
"What's up?" Blair asked as he joined the other two men, looking from Jim to Simon and back to Jim. Simon stifled a smile at the bouncy enthusiasm of the grad student.
"The two of you have the honour of climbing up onto the roof to see if there's access to the bank from there. Air ducts, access door, anything." Then, in a lower voice so no one else could overhear, "and also try to sort out who's who, and how many, while you're at it."
Blair looked over at the single story building. "OK." A little hesitant, it wasn't really too high, and they'd be away from the edge, once they were up there, "How do we get up there?" The building may have been only one story, but it had to be a good fifteen feet tall; it was an older building, built when banks had twelve foot ceilings, and marble covered walls. Just at that moment, a hook and ladder fire truck pulled up beside the bank, out of the view of the front door. A weak "Oh," was all Blair could manage.
The climb wasn't bad, the rails kept Blair from freaking out, as long as he kept his eyes focused up, at the man ahead of him. When they reached the top, Jim climbed over the parapet, and turned to assist Blair over. "Oh, gross." Blair muttered, as he stepped into water that was over the tops of his hiking boots.
The flat roof of the bank apparently had drainage problems. There was a good six to eight inches of standing water everywhere. "Oh, man, this sucks." Blair groused, as he waded through the ankle deep water, following his partner.
Jim wasn't any happier. "You think this thing leaks, Chief?" he asked as he looked around, searching for any access. The only openings were a couple of vent pipes in the centre of the roof; the building had no air conditioning, only a heat pump, which was next to the vent pipe. Jim moved over to the pipes and crouched in the icy water to listen at the opening of one. With the weather turning colder, the standing water was starting to freeze, a thin film of ice building up near the parapet and around the heat pump.
Blair followed him, touching his shoulder as he listened at the pipe. "I have no idea, man." Blair had a bad feeling about all this; but he couldn't bring himself to tell his friend, for fear of being laughed at.
Jim listened at the pipe. He could make out the voices from inside. "They're talking about how to get out of this. There's...at least four robbers; that's how many different voices I'm hearing, anyway. All the robbers are in a group..." he tracked the direction by following the voices, piggy-backing sight to sound, "over there." He pointed toward one back corner. "The hostages are over there." He added, pointing to the opposite back corner. "They sound OK. Just bored." He finished.
"Good. Now, I want you to listen for heartbeats, how many in each group, Jim?" Blair asked, voice low, in classic guide mode, sliding his hand from the sentinel's shoulder to the middle of his back.
"There are...eight, no, nine hostages and.....four robbers." Jim said. Blair used the hand held radio to pass the information on back to Simon and the rest of the crew, along with the information that there was no access from the roof.
Jim moved over toward the corner where the robbers were, Blair following close behind. "You notice that the roof tiles over here are different from the rest of the roof?" Jim asked.
Blair looked closer through the deepening water; he shivered from the cold seeping up from his wet feet, "It looks older. What are you thinking?"
"I don't know...LOOK OUT!"
There wasn't enough time to get away. The weight of all the water had weakened the already aged section of roof, and their added weight was just too much for the elderly structure.
Simon had followed them up the fire truck's ladder after Blair had radioed his information. He watched in horror as his men fell through the roof, he turned and shouted to his men on the ground "GO! NOW!" A dozen officers stormed the door, guns drawn, ready to fight.
The sight that met the officers upon entering the building had to be seen to be believed. The robbers were on the bottom of the pile of ceiling tiles, roof support beams, roofing tiles, and, on the top, drenched and looking...well startled, to say the least, Detective James Ellison, and his hippie looking partner, Blair Sandburg. Not a single robber was conscious. The thousand or so gallons of water had whooshed through the building, inundating the floor, and was running out the door in a flood, soaking everyone's feet up past their ankles. The hostages were frozen in place in the other corner, unharmed, in shock at the unexpected ending of their captivity. Simon forced his way through the crowd, having nearly flown down the ladder in his concern for his men. He slid to a stop on the soggy carpet, and goggled at the scene. No one moved. Simon met Jim's and Blair's eyes, noting the stupefaction on both men's faces.
It really wasn't anyone's fault. Simon couldn't help it. Leave it to Sandburg. he thought Turn a simple reconnaissance into a major, well, I guess it isn't a disaster. Hell, it probably isn't even his fault, he's just got that karma thing going, that he's always talking about. It was unkind, uncalled for, unnecessary, unforgivable........unavoidable. Simon started laughing. Nine and a half hours standing around in freezing cold and wet, only to have it end without a shot fired, and no one hurt, well, almost no one.
Simon waded over to the shaken pair. "Are you two OK?" he asked, trying to stifle his laughter. He thought they looked like they were in shock, no surprise there.
Jim shook his head in confusion, "I think so, Blair? You OK?"
Blair took stock, "I guess, so, I'm gonna have some lovely bruises, and..EOW!" He'd tried to stand up, and his right leg refused to support him, so he fell back to a sitting position.
"Hold on, both of you stay put, don't move until we can get the paramedics in here to check you out." Simon demanded.
Back in the loft, after their injuries had been taken care of, a now dry Jim and Blair had settled in on the sofa. Simon had driven them home after they had been released, since neither was in any condition to drive. Blair had a sprained ankle and wrist, Jim had come away with a wrenched knee and broken arm. Simon was still chuckling.
"You two need a keeper," he grinned at them as he handed each of them a cup of coffee.
Both men scowled at their captain. "Yeah? I thought that was your job, Simon." Blair grumbled, as he sipped his coffee.
Jim grinned. "Hell, if I'd known it was going to be that easy, I'd have gone up there earlier."
Blair just shook his head. "Wouldn't have worked. It took all that water and both of us to make that roof give way. I can't believe we weren't hurt worse." His head came up and he grinned, broadly, "Hey! This is the first time you've been hurt worse than me!" he exclaimed, looking at Jim's newly cast arm, and knee brace.
Jim gave him a dirty look. "Yeah, but you're the one who bruises, easily, Chief. You're gonna look like a sunset by tomorrow afternoon; you're already starting to change colour." He smirked in return, noticing the bruises becoming visible on the younger man. He looked over at Simon, "Speaking of bruises, how are our robbers doing?"
Simon chuckled, again, "Four concussions, one which includes a fractured skull, which they say is not life threatening, two broken legs, a fractured collar bone, and lots and lots of bruises. If you think Sandburg here is going to look like a sunset, all four of those guys already do." He looked fondly on his friends, "You did a good job, and got lucky. You could have been killed, when that roof gave way. I'm just glad you weren't hurt worse." They all smiled at one another, satisfied with the outcome.
Blair sneezed. Jim looked at him worriedly, "You OK there, Chief?" he asked.
"Yeah, I...AHHHH...CHOO!" he sneezed, again, louder than before.
"Uh, oh. Simon? I warned you that if he got wet he'd...AHHHCHOO!" he sneezed explosively, himself.
Blair sniffed, already feeling his oncoming cold. The partners looked at each other, then at Simon, expectantly.
"Oh, no. No way. There is no way..." holding his hands out as though to ward off an oncoming attack.
Jim smiled an evil little smile..."I warned you, you get him wet and cold, he gets sick, you get to take care of him." He sneezed again, himself and Blair, with a smirk, added: "And this time, you get to take care of a sick Jim, as well." As he reached for the box of tissues on the coffee table, setting the box between them.
"Oh, no. Not me. You can't make me. You don't really expect me to take care of both of you, do you? I have other things to do with my life, than..." He was interrupted by Jim and Blair sneezing simultaneously. "Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. Why me?" He looked at the two men, knowing he was lost. "Why me, Lord?" he moaned, looking toward the ceiling, "Why me?"
With an expressive shrug, Blair gave an answer, "So, why not?"
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