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Red flashing lights cut through the darkness as the squad from Los Angeles County fire station 51 backed into position next to the Engine. The lights cut off and the doors opened. twenty eight year old paramedic Roy DeSoto and his twenty four year old partner John Gage stepped out.
John had a tendency to be obsessive about things due to a neurological condition called Aspergers Syndrome. When he caught a hold of a subject he could wear it ragged and this current one was no exception. The argument they’d been engaged in all day continued.
“C’mon Roy, how can you be so negative …you’ve never even met her,” Johnny railed, thumping the hood of the squad in irritation.
Roy sighed in exasperation…“Johnny, I told ya…I have met her.”
“Five years ago Roy…Five years… People change in that amount of time…”
“Johnny, I’m telling ya…The girl was trouble.” He gave his partner a hard stare… “And some people don’t change that much.”
John stood up straight in indignation… “You talkin about her or me…?” He snapped.
“What’s that supposed to mean…?”
“Means you’re still thinkin with something besides your head…”
John’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Well that’s just great…Okay…Okay…I’m through talkin…I’m goin to bed…”
“Look Johnny…I didn’t mean about every…”
John threw his hand up to stop his partner’s words. “Obviously what you’re saying is that you think I’m so irresponsible that you can’t trust my judgment.” There was an even mixture of hurt and anger in Johnny’s voice.
“That’s not what I said at all John…”
“I don’t wanna talk about it…,” he growled as he turned to walk away…
“Johnny…Don’t go away angry…,” Roy called after him but Johnny kept walking, disappearing into the locker room. Roy heaved a sigh of frustration.
Roy went to get a glass of water… “Julie Sumner…,” Roy muttered. Five years ago the seventeen year old Julie had been a baby sitter for one of his neighbors…Beth and Jeff Doyle. They’d lost over seven hundred dollars worth of jewelry and cash as well as Jeff’s handgun.
Julie had tearfully told the police she’d only just met the friend who’d come that night and that he’d brought the other boy along. She innocently told them she only knew them by their first names…Pete and Tim. It wasn’t until later that they’d found out that the three teens had been hitting homes all over the area. Keeping out of the same neighborhoods until they’d finally made a mistake… Two officers working in two different precincts happened to be brothers and got to talking…one thing led to another and the three had been arrested.
They’d cleaned up to the tune of about eight thousand dollars and got a year in juvenile detention. Boy…Johnny could really pick em sometimes.
By the time Roy had finished and gone to the dorm …Johnny was in bed with his eyes closed…His turnouts and boots beside the bed…but Roy knew he wasn’t asleep. He knew every sound his partner made when he slept but he also knew if he was trying this hard to pretend he was asleep then he wasn’t in the mood to talk either. Roy slid under his covers and closed his eyes… “Goodnight Johnny…,” Roy whispered.
John’s eyes snapped open as Roy settled for the night… He’d heard him say goodnight but he was still angry. “Don’t think with my head…,” he mumbled. “I guess I know what he really thinks…He thinks I’m stupid…He thinks I don’t have good judgment.”
John lay awake for a couple of hours…He tended to be insecure about things and this was one of them… His childhood years had left him unsure about himself and his abilities and even after four years together, he tended to be uncertain in his relationships… especially with Roy. The older man’s opinions meant a lot to him and if he truly didn’t trust his judgment…John’s vulnerable self confidence had taken a direct hit with Roy’s casually spoken words and his insecurities rose up full force. He lay there fuming in his bunk until exhaustion claimed him and he finally drifted off.
Johnny was already up by the time the Station Control Unit’s wake up tones sounded. He had the coffee made and was fully dressed. Roy along with the Engine crew made their way to the Rec-room.
“Man…you’re up early Gage…,” Chet Kelly said as he picked up the coffee pot. “Got the coffee on and everything…”
“It was my turn…I’m not completely irresponsible ya know…?”
Roy sighed, knowing where this was going.
“No one said you were pal…,” Captain Stanley said, noting the defensive tone of his youngest crew member…
“Yeah…Well apparently some people here don’t agree.”
Mike Stoker, the crews Engineer and its second lineman Marco Lopez exchanged a confused glance. Roy shook his head, refusing to be baited. He said nothing, knowing no matter what he said at this point it would only lead to another fight until Johnny calmed down.
“No one here thinks your irresponsible John…,” Cap said, glancing around at the others in concern and wondering what he’d missed that made John feel this way.
Johnny’s eyes flicked to Roy… “Oh …I have it on the best authority that I lack good judgment and I don’t use my head…Right…Partner?” Johnny questioned sarcastically.
“Only when it comes to women junior…,” he said softly.
“Don’t call me junior…,” Johnny snapped.
Roy looked taken aback by the vehemence in Johnny’s tone. Boy he’d really worked himself up this time… “What’s gotten into you…?” The older paramedic asked. “All I meant was that you don’t always think clearly when it comes to women…” Roy said calmly.
“NO…That’s not what you said…You said some people don’t change…you said you meant me and I don’t think with my head. I mean…If that’s really how you feel Roy, I’m sure…,” he hesitated as the men from B-shift started coming into the rec room… “I’m sure…,” he continued, pointing at Charlie Dwyer…B shifts senior paramedic. “That Charlie’d be happy to change shifts to work with you. I’m sure he’d have much better judgment…” Johnny slammed his coffee cup on the counter and stalked from the room, leaving both crews stunned.
“Roy…? Would you care to tell me what the hell that was all about?” Cap asked, as Charlie and his partner Kirk came over to listen.
“Johnny’s interested in the new cashier at the market…”
“I told him she was bad news…I have some neighbors who had some real trouble with her. Johnny thinks she’s great… I just wanted him to use better judgment in who he goes out with but all he can see is a pretty face.” The other’s grinned at Roy’s protectiveness as he continued. “I mean it’s none of my business who he dates and I don’t usually stick my nose in but this one’s trouble.”
“Well as usual, Johnny’s taken it to heart,” Mike Stoker said.
“Yeah and he’s talkin about a transfer…,” Marco added.
“He uh…doesn’t mean it… He’s just a little upset right now…,” Roy assured them, knowing his partner and his moodiness. “He’ll get over it.”
“Yeah…well let’s be sure huh pal…? Go talk some sense into that twit,” Cap instructed, hooking his thumb in the direction of the locker room.
“Is that even possible…?” Chet asked sarcastically…
“Shut up Chet…,” four voices chorused. The Irishman grinned.
Roy headed to the locker room to talk to his best friend but it was too late…Johnny had already left.
Roy tried several times to call Johnny over the next two days… “Still not answering Honey…?” Joanne asked.
“Yeah… Either he’s gone off somewhere or he’s pouting in his apartment…,” Roy said only half joking. “My guess is the former since I drove by yesterday and the Rover was gone. He’s probably sulking in a tent somewhere…”
“You better talk to him soon...You know how over sensitive he is…The longer he has time to build up a head of steam…?” She trailed off.
“I know…It’ll be like stopping a runaway train…”
Roy and Joanne were correct…Johnny had grabbed his camping gear and taken off. He knew Roy well enough to know that the older man wouldn’t let this rest. He was his best friend and cared about Johnny and he knew Roy would call or show up but darn it…he wasn’t through being angry yet.
John knew he’d overreacted to some degree but he was hurt. He couldn’t believe Roy had said that…That he didn’t trust his judgment.
Well maybe when it came to women he had made a few bad calls but that was no reason not to trust him to use his head.
John sighed in frustration…He liked Julie. He’d only been out with her twice but she’d seemed really sweet why wouldn’t Roy even give her a chance? So she was a little wild as a teenager…who wasn’t…? It didn’t mean you couldn’t change.
Johnny knew he’d never give up his friendship with Roy, Joanne and the kids…They were his family. He just wanted Roy to meet her, just so he could see he was wrong… He’d talk this out with Roy…just as soon as he was through being mad…
Roy was in early the next morning. He figured if Johnny was still angry he’d show up early in order to avoid him…he was right.
The younger member of the team was unbuttoning his shirt as Roy walked in. Johnny rolled his eyes in annoyance and turned away.
“Can we talk Johnny…?” Roy asked.
“Nothin to say is there…?”
“I think there is…”
“What…? You want to tell me again how much you don’t trust me to use my head…? That I don’t have good judgment?” John flung the door to his locker open to block Roy from his view.
The older man’s hand shot out and slammed it closed, almost hitting John… The dark haired paramedic’s mouth dropped open in shocked surprise at his normally even tempered friend. “You know partner, trusting someone’s judgment is a two way street…,” Roy snapped.
“Don’t try and put it back on me…,” John yelled, pointing at his own chest.
“Why…? You don’t appear to trust mine very much either…,” Roy shouted back.
“What’s that supposed to mean…?”
“I’m tryin to tell you that girl is trouble…She’s been in and out of it for years… I care about you and I don’t want to see you hurt…”
“You never worried about me being hurt before…,” John shot back. “As a matter of fact, you all seem to take great pleasure in it…”
That hit Roy like a slap to the face. It was true, they’d all shared many a laugh at their youngest crew members expense but not because he’d been hurt…It was just that there was usually some odd circumstance that caused the break up and made them laugh. Roy felt bad now that he’d hurt his friend and hadn’t even realized it…Johnny really couldn’t help it and Roy knew that, he was just so unsure about relationships but it didn’t mean Roy didn’t care. “Of course I worry about it…You just never bothered to ask my opinion before…,” the blonde paramedic yelled at the younger man.
That was true, Johnny hadn’t asked but that was irrelevant…Roy was his best friend and he’d have listened if he’d offered his opinion…wouldn’t he??? “How do you know she hasn’t grown up…She’s got a job now…she’s not out there rippin people off…”
“At the moment…”
“Aaagh….” John growled, throwing his hands up in frustration.
Their raised voices clearly carried through the station. The men of C-shift, who were in the rec room for their morning coffee along with the arriving Crew of A shift, were wide eyed. They all knew the close relationship between these two men and they’d had other arguments but not like this. They’d never yelled like this before.
Cap was beginning to think he was gonna have to step in. He wasn’t willing to let this escalate. He’d been told the last fight between these two over a misunderstanding had had serious repercussions for both men when Johnny had transferred to station 88. Hank wouldn’t risk a repeat.
He had too much respect for both of these young men to possibly lose one over something so trivial.
Chet picked up his coffee cup and wandered out of the rec room. Cap hoped he had sense enough to stay out of it…Neither paramedic would be in the mood for his smart ass sense of humor.
Johnny and Roy were both angry but for very different reasons. Johnny was hurt over Roy’s lack of respect for his ability to think rationally… He was well aware that he had trouble holding on to relationships because of his past and having Aspergers Syndrome, but this was different…Roy wasn’t referring to his emotional ability to hang onto a stable relationship, he was saying he was too irresponsible to use good judgment just because the girl was pretty.
Roy was angry over Johnny’s inability to realize that his concern was only for his best interest and that even after all this time and all they’d been through together, That he wouldn’t listen and that he’d let this girl come between them. Why couldn’t he understand that Roy was only worried about him?
“Man Gage…,” Chet interrupted.
Roy looked toward the doorway as Johnny whirled to face the Irishman. “Stay outta this Kelly…,” Johnny snapped angrily.
“Geez Gage…I don’t believe you…”
“ME…?” He growled in dumbfounded shock…
“Yeah you…I mean after everything you two have been through, you’re really gonna let some chick you hardly know come between you?” He said voicing Roy’s thoughts.
Johnny opened his mouth to snap back but suddenly realized Chet was right. His dark eyes swiveled sheepishly toward his best friend. There were other issues here but this had all started over Julie and he wasn’t willing to lose his best friend over it. “I’d never let some girl come between us Roy,” he said softly as his anger drained away.
The older man jerked his head at Chet with a half smile, indicating that he should retreat. Chet winked at Roy and wandered off.
The sudden silence from the locker room worried Cap and the others. “You think Roy killed him Cap…?” Marco asked worriedly, breaking the tension. Both crews began to laugh.
Chet strolled back in with a grin on his face and headed for the coffee pot for a refill. “Everything okay in there pal…?” Cap asked.
“Sure Cap…they’re talkin.” Chet said innocently.
“I’m sorry Roy…,” Johnny said softly. “But it’s not just about Julie Sumner here…”
“I know… It’s your misconception that I don’t trust your judgment and that I think you’re irresponsible.”
“Yeah partner. Do you really believe we’d still be partners if I didn’t trust you 100%? Johnny, I put my life in your hands every time we leave this building… If I thought for a minute that you were irresponsible or lacked good judgment…even a little…I wouldn’t still be your partner.” Johnny stared at the floor in embarrassment, feeling foolish as Roy continued. “There’s no one I’d trust more with my life or at my side.”
“I know…,” He mumbled.
“You’re not just my partner, you know that…?” Roy said reaching out to rest his hand on his young friends shoulder.
“I’m sorry it came across that way and I wouldn’t ever want to give you that impression.”
Dark eyes rose to meet Roy’s blue. “I know that…it’s just that…,” he hesitated.
Roy sighed…His partner was so insecure sometimes…“You still thought I didn’t trust you… but you know how important you are to me…? Johnny, I just really don’t trust this girl and I think you can do better." The younger man opened his mouth to argue but Roy cut him off. “Date who you want Johnny, you don’t need my approval, but don’t ask for my opinion if you really don’t want to hear it.”
“I really do want to hear it…I want you to like who I get involved with …I mean if I got serious, she’d be a part of the family."
Roy felt a flutter of concern. “You’re not serious about Julie are ya…?”
“Well no not yet…I mean I’ve only been out with her twice but…”
“Tell ya what…?” Roy interrupted. “I’ll go with ya to pick up groceries for dinner tonight. If she’s there …introduce us…I’ll see what kind of impression she leaves on me now… Deal…?”
Johnny grinned… “Deal…” Roy scruffed his hair lightly and Johnny shot him a small smile, smoothing it back into place.
They headed to the Rec room for coffee…stopping short as both crews peered at them intently.
“Everything okay with you two…?” Cap asked.
“Sure…why…?” Johnny asked innocently.
Mouths dropped open in disbelief at the blank look he threw them.
Roy grinned as he headed for the coffeepot. Johnny joined him a moment later throwing him a grin and a wink. He took the cup from Roy’s hand. “Ready to get started junior…?” Roy asked.
“Whenever you are pally…”
The station control unit toned them out interrupting roll call. They arrived at the scene twenty minutes later and climbed from their vehicles. Their faces tense…this was gonna be a challenge.
A car had run off the road and now hung precariously on the edge of a cliff. The front end extended out into empty air as the rear pointed skyward. The rear axle hung up on a broken tree stump. The car rocked dangerously.
“Get a couple of lines on that…”Cap bellowed to Marco and Chet. The two linemen ran to comply as Johnny and Roy carefully made their way toward the car.
Chet and Marco arrived but had some difficulty in locating anything stable enough to really anchor to. The rear axle was broken and wouldn’t take much more stress. They had to settle for the bumper. Cap looked at it in concern but finally gave John the go ahead.
“Okay Cap…?” The young man asked anxiously.
Cap nodded… “Just take it easy…It’s not real stable.”
The ropes were creaking under the strain as Johnny stood perilously close to the edge trying to reach the rear door. He leaned out over the edge drawing an indrawn breath of anxiety from his nervous friend. “Will you be careful…? Roy warned softly.
Johnny shot a cocky grin at his mother hen partner and pulled on his safety line to get a little more slack… “You just hang onto me pally and I’ll be just fine…,” Johnny replied.
Johnny finally managed to open the rear door and crawled inside…Roy's heart pounded a little faster as the ropes squeaked ominously, the bumper groaned under the stress and the car teetered a moment before coming to rest.
“Hurry partner…I don’t know how long this is gonna hold…”
“I’m workin on it…,” Johnny called back… He reached over the front seat to check for a pulse. “She’s alive…,” he hollered out. “Ma’am…Ma’am…?” Johnny called loudly. “Can you hear me?”
She groaned in pain. “Where are we…?” she mumbled and then a terrified scream ripped from her as she realized she was hanging in the middle of empty air. In a panic, she tried to open the door. The car rocked dangerously.
Johnny grabbed her shoulder’s pinning her back against the seat as the vehicle shifted. “Please ma’am… Please don’t move…”
Roy was yelling from outside… “Johnny, stop movin… Are you okay…?”
The tree stump broke and the car dropped abruptly, now held solely by the ropes and a damaged bumper. Johnny and the woman both froze.
“John, get out NOW…,” Cap yelled.
“It’s okay Cap …I got her settled down…,” he called back.
“Ma’am what’s your name…?” He asked softly.
“Okay Andrea…I’m John Gage and I’m a fireman. I’m gonna get you outta here but ya need to stay really still okay…?”
“Okay…,” she breathed softly...still shaking.
“Are ya hurt anywhere…?”
“Just my head…I bumped it on the steering wheel.”
Johnny carefully leaned over the seat to check her over. “Roy…,” he called to his partner. “She doesn’t appear to have any broken bones anywhere that I can reach anyway. I’m gonna try to bring her over the seat and out through the back…”
“No other way…?” Roy called back.
“Not that I can see.”
“Okay…Just move real careful.” Johnny leaned over and unbuckled the seatbelt, disregarding the slow rocking of the vehicle.
The ropes creaked again, the bumper buckled and Roy broke a cold sweat as he held onto the vehicle tightly, knowing if the bumper let go he’d never be able to hold it…not even with the crews help. “Johnny, please hurry…”
John grinned at the tone of Roy’s voice…He knew his partner was worried about him. “Okay Andrea, I want you to very slowly slide to the center of the seat alright?” She nodded moving carefully. “Okay now…I just want you to push up with your legs okay and I’m gonna ease you into the back seat?” She nodded and working together, they managed to ease her over the seat. The ropes creaked again.
She slid to the doorway and Roy reached to take her hand and pull her clear…leading her away from the car to safety. Johnny was halfway out when one side of the bumper broke free …He froze. “Get out now John…,” Cap yelled as he, Marco and Chet tried desperately to hang on. Roy whirled…his blue eyes widening in fear for John’s safety.
John jumped, landing hard on his stomach. His breath left his body with a sudden whoof. The bumper broke loose, the car tore free from their grasp and tumbled away.
Johnny lay gasping, trying to draw air past his bruised ribcage. As much as Roy wanted to go to John he knew his priority was to the victim but he sighed in relief as Chet ran to his side instead. “You okay Johnny?” The Irishman asked anxiously.
“Yeah…,” he wheezed out. “Just knocked the wind outta me is all.”
“Chet…?” Roy yelled over.
“Keep him down for a minute, I’ll be right there.”
Roy and Marco got Andrea on a gurney and then contacted Rampart. “Rampart base, this is squad 51…How do you read…?”
“Go ahead 51…,” Mike Morton’s voice came back.
“Rampart we have a twenty three year old female involved in a vehicle accident. She has a small bump on the head and she lost consciousness for about twenty minutes. Her BP is 120/80, pulse is 60 and respirations are 18. Pupils are equal and reactive.”
“10-4 51…Start an IV D5WTKO and transport as soon as possible.”
“10-4 Rampart…Rampart, we have a possible code I on a second victim…Please stand by…”
“Standing by 51…”
Roy ran to John who was finally getting his breathing under control. “Are you alright…?”
“M okay…,” he panted. “Jus winded me…,” he mumbled.
“Just lay still til I check you out…”
“I’m fine Roy really…,” he said trying to sit up.
“Down…,” Roy said firmly as he laid his hand on his partner’s forehead and pressed him back. He ran his hands over John’s ribs…noting John's wince but breathing a sigh of relief that nothing shifted beneath his fingers. “Rampart…squad 51…”
“Second patient appears to have sustained only minor bruising across the rib cage.”
“51…is this Gage we’re discussing.”
“Bring him in…I’ll take a look at him here…,” he said with a sigh of disgust.
John groaned and rolled his eyes… "Why’d it have to be Morton…,” he moaned as he struggled to his feet with the help of Roy and Chet.
Roy grinned, giving John a gentle pat on the side of his dark head. “Go with the ambulance junior, I’ll bring in the squad.”
“Okay…,” he grumbled, climbing into the back of the ambulance with Andrea. He checked her vitals once more. They made light conversation on the way in but Johnny was too preoccupied with the pain in his ribs to notice the flirtatious attitude of the young woman. She reached out to take his hand as they were backing into the ambulance bay.
The paramedic looked at her in surprise. “I just wanted to thank you John…,” she said. “You can call me if you like…?”
John grinned at the pretty girl… “Just doin my job…you just get better so all of that wasn’t wasted…”
“Okay…but what station do you work out of…?”
“51…,” he grinned squeezing her hand as the doors opened.
“51...That might just be my lucky number…”
He followed the gurney into the treatment room and helped them make the transfer. He gave the girl a slight wave as he turned to leave coming face to face with Mike Morton. “Wait for me in two Gage…”
“I’m fine Doc…”
Johnny heaved a sigh… “Fine…’” he muttered.
Morton checked John’s ribs and then ordered the X-Ray technician Malcolm, to get a shot of his chest as he turned and left the room.
“He’s bein a jerk Roy…I don’t need an X-Ray…I didn’t break anything.”
“He’s bein cautious.”
John snorted… “Cautious…He’s punishing me for not being careful…”
Roy chuckled… “Well if he is, be glad all he’s doing is ordering an X-Ray.” Johnny looked at him in confusion… “He coulda just given you a spanking…,” the older man teased.
“Oh…real cute Roy…”
“You didn’t get mad when Early ordered an X-Ray the day you slipped on the tower…,” Roy pointed out.
“That’s different…They really hurt that time and I did land on em pretty hard.” Roy nodded as the door opened and Morton stepped back in halting further conversation.
He snapped the film into the light panel before he tossed a glance at the young fire fighter. “What were you thinkin climbing into a car that was teetering on the edge of a cliff…?” He asked testily.
“I think I was doin my job…,” Johnny snapped back. “The girl was trapped, she couldn’t get out any other way.”
“You couldn’t pull the car back or something…maybe tie it down…?” He suggested sarcastically.
“We did that…the bumper broke…”
Roy stepped in… “The car’s undercarriage was hung up on a tree stump. It couldn’t go backward and forward was out of the question.”
“It just seems that you could have found a safer way…”
“I suppose we coulda just let it fall and pulled the body out after…,” Johnny said flippantly.
“Look Gage…,” the young Doctor began…
“No you look… I don’t tell you how to be a Doctor…Don’t tell me how to handle a rescue…I’ve been doin it pretty well for some time …” Johnny was really angry…first Roy and now here was another person questioning his judgment. John jumped off the table and snatched up his shirt. “Can I go…?” He snapped.
“Yes you can GO…but try and be more careful…,” Mike threw back.
“Careful is not always a part of my job description…,” John ground out. “You comin…?” He growled at Roy.
The older paramedic shot an annoyed frown at Morton and followed his partner out.
“I think we should bring Doctor Morton on a ride along…,” Roy said thoughtfully.
There was no answer so he glanced over at his partner. Words weren’t necessary…the stunned look he was getting was loud and clear, but the words finally followed. “I’m sorry Roy…,” Johnny said sadly.
“I guess I finally drove you CRAZY…,” Johnny practically barked the last word… “Have you lost your mind?”
Roy chuckled at his partner’s outburst… “I think it would be good for him to find out that the nicely organized disasters that people see on TV shows aren’t what we walk into everyday…Ours are real…They’re unpredictable and sometimes we have to make quick judgments and implement them just as quickly and hope we’re right.”
“Well yeah… I…I suppose…but a whole day with Morton…? Geez…and you think I lack good Judgment…”
“Don’t start that again…”
They pulled into the market parking lot. “You ready to pick up lunch…?” Roy asked.
“You ready to eat your words…?” Johnny teased.
They entered the market and Johnny spotted Julie within seconds at a register about halfway up the row and led Roy in her direction. She glanced up a moment later as they approached, her hazel eyes flaring in concern. She glanced at her watch and managed to compose herself. She gave John a broad smile and waved him over.
Julie glanced at Roy and then squinted, as if trying to place where she’d seen him before but shrugged vaguely and turned her attention to the handsome younger man at his side. “Hi Johnny…,” she bubbled, leaning over to kiss the dark haired paramedic.
“Hey Julie…, I just wanted you to meet my partner Roy…”
She smiled sweetly…glancing once again at her watch… “So you’re Roy huh…?”
“Yeah…It would seem so,” he agreed, something about the girl rubbed Roy the wrong way…she wasn’t quite…natural.
“I’ve heard all about you…”
“Have I met you before…?” She asked, sensing the cautious undertones of Roy’s voice.
“Yeah…A few years ago you babysat for some friends of mine…Beth and Jeff Doyle.”
Her eyes narrowed slightly. “The neighbor…You were with them that night…,” she stated rather than asked.
“And now the disapproving best friend huh Roy…?” She asked snidely guessing his dislike from the frown he wore. She glanced again at her watch. “Well Johnny…maybe you should come back a little later…When you’re alone.”
“Now settle down, both of you…,” Johnny soothed.
“No really Johnny…I think you should go…”
“What’s the rush…?” Johnny asked, frowning in confusion. What was her problem anyway…? “We have to get groceries for lunch.”
“Now’s not a good…,” She hesitated as she glanced toward the door and the two young men who’d just come in. Worry and then excitement flared in her eyes as she looked back at Johnny and Roy.
Roy was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Julie’s mannerisms. He reached out to touch Johnny’s arm, getting the younger man’s attention… “C’mon junior, let’s go. We need to get our stuff and get back.”
“Yeah okay…,” Johnny said, confused by Julies attitude. Roy hadn’t been rude or unpleasant…a little cool maybe but John didn’t understand her rush to get them out the door.
A scream from behind them brought Roy and Johnny spinning around in concern…The two men who had just entered were holding guns and were pointing them at the customers and staff.
One was a young, sandy brown haired youth with freckles sprinkled across his nose… he yelled out… “Okay this is a robbery, just do what we say and nobody gets hurt.”
Several people huddled together in fear, cringing away from the two men. Several snuck out the rear doors unnoticed.
The other…a taller, slightly older man with shoulder length blonde hair, waved his gun… “Okay…I’m just gonna walk down the row and you ladies are gonna put the cash right in here…,” he said holding up a white canvas sack.
They started down the line…The ladies running the registers complied…nervously stuffing the bills from their registers into the bag. As they approached Johnny, Roy and Julie, she opened the drawer and pulled out the cash. Roy glanced at the girl, slightly surprised by her calm demeanor.
As they moved to the next register, the customer…A large man in his thirties decided to take matters into his own hands. He grabbed the gun hand of the blonde, pushing him back into his freckle faced friend. They wrestled for possession of the weapon causing the gun to swing from person to person. The gun swung towards Julie and seeing her in danger, Johnny quickly moved forward to push the girl out of the line of fire as freckle face recovered and stepped back into the fray. He hit the large man over the head with his own gun and his hand tightened reflexively over the blonde’s.
A loud bang reverberated through the building sending the people into a panic. Screams filled the air as the people reacted to the gunshot. A few stood frozen in place while the majority ran for the door and the safety of the parking lot.
Johnny heard the loud bang and felt something thud into his shoulder just below the collarbone. He raised his hand to touch the spot absently. A burning sensation began to spread.
The brown haired man fired his gun halting the fleeing people in their tracks…Those who were still inside glanced at each other nervously.
Roy looked at his partner who was looking down at the sticky, warmth on his hand. Johnny raised his head…dark, pain filled eyes gazed at Roy with a look of shocked bewilderment on his face. “R…Roy…,” he stammered.
Johnny’s eyes rolled up and his knees buckled, he went down…The side of his head cracked against the checkout counter with a dull thwack…
“Johnny…,” Roy gasped as he started around the counter to his fallen partner but the blonde pointed his gun at him.
“Stop right there…,” he yelled. If that command hadn’t been enough to halt Roy in his tracks, the feminine voice from behind him was. “Damn it Timmy…No one was supposed to get hurt,” she snapped as the freckle faced youth moved to round up the remaining hostages.
“You’re in on this…?” Roy snarled at her in shock.
“It was only supposed to be a robbery…Johnny wasn’t supposed to be here.”
“Yeah…Well he was and now he’s been shot.” Roy looked at the blonde she’d called Timmy. “I need to help my partner, so unless you plan on killing me…move outta my way,” Roy snapped as he moved slowly around the counter.
Timmy started to stop him but Julie waved him off.
Roy knelt next to his friend. “Johnny…Johnny, can you hear me…?” Julie squatted down to get a better look. “Get away from him…,” Roy snarled. “You’ve done enough already. You’ve got your money…just go.” She backed away in anger.
“He’s right, let’s get outta here…,” Tim said as he headed for the door. Julie hesitated…she was angry with Roy and even more with Tim for shooting Johnny. She’d really liked John and this wasn’t supposed to happen. She’d even thought of calling it off…but Tim and Pete had already made their plans. If things had gone smoothly she would have told them she was done but now…Here he was bleeding on the floor and his best friend shooting dagger looks at her…As if she were garbage.
“Yeah let’s go…” She made as if to follow but stopped at a yell from the other boy.
“Man…Look…,” he yelled, pointing out the huge windows.
Half a dozen Police cars were pulling into the parking lot.
“How’d they get here so fast…,” Tim gasped.
“What are we gonna do…?” The other yelled.
“Calm down…,” Julie said… “We need to think…” She glanced around at the people still held at gunpoint and smiled. Tim picked up on her train of thought and grinned back.
“We’ve got our insurance policy right here…,” he said with a smirk.
Roy’s heart sank. Johnny was hurt bad…He had to get him to a hospital.
Julie backed away…A look of anger crossed her features as Roy shot a look of pure venom in her direction. How could Johnny have been so taken in by this girl…Roy had to admit, she looked sweet and innocent but beneath that she was still the same selfish, dishonest girl she’d been five years ago.
Roy cut John’s shirt away to look at the wound…It was bleeding profusely…He grabbed a roll of paper towels from under Julie’s counter and tore off a handful…Pressing a wad of them to the wound on John’s shoulder…applying pressure to try and stop the bleeding.
He carefully rolled Johnny onto his side to check for an exit wound but there wasn’t one. Roy checked the side of Johnny’s head, locating a good size lump and a small laceration to his cheek.
He heard Tim’s words and his heart sank. Johnny needed help right now and the equipment was in the squad and it didn’t appear that they were going anywhere.
“Look…He’s bleeding really bad…” Roy glanced out the windows at the police who were spreading out to cover the doors. “Can you at least let me get my partner outta here…I’ll stay.”
“Not a chance…,” Pete snarled. “You two are more valuable than all the rest.”
Roy thought about arguing and then realized it was better that they think that the civilians weren’t more valuable. They might even let them go. The problem was still getting Johnny to a hospital. Roy was concerned about the location of the bullet. The thoracic artery ran through this area and from the amount of blood, Roy was afraid it may have been nicked. Johnny was bleeding profusely. “Listen to me…I think you hit an artery…He could bleed to death…Do you understand…That’s a murder wrap and no hostage…”
“You’re a paramedic…,” Julie piped in.
“So fix it…”
“I’m not a Doctor,” Roy snapped. “And my equipment is out there…” He pointed to the squad. “I can’t even talk to a Doctor…”
Tim and Pete moved off to talk privately…Roy could hear them arguing but couldn’t hear all of it. He made out the words… Murder and doctor…
They came back a few moments later. “We’re gonna move you all to that little office area over there…,” Tim said pointing to a small area sectioned off for the manager. “So we don’t have to worry about hero here,” he said indicating the man who’d jumped them. “Then we’ll ah…let you talk to a Doctor.”
“Why don’t you just let him go…,” He argued. “Then he’s off your hands.”
The two men exchanged a glance but Julie stepped in. “No…We keep him,” she said shooting a glare at Roy.
The blonde paramedic shot an ugly look at the girl who could very well kill his partner. “I thought you liked John…?” He snapped.
“I do…but I don’t like you…”
“So you’ll let him die…,” He snapped.
Julie didn’t believe for a minute that he was hurt as bad as Roy made out…He was trying to trick them, besides she didn’t want to give Johnny up. “The offer of a doctor is all you’re gonna get…Take it or leave it…,” she smirked.
He sighed…At least he could get Brackett on the line…Find out what he should do… “Okay…,” he agreed. “It’s a start.” Roy wished he had Johnny’s negotiating skills, remembering the time he’d talked two bank robbers into letting their hostages, including themselves’…go.
He looked at the large man who’d been hit on the head. “You okay…?” He asked.
“Yeah…,” the man growled in disgust. “I guess that was really stupid. I’m really sorry about your friend.”
“Yeah…me too…What’s your name…?”
“Okay Jerry… Can you help me move him…?”
“Yeah sure,” he said getting slowly to his feet.
Roy carefully laid Johnny’s arms across his stomach and then gently raised him to a sitting position.
John groaned in pain, his head lolled back onto Roy’s chest as he and Jerry carefully lifted him and carried him to the manager’s office. The area was small and it would be an extremely tight squeeze with all seven people they were herding inside. A young couple, an elderly woman, and an attractive, middle aged lady joined them. Each of them finding a spot and sliding down the wall…terror reflected in their eyes.
“Keep an eye on them Julie…,” Tim directed as he and Pete moved off to the front.
Roy and Jerry set Johnny down carefully, propping his back and shoulders against the wall. Roy was right… it was a tight fit. “Isn’t there somewhere else we can move him to? Somewhere we can lay him down…? An office…?” He asked Julie, trying to control the anger in his tone.
She shook her head… “It’s upstairs and we don’t want you out of our sight.”
“Can I call a Doctor…?” He snapped giving up all pretense of courtesy.
She handed him the phone… “I’ll be listening to every word…”
Roy turned to Jerry…”Put your hand right here…,” he directed as he pressed the man’s hand down over the wad of paper towels and then picked up the phone.
“Rampart Emergency…,” The voice of Dixie McCall answered.
“Dix…It’s Roy DeSoto…Is Dr. Brackett or Dr. Early available?”
She glanced around, spotting Kel coming out of one of the treatment rooms…She waved him over as she was talking. “Kel’s here, hold on Roy…Kel…, Roy DeSoto’s on the phone.”
Brackett picked up the phone… “This is Dr. Brackett…What have you got Roy…?”
“What’s wrong with Johnny, Roy…?”
The question brought Dixie’s head up in a hurry. She moved to his side, concern clearly written on her face.
“Doc, he’s been shot…”
“What happened Roy and where’s the wound?”
“Uh…we got caught in the middle of a robbery…Johnny took a bullet in the right shoulder. It’s just below the clavicle, near the thoracic artery.”
“Roy…Is there an exit wound…?”
“No Doc…the bullets still in there. He’s also got a good sized lump on the side of his head and laceration just above the cheek bone. He hit it on the counter when he passed out. He’s unconscious but he is responsive to pain. His pulse is 80, Respiration is 16…BP is 100 systolic by palpation. He’s diaphoretic.”
“Can you start an IV…?”
“Negative, our equipment is in the squad and we’re still being held inside. Also Doc…I’m applying pressure to the wound but it’s still bleeding…”
“Any chance of them letting you take him out of there…?” Kel asked worriedly.
“No…I’ve already asked.”
“Okay Roy…He’s going to be hurting when he wakes up so let’s start by keeping him as warm and quiet as possible. Blood loss and shock is going to be our main concern.”
“I’m going to contact the police…maybe they can negotiate with them to either let Johnny go or let the equipment in. I’m comin down there…Things could get really bad.”
“Okay... and thanks Doc. Uh…Doc…? Could you call Cap…?”
“I’ll do that…”
Kel picked up the phone and called the police. He spoke to several people before finally being patched through to a Detective. “This is Dr. Kelly Brackett, Rampart Emergency.”
“This is Detective Don Kelsey…What can I do for you Doctor…?”
“I understand you have a hostage situation at the market on Hale…?”
“Can I ask how you know about that Doctor…?” Kelsey asked.
“I’ve been in contact with one of the hostages. He’s a paramedic named Roy DeSoto…his partner’s name is John Gage…”
The Detective sighed. “Yes we’ve already checked out the squad. Several other people said they thought there were a couple of men in uniform still inside.”
“Yes…well I’m afraid it’s worse than that…”
“How’s that Doctor…?”
“Gage has been shot…”
“Oh God…,” Kelsey groaned.
“Apparently the suspects let DeSoto call in to find out what to do. They’ve refused to let him go but I thought if possible you could at least get their equipment in to them so DeSoto can at least treat him.”
“I’ll pass that on…Is there anything else you can tell me…?”
“I’m afraid not. I’m on my way down there…Johnny’s going to need medical attention and soon if his partner is correct.”
“What is it…?”
“He’s concerned that an artery has been hit. If that’s the case…Gage could bleed to death before you can get him out…”
“We’ll do our best to get your equipment inside…and I’ll be sure to let them know you’re coming so they’ll let you through.”
The next call was much more difficult.
“Station 51…Captain Stanley speaking…”
“Hank…This is Kelly Brackett from Rampart…”
“Hey Doc…The boys aren’t here right now…Is there something I can help you with…”
“I know they’re not there, that’s why I’m calling. I just spoke to Roy…”
“He asked me to call you… Hank I’m afraid there’s just no easy way to tell you…”
Hank’s heart sank into his stomach with the words. “Tell me what?” He asked warily.
“Gage and DeSoto have been caught in a robbery at the market…”
“WHAT…?” Hank roared. His yell brought Mike, Marco and Chet from the Rec Room to find out what had upset their Captain. Hank ignored them while Kel continued. “Are they okay…?”
“Roy is Hank…” Stanley’s stomach rolled. “But I’m afraid Johnny’s been shot…”
“How bad…?” He asked softly, praying it wasn’t even worse news.
“Pretty bad according to Roy…He’s bleeding heavily and Roy’s afraid an artery may have been hit…”
“Oh my God…” The crew exchanged nervous looks. Whatever Cap had just been told was really bad. They prayed it wasn’t John and Roy since both men were missing.
“I’m on my way down there Hank…”
“So am I…I’ll call HQ and let them know…I’ll have to tell my crew…I’ll meet you there.”
Cap hung up the phone and glanced up at the group of worried faces surrounding him.
“What is it Cap…,” Mike asked worriedly.
“John and Roy stopped at the market to pick up groceries for lunch…”
“Yeah…?” Chet said, his tone pleading with his Captain to continue.
They were caught in a robbery and they’re being held hostage…”
“Are they alright Cap…?” Marco asked in concern…
“Guy’s…,” he said looking from face to face… “Johnny’s been shot…”
“What…?” They yelled almost simultaneously. Cap nodded.
“Is he uh….alive…?” Chet asked softly.
“Yeah Chet… he’s alive…but Roy told the Doctor it was a bad wound…An artery may have been hit…”
“Oh my God…,” Mike whispered. They looked at the other’s, each seeing their own fear reflected in their crew mates eyes.
“Get ready to go…I’ve gotta call the Chief and then we’re heading down there.”
There was no argument…they filed quietly out, each holding their own fears for Johnny close to them.
Roy hung up the phone, looking up at Julie. “Is there any way you can get me the equipment off that squad?”
“You think I’m goin out there…?”
“Look…They think you’re a hostage, they’ll let you out…”
“They may not let me back in…”
Roy grabbed her wrist… “Listen to me…Johnny is going to die if I don’t get that equipment…He might anyway…If you care about him at all…You help me find a way…Get your friends to let him go.”
She jerked her wrist free shooting him a glare… “Look Mister…you’ve been lookin at me like I’m dirt since you got here and now you think I’m gonna just walk into the hands of the cops…? Besides you’re John’s best friend…you’d say anything to get him outta here wouldn’t you…?” She taunted. “I think you’re lying about how badly he’s hurt…besides, I like Johnny right where he is…”
“He’ll die…,” Roy shouted in frustration…
“Oh you won’t let him die, will you Roy…,” she said with a smirk. “I’d be really upset if you let him die…,” she said threateningly.
“Do you think I…”
John’s painful groan stopped the argument. Roy spun around and dropped to one knee next to his partner. John’s head moved restlessly from side to side as he fought to regain consciousness.
John’s eyes flickered as pain assailed his brain… the painful burning sensation in his shoulder overriding the pounding in his head from what was undoubtedly a moderate concussion at the very least. “Roy…?” He murmured as he struggled to sit up away from the wall.
Roy was suddenly there…One hand gripped Johnny’s good shoulder while the other cupped the side of his partners face, easing him back against the wall. “Okay junior…You just lay back and stay real still okay…?” He said softly.
“H…hurts…Roy,” he said with hitched breaths’.
“I know junior…,” the older man said soothingly as his hand smoothed the sable hair from his friends sweat coated face. “Just hang on, they’re working on getting us out…” Johnny raised a shaking hand to feel the lump on his head but Roy intercepted it, taking the slender fingers in his own. “Don’t touch okay….? Just hold on Johnny…stay with me.” Remembering Brackett’s instructions to keep him warm, Roy sat down close to his partner. John leaned against him… the action automatic. His head tilted to rest on Roy’s shoulder. All the older man had to give him was the warmth of his body and the comfort of his presence. John’s eyes drifted closed.
Once Johnny had relaxed, Roy eased himself out from under his partner’s head. He checked the wound, peeling the paper towels away carefully. A search behind the counter yielded one of the aprons worn by the checkout clerks. Roy used part of it to form a new pad. He tore the remainder of it into strips. He pressed the pad to Johnny’s shoulder. The younger man jerked in reaction…His body arcing up away from the wall and a cry of pain that slipped from his lips.
Roy gently pressed him back. “Shhh…,” he soothed quietly. “I’m here partner…I’m sorry I hurt you…Just take it easy and lay back…,” he said softly.
“How’s it look…?” Johnny whispered weakly…his voice barely audible. “Still Bleeding…?”
“Yeah...,” Roy answered as he used pieces of the apron to immobilize John’s arm. “Try and get some sleep Junior…,” Roy said as his fingers lightly brushed John’s forehead. The dark eyes drifted closed.
The phone rang, startling the hostages as well as their captors. Tim moved to the counter gesturing to Roy… “You answer it…,” he demanded nervously. Roy did as he was told.
“Fireman Roy DeSoto…”
“Mr. DeSoto…This is Lt. Rieker, LAPD.”
“Who is it…?” Tim asked.
“The police…,” Roy answered. “You want to talk to em…?”
Tim and Pete exchanged a look and then glanced at Julie. “Well…?” Pete asked anxiously.
“Okay Tim…It should be you,” she said nodding toward the phone.
“What do I say…?”
“I don’t know…I haven’t had time to think that far ahead. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Tell em we want a car or something…”
Tim nodded and picked up the phone. “Yeah…What do you want…,” he growled, trying to sound tough instead of scared. Roy would rather have had tough…Scared people did stupid things.
“This is Lt. Rieker…LAPD…We want you to let the people you’re holding go…”
“Not a chance…We want a car to get outta here in.”
“We’ll talk about that but you gotta give us something…”
“We’re told you have a wounded man inside…One of the paramedics that was in the store. Can you at least let him go as a show of good faith…?”
Tim cupped his hand over the receiver to talk to Julie. “They want your boyfriend over there.” Julie shook her head stubbornly… “I think it might be a good idea,” Tim suggested, shooting a look at the wounded paramedic.
“He stays…,” she said angrily, glaring at Roy…
His eyes narrowed as he stared back. “Why…?” Roy asked. “If you care about him at all…let him go.”
“I don’t like your attitude Roy and it’ll drive you crazy for me to keep him here.” She giggled… “Maybe I’ll even take him with me as a hostage when we leave,” She said spitefully.
“You’ll let him die…?” She remained stubbornly silent.
Tim spoke to the officer. “Nope…can’t do it…I’ll give you one of the women instead.”
Rieker glanced at Kel and Captain Stanley, giving them a negative shake of the head. Brackett and Hank both looked disappointed.
“Look, we’re told that the fireman is hurt pretty bad. His partner is trained to help him. Will you let us bring his equipment to the door for him?”
Tim glanced at the other two… “They want to send their equipment in.” Roy gave Pete a hopeful look.
Pete looked at Johnny who was pale and breathing heavily in pain. Sweat beaded his brow and upper lip. A low moan escaped his lips. “I think he’s hurt pretty bad.” The brown haired man said.
“It’s just a shoulder wound…,” Julie insisted.
“No…,” Roy interjected. “The thoracic artery runs right through here…,” Roy said pointing at the wounded area. “I think the bullet may have nicked it. If it did…he could easily bleed to death…Please…,”Roy was practically begging.
“He’s lying…,” Julie insisted. “He’d say anything to get Johnny outta here…We need them both…They won’t risk two of their own…They’ll give us what we want if we have them.”
Tim bit his lower lip in indecision…From the looks of the wounded man…He believed the paramedic was telling the truth but he wouldn’t cross Julie. He picked up the phone and made a decision. “Okay…bring the equipment to the door. I’ll send the fireman out to get it. There’ll be a gun pointed at his head the whole time. If anything happens either when you drop it off or when he picks it up…He’s a dead man…got it?”
“Yeah we got it…What about the woman?”
“I’ll let one go…In good faith…,” he agreed.
Roy sat beside Johnny…He brushed the dark sweat dampened hair from his forehead and gently wiped the sweat from his face. The dark eyes cracked open, trying to focus on the face that swam within his vision. “R…Roy…,” the younger man panted.
“I’m here junior…just take it easy. We’re tryin to get some equipment so I can treat that wound…”
“Hurts bad Roy…,” he whispered weakly.
“I know…just try and rest okay…?” Roy replied, sweeping the sable hair away from his young friend’s face.
John nodded…His head swam dizzily at the motion…nausea quickly welled and his stomach lurched. Afraid of being sick, Johnny tried to turn away but the movement brought a cry of pain from his lips as his shoulder screamed in agony. His back arced instinctively as he tried to escape the pain.
Roy quickly wrapped his arms around his partner pinning the younger man against him to stop him from struggling and re-opening the wound. “Shhh…It’s okay…you’ve got to be still Johnny... I’m here…,” he murmured, trying to calm his friend. John was gasping but finally began to relax against Roy’s chest. The older man leaned him back against the wall. “I need you to stay quiet…you’ll start to bleed again.”
Sweat trickled down Johnny’s cheek. Roy picked up the cloth and once again wiped his face while the younger man panted for air. Pain etched into his features.
The other hostages exchanged worried glances, afraid this young man was going to die before their eyes.
Pete glanced at his two friends… “He ain’t lyin…,” he whispered to Tim and Julie. “I think he’s hurt bad.”
“If we give him up now, they’ll never believe we’d kill a hostage…,” Tim argued hotly.
“Why don’t we just wait…Let his partner help him,” Julie suggested.
The dizziness and nausea began to ease and the pain in his shoulder once again receded into a dull burning throb. Roy allowed John’s head to rest against his shoulder, smoothing his brow. “Better Junior?”
“Yeah…,” he whispered.
“Don’t move okay…” Roy lifted the blood soaked pad. “Damn it…,” he muttered, his fears realized…Johnny was bleeding again. He glanced up into the worried eyes of the younger hold up man. “He’s bleeding bad…”
The young man nodded as Tim moved to join him, waving the blonde paramedic to his feet. Roy eased Johnny upright and stood up. “Okay Mister, go get your stuff…It’s outside the door and don’t try anything or your friend ain’t gonna need it.” Roy glanced back to see that Pete had his gun pressed to Johnny’s head.
“Be careful with that thing would ya…?” Roy said quietly, his worried blue eyes belying the calmness of his voice.
Tim gestured the elderly cashier to her feet...She looked at Roy fearfully. “It’s okay ma’am, they’re gonna let you go…,” he assured her as he took her hand to help her up. He glanced around at the frightened faces of the other hostages… “Don’t worry…They’ll get us out,” he reassured them. He turned to the big man on the other side of John. “Jerry…can you keep an eye on my partner? Try to keep him quiet.”
“Okay…,” he agreed as Roy knelt next to Johnny once more.
“Try to keep pressure on this…,” he instructed as he placed a new pad over the wound. Johnny groaned, tossing his head restlessly. “Easy Johnny…,” Roy soothed.
“I’ll watch him…,” Julie volunteered with a snide grin.
“You just stay away from him…,” Roy snarled angrily. He took the older lady’s hand and moved her toward the door. He cast one last worried glance at his friend. He hated leaving him alone with these people even for a moment but he had no choice.
Roy stepped out the door, assisting the lady. He spotted the equipment piled there immediately. An unarmed officer took the woman’s arm, murmuring quietly. “How many are there…?”
“Three…two men and a woman…six hostages, including me,” he whispered back.
Roy glanced across the parking lot, spotting the engine and its crew standing with Dr. Brackett and Dixie. Roy nodded subtly in their direction. He began to gather the drug box and other items. “The hostages are being kept in the customer service area.”
“Thanks..,” he muttered, leading the woman away. “And uh…good luck… I hope your partner makes it…”
“Me too…,” Roy whispered quietly to himself.
Roy carried the equipment back into the market in two trips. He returned the second time to find Tim pawing through the trauma box. He picked up the handy talkie… “What’s this…?”
“It’s a radio…So I can talk to the Doctor directly.”
“Look…I’m only a paramedic…I can’t do anything for my partner without a Doctor’s direction. If I can’t talk to him John is going to die…, Do you understand?”
“Can we hear what he says…?”
“Alright then…What about this…?” He asked holding up a package labeled ‘SURGICAL KIT.’
Roy’s face paled slightly. “The Doctor may need that to work on my partner the minute we’re free,” he bluffed. Roy didn’t know for sure why it was there and he wasn’t sure he wanted to but he didn’t want them messing around with it either. “Be careful, it’s sterile…,” he cautioned.
Tim squeezed it…There didn’t appear to be anything in it to worry about. “What about those…?” He asked pointing at the rest. “The white one is a Cardiac Monitor and defibrillator in case John arrests…,” He said hoping to scare the younger man. It worked…Tim’s face turned white at the thought. Roy pointed at the last items. “Drug Box and oxygen…,” he said taking note of the second smaller bottle affixed to the rolling canister. It was labeled… ‘Isoflurane.’ Dear God…What were they planning? He wondered.
Tim nodded… “Okay looks good, go on,” he said with jerk of his head.
Roy closed the box and picked up the equipment while Tim dragged the oxygen behind him. The blonde paramedic stepped through the door, stopping short when he saw Julie sitting next to his semi conscious partner. Jerry shrugged helplessly.
Julie shot him a taunting grin… “You think I’m trash don’t you…You think I’m not good enough for Johnny don’t you…I could see it in your face the minute he introduced us. Then finding out you were friends with the Doyle’s. You were gonna warn Johnny off weren’t ya?”
“I already had…he wouldn’t listen.”
“You never even gave me a chance…”
“Should I have…?” Roy snarled… “I mean, nothing’s changed…not even your friends…,” he pointed out snidely.
“But you didn’t know that when you first came in here, and you still didn’t think I was fit to be with your friend…,” she challenged sarcastically.
Roy moved closer and set the equipment down before he answered her. “You’re not fit to breathe the same air…,” he said softly. “Johnny saves lives, he cares about people. You’d let him die to get even with me…What does that say for you? Now could you move so I can take care of him?”
Julie glared at Roy angrily, while he stared defiantly back. The other four hostages shifted nervously at the obvious hostility between these two. Johnny groaned softly pulling Roy’s attention away from the girl. He shifted restlessly. “R…Roy…?” He murmured.
“It’s okay Johnny…I’m here…,” he called softly. Julie's eyes glittered and she smiled wickedly before she leaned over and passionately kissed John’s lips, holding his head steady as he tried to turn his face away. She pulled away and stood up, smirking at Roy as he knelt down next to his partner.
The smile vanished as Roy very deliberately reached out and wiped John’s mouth off with his hand, the insult obvious. Julie spun on her heel and stalked off.
Roy pulled out the handy talkie… “Engine 51…HT 51 do you read?”
“Go ahead 51…,” came Cap’s voice.
“Is Dr. Brackett available?”
“He’s standing by HT 51, hold on…”
Julie and Pete returned to the counter area to listen. She in anger and Pete in curiosity…
Roy brushed John’s hair from his forehead while he waited. “Johnny can you hear me…? Wake up for me junior…C’mon Johnny, open your eyes.”
The dark eyes cracked open…vague and unfocused, “Roy…,” he murmured weakly as the eyes slid closed once more. Roy pulled out the BP cuff as the radio crackled.
“Roy this is Dr. Brackett.”
“Doc…I’m workin on a new set of vitals…,” he set the radio aside and pumped up the cuff…that taken care of he laid his hand on John’s stomach… counting respirations. He checked his pulse and his eyes. “Okay Doc…here we go. Pulse is 50, respiration 12 and labored. BP is 90/60. He’s diaphoretic and drifting in and out of consciousness. His pupils are equal and reactive. He’s experienced dizziness and nausea, most likely from the head wound. The gunshot wound is still bleeding though it’s slowed somewhat. He’s exhibiting signs of shock but he is responding to verbal commands when conscious but seems disoriented. He’s in a lot of pain Doc…”
“Roy start an IV…Ringers Lactate. Start him on 6 liters of O2… Roy I’m afraid you’re right…that bullets possibly hit an artery…It’s got to come out…”
Johnny groaned miserably, opening his eyes. His head was pounding and he lifted his hand weakly to touch his head but cried out as his shoulder throbbed with pain. He shifted uncomfortably. “Uh…hold on Doc…he’s awake.” Roy gently pressed him back… “Stay still junior. I know it hurts but we’re gonna try and fix it okay junior?” Roy soothed the younger man, squeezing Johnny’s hand and gently wiping the sweat from his friends face. John relaxed back against the wall.
Julie’s eyes narrowed jealously as she watched Roy comfort his young partner. She had really liked Johnny and no one was supposed to know about her role in this whole thing. She’d thought she could have the money and the paramedic too but he’d never have her now…He was way too straight. The kiss had been a kiss goodbye, covered up as a taunt aimed at Roy. She just wished she'd met Johnny before Pete and Tim…Things might have been different. She envied the relationship between the two men that she’d never have with John now...at least not willingly. She tilted her head and a sly grin spread across her face…what about unwillingly?
Johnny’s eyes closed once more and Roy keyed the radio… “Okay Doc…he’s really hurtin, can I give him something?” He asked already knowing the answer.
“Roy I know this is killing you, but with that head injury…I’m uncomfortable giving anything when I can’t be right there…Is there any chance they’ll let Johnny go…? I’m very concerned about the bleeding.”
Roy glanced at Pete and Tim deliberately avoiding looking at Julie. The two young men exchanged a glance…Then looked to Julie, she shook her head stubbornly. “No…,” Tim said with a sigh. He’d prefer to let the paramedic go but didn’t want to upset Julie.
“No go Doc,” Roy said angrily.
“How about letting me and Dixie come in there?”
Pete moved to his friend’s side. “The Doctor wants to come in here with his nurse to check him out…What do you think?”
“We’re already in over our heads here with the ones we got. I don’t want another guy in here to have to watch…” Pete didn’t like this at all but he wouldn’t argue with Tim and Tim wouldn’t go against Julie.
“What if he dies…?”
“Julie says he’s lyin…”
“I don’t think so…” Tim looked worried. “Why don’t you talk to the cops again…? Maybe they’ll give us what we want now…maybe they’ll believe we mean it…”
“Yeah…,” he looked at Roy. “Tell that cop to get me a car…tell him to let us go and you all get out of here…”
“No…,” Julie snapped.
“What…?” Pete asked in confusion. “I thought that’s what we wanted?”
“Not yet…I want Johnny and he can’t be moved like this…But if they can stop the bleeding than we can use him as a hostage. He’s our bargaining chip.”
Roy’s heart sank at her words. “Don’t you understand…? The artery’s been hit…He’s lost a lot of blood…,” Roy growled.
“You don’t know that for sure besides they’ll move quicker if they want him alive. Tell them the nurse can come in…Maybe the two of you can stop the bleeding…”
Roy heaved a frustrated sigh…This girl was willing to flip a coin with Johnny’s life. He raised the radio to his lips. “Doc…They said no…They’ll let Dixie in alone but that’s out of the question.”
“You bet it is…,” Kel agreed. “But Roy…I included a surgical kit in the trauma box…”
“I saw it…Too bad you can’t use it…”
“No I can’t Roy…,” Kel hesitated. “But you can…”
Roy sat stunned. “Uh…Doc…I don’t understand.”
“I think you do. Roy that bullet has to come out or Johnny could bleed to death.”
“I’m not a surgeon…I can’t do this.”
“I’ll walk you through it…”
“Roy his blood pressure is dropping, he’s losing too much blood. You have to do this…”
“I could kill him…”
“Roy…he’s already dying…”
“Doc…Please don’t do this to me…”
“Roy…I trust you to do this. Your option is to watch your partner die…”
“Hang on Doc…Johnny’s awake…I want to talk to him.”
“I’ll stand by Roy…” Kel glanced at the others. He knew Roy was asking Johnny what he wanted to do after all his life would be in Roy’s hands.
Kel glanced at the stunned faces of Captain Stanley and his crew. “Kel…can’t this hold off…?” Hank asked. “You’re the one that’s always tellin them they’re not Doctor’s.”
“Hank…Johnny is slowly bleeding to death. We don’t know how long they’re gonna keep us all waiting out here. Johnny can’t wait…He’s getting weaker all the time. If we wait much longer we won’t be able to save him…” Chet, Mike and Marco exchanged nervous looks.
“If Roy does something wrong, he could sever that artery right?” Chet asked.
Dixie placed her hand on the Irishman’s shoulder reassuringly. “Roy won’t…
“You don’t know that,” Chet began, becoming agitated.
“Chet…,” Mike interrupted. “That’s Johnny in there…If Roy can save him, do you want to lose that chance…?”
“Roy won’t make a mistake…,” Marco said adamantly.
“Besides…I’ll be there to help him,” Dixie added.
Stunned silence followed for about five seconds and then exploded. “You’re not goin in there…,” Kel yelled.
Inside, Roy was agreeing with Chet. “Doc, I don’t know about this.” He was terrified. He reached over to brush the sweat dampened hair from Johnny’s face. His partner’s head turned toward him…His eyes cracked open. “Hang on Doc…He’s awake…I want to talk to him.”
“I’ll stand by Roy…”
“Hey partner…” Roy smiled reassuringly.
“Roy…Wha…t’s happening…?” Johnny whispered.
“We’re still being held partner…,” Roy said wiping the sweat from Johnny’s face. John’s eyes drifted aimlessly around the area. He glanced at the other four hostages… Jerry…The middle aged lady…Mary and the young couple…Bill and Becky, before moving on to rest on Julie and Pete. His dark eyes flicked back to Julie and a small frown crossed his features. Why was she out there with the kidnappers.
“What’s wrong Johnny?” Roy asked seeing the confusion in his eyes. The older man followed the look…He sighed. “She’s in on it junior…”
John’s eyes tracked back to Roy and his face fell in disappointment and the dark eyes closed. Julie glared at Roy and her heart broke at John’s look. “Wanna say I told you so…?” He whispered.
“No partner…she already did. Johnny…? Doctor Brackett says that bullet has to come out…”
John’s eyes blinked open heavily. “Is he c…comin in?” The younger man asked quietly.
“No…No he wants me to do it…He says he’ll walk me through it.”
Johnny swallowed heavily…Rolling his head slightly… “Kay…,” he whispered.
“Johnny…The bullets possibly nicked the artery…If I make a mistake…”
John turned his head back to his partner…Pain filled brown eyes locked with terrified blue. “You won’t…There’s no one I trust more with my life…or at m…my side,” he whispered Roy’s words back at him.
“Don’t be ridiculous Kel…You’d have let me go in with you…I feel just as safe with Roy…Besides,” She held up her hand to stop his protest. “You said yourself that Johnny will die without surgery. Roy needs help and they’ll let me in. I’m going…”
“Dix…,” Kel began angrily.
“Johnny means as much to me as he does to everyone else here…Don’t stop me from trying to help him Kel…”
Doctor Brackett’s head dropped in defeat…”Okay Dix…”
Kel went to talk to the police. After a great deal of arguing the SWAT Captain finally agreed.
Outside six people were waiting anxiously. The radio crackled and even though they were all expecting it, they all jumped as Roy’s voice came through. “Okay Doc…Johnny wants me to try.”
“Right…okay Roy tell them we’re sending Dixie in…”
“WHAT…?” Roy yelled.
Everyone turned to look at the blonde paramedic. “Roy listen to me…You need help and she can give it, they’ll let her in.”
“No way Doc…”
“Now you listen to me Roy DeSoto…,” Dixie’s voice came over the HT. “Johnny’s my friend too and I’ll do what it takes to keep him alive. I’m a trained surgical nurse and I’ve worked with anesthesia…You need me…”
“Yeah…Okay Dix…,” Roy conceded. He knew she was right. He needed her experience and so did Johnny.
“Okay Roy…Tell them what you want to do…Tell them you’ll need a table or counter…”
“I’ll see what I can do Doc…”
He set the HT down and turned to the three suspects. “They’re sending the nurse in…They want me to remove that bullet…”
“Oh man…,” Pete groaned.
“My sentiments exactly…,” Roy whispered.
“Alright…,” Tim agreed.
“I’m gonna need a table to lay him on…”
Tim glanced around and spotted a display table. “Pete…,” He pointed at Jerry… “You…get up and help him.”
Jerry swallowed hard and climbed to his feet and followed Pete. Tim looked at Roy… “Tell them to send her in…”
Roy nodded. “Doc…They said to send Dixie in.”
The Swat Captain looked to Dixie… “Ma’am, you sure you wanna do this…There’s no guarantee they’ll let you go again.”
“I’ll risk it…,” she said softly.
Brackett keyed the radio… “She’s on her way in…”
“10-4 Doc…,” Roy said quietly. His heart was in his throat. Pete and Jerry carried the table into the room and set it down. Pete waved the other three hostages to their feet, moving them to sit against the wall just outside the service area while Tim watched the door.
Roy knelt next to his partner. “Johnny…,” he said softly. John’s dark eyes tracked to Roy… “Dixie’s comin in.”
“No…no… It’s not safe…,” Johnny whispered.
“She knows that junior…” Roy brushed the hair from Johnny’s forehead. “But for some strange reason, she thinks you’re pretty special…She’s willing to risk it.”
The younger man grinned weakly, his breathing was becoming labored. Roy took a new set of vitals… “Doc…?” He said keying the Handy Talkie. “His respirations are 10, pulse is rapid…BP is dropping 80/50…,” he said giving his young friend a worried glance.
“Jerry…Can you help me get him up here…?” The other man nodded. “Johnny…? We’re gonna move you now…I just want you to relax okay…? Let us do everything.”
Roy and Jerry lifted him carefully onto the table. Johnny cried out in pain and then gritted his teeth. Roy leaned over to soothe his partner. “Easy partner…,” he whispered, pressing him back.
Tim moved to the door as Dixie approached…He waved her in…staying clear of the glass windows… The blonde man pointed the gun at her and she raised her hands. Tim looked her over, deciding she was okay…he pointed toward the small room. “Over there…,” he said nodding to where Pete and Julie were standing. She heard Johnny cry out in pain and she moved a little faster. She entered the service area and spotted Roy as he leaned over his partner, speaking in reassuring tones and pressing him back on the table.
Roy looked up at Dixie as she came in, she nodded back and then moved around to Johnny’s head. “Hi Handsome…,” she greeted him as she kissed his forehead.
Julie ground her teeth in anger as John threw a half hearted crooked smile at the older woman…His own teeth clenched against the pain.”
“You r…ready for th…is…Dix…,” he gasped.
Johnny’s eyes tracked to Roy… “Don’t slip…,” he whispered.
Roy nodded to Dixie and opened the kit Brackett had sent in… Everything Roy would need was wrapped in sterile plastic. She moved the Isoflurane bottle close to the table. Setting the esophageal airway aside for later. It would be easier to intubate him after he was asleep.
Roy cut Johnny’s shirt off, followed by the bandage…the wound still oozed blood. He hooked Johnny to the cardiac monitor.
The younger man watched them with frightened dark eyes but managed to smile wanly at Roy... “Johnny…,” Roy began…
John cut him off… “I trust you…Just do it…,” he whispered.
Julie and Pete leaned on the counter watching intently.
Dixie held up a blue gown. “Okay Roy…let’s get you ready.” Her assured manner calmed Roy. He stuck his arms through the sleeves and turned to let Dixie tie the back. She dropped a cap over Roy’s hair and the mask over his face. She poured alcohol over his hands before helping him into a pair of gloves. She nodded reassuringly and quickly donned a gown of her own. When she was done she turned to their young patient.
“Your turn tiger …,” she said softly. She quickly injected the anesthetic Propofol into the IV port. “It’s gonna be alright…,” she whispered as the drug began to take effect. He smiled drowsily.
“I know…,” he whispered as the smile wavered.
His eyes began to droop and she dropped the mask over Johnny’s face letting the gas flow. John’s eyes closed. As soon as she was sure he was under, Dixie dropped a piece of tape over each eye and quickly inserted the airway. She checked John’s vitals…She hung a bag of plasma and then bagged the Handy Talkie before cleaning her own hands and putting on gloves. She nodded at Roy. “We’re ready.” He swallowed hard and blew out a frightened breath. She keyed the radio. “We’re ready Kel…”
The engine crew stood listening. They swallowed nervously as Brackett lifted his own radio. Several officers who were friends of Johnny and Roy edged closer, listening to Brackett.
“Okay Roy let’s start…”
They had their first crisis with Roy’s first action. As he made the first incision through the surface skin, blood flowed and Pete’s face drained of color…he gagged once before his eyes rolled up and he fainted, hitting the floor hard. Julie looked as if she might follow but then gritted her teeth and turned to help her friend. “I know exactly how you feel …,” Roy muttered.
At Dr. Brackett’s calmly voiced instructions, Roy slowly worked his way through skin and muscle tissue. He swallowed nervously and tried to keep control of his shaky hands. Dixie kept her eye on the monitor and gauge on the Isoflurane and oxygen. Without the monitors used in the OR they were taking a risk on how much to give. Roy had to rely on Dixie’s experience.
Sweat beaded on Roy’s forehead as they progressed. Dixie blotted it away. Kel’s voice became a reassuring lifeline.
“Dixie use the retractor…Move the tissue out of the way…Roy can you see the bullet…?”
“Yeah…,” he nodded. “It’s lodged against the artery." Dixie relayed the answer.
“Okay Roy…Use the pickups but be careful…stop if there’s any resistance…”
Dixie handed him the required instrument and keyed the HT to respond but at the first touch, the bullet shifted. Blood spurted. “Damn it…,” Roy shouted. He looked at Dixie and she saw the terror in his eyes. Her fingers were still depressing the button on the HT…The people outside could hear the panic in his voice.
“Stay calm Roy…,” she said as she dropped the HT and quickly clamped the artery.
“Dixie…What’s happening…?” Kel said urgently.
She picked up the radio. “Kel…the artery is nicked. The bullet was working as a plug…opening and closing it.”
“Okay Roy, stay calm…”
“Easy for him to say…,” Roy murmured.
“Dixie, use the sponge to clear away that blood…Roy you’re gonna have to close that artery…can you do it?”
“I don’t know…,” he whispered shakily. “I don’t have a choice do I…?” Dixie looked at him over the mask and shook her head. “I guess I have to huh…?”
“Take a deep breath Roy…Your hands need to be steady…But Roy…don’t take too long,.” Kel said softly.
“God Doc…What if I lose him…?”
“You won’t…,” he assured him.
“I’ll help you…,” Dixie added.
Roy took a deep breath… “Okay…I’m ready.”
Cap, Mike, Chet and Marco had taken to pacing but stayed close enough to still hear what was happening.
“God Cap…Roy sounds like he’s losin it…,” Chet said.
“I would be…,” Marco murmured. “I mean it’s one thing if it was a stranger but…,” Marco hesitated.
“It’s Johnny…,” Cap finished.
“His best friend…,” Mike murmured.
“What if Johnny doesn’t make it…?” Chet asked.
“Roy will never forgive himself…,” Mike answered.
“Well let’s not think that way…,” Cap admonished. “Things were goin good and Roy and Dixie have got it under control.”
Dixie keyed the HT… “Okay Kel, I’m gonna release the clamp.” They waited anxiously for word from Dixie. “Looks good Kel…,” she said breaking the tension. They breathed a relieved sigh as she continued. “No bleeding. We’re looking good on plasma as well.”
“Good job you two…Roy do you have the bullet?”
“He’s got it Kel…” There were several cheers from the crew, they were joined by several police officers. “I’m gonna close,” Dixie replied.
“Okay Dixie increase the oxygen and back off the Isoflurane…bring his levels up. I want you to try and bring him around as quickly as possible.”
It had taken well over an hour but Roy finally breathed a sigh of relief. He watched Dixie closing the incision layer by layer. The paramedic felt a wave of dizziness wash through him. He sat down on the floor fighting back the urge to be sick…He settled for a few tears instead.
Dixie continued to work but spoke quietly to Roy… “You okay…?”
“God Dixie…I was so scared.”
“You did a great job Roy…But you’re not done…Johnny still needs you. Normally we’d let it wear off on its own but because of that head injury Kel doesn’t want him under too long, so take a minute to get yourself together and then we’re gonna try and bring him around…I need you to reduce the Isoflurane and increase the oxygen and then we’re going to give him Flumazenil to reverse the effect of the Propofol…”
Roy nodded and climbed to his feet. “Got it…,” he said. They finished up bandaging the incision and immobilized his arm. Dixie removed the airway and placed the oxygen mask over his face.
“Johnny…?” Dixie called. “Come on sweetheart. “She increased the oxygen, lightly patting his face. “C’mon Johnny…wake up for me…,” Dixie urged.
Roy took his hand… “C’mon Johnny, open your eyes for me…,” Roy said leaning close to his partner’s ear. He smoothed the sable hair away from his forehead with the back of his fingers. "C’mon junior,” Roy encouraged.
A short, low moan came from John as he struggled back to consciousness. Pain flared in his awareness but different than it had been. Johnny’s eyes flickered open briefly. His head tossed restlessly. A low groan began… “Dixie grab that trashcan…You know how he is…,” Roy warned.
She nodded barely making it as Roy gently turned his partner’s head, whipping the mask from his face as Johnny began to cough and then retch helplessly. He gasped for air. Roy cleaned his face and replaced the mask.
Dixie keyed the HT… “He’s awake Kel…,” Dixie informed the anxious audience. “He’s sick but he's awake and by the way…Roy did a great job…”
“I’m not surprised by either statement Dix…,” Kel said with a chuckle. “Give Doctor DeSoto my congratulations. Now let’s hope they let you all go…Tell Roy to keep him warm and as quiet as possible.”
They wouldn’t find out until later how many stations had been gathered around their radio’s, listening to every word.
“Is he okay…?” Julie asked in concern as Johnny began to shiver, even as sweat beaded his face. Roy used a clean gauze pad to blot the moisture from Johnny’s face. Roy ignored her but Dixie answered. “Johnny doesn’t handle anesthesia very well and it usually makes him sick, combine that with a probable concussion and it’s a disaster waiting to happen. The shivering is a minor side effect of Isoflurane.”
“Oh…,” she murmured, annoyed that this woman seemed to know Johnny so well. “How do you know him?” She asked.
“We’ve been friends for years, haven’t we sweetheart?” She questioned softly taking his hand.
John gave a weak smile from behind the oxygen mask. “W…Where’s Roy…D…Dixie?” He whispered.
“I’m here partner…,” Roy said, moving into John’s line of vision.
“D…did you get it…?”
“Yeah junior…I got it.”
“Thanks… Thanks Dix… Tell me about it later okay…,” he murmured as his eyes closed.
“Okay lady…,” Julie said pointing at Dixie. “You gotta go.”
Now that the surgery was done, Pete cautiously approached the counter. “Put him back on the floor…,” He directed. “We gotta move the table out so they can come back inside…,” he said nodding toward the other four hostages.
Pete waved Dixie out and pointed at Jerry… “Go help him…”
Jerry climbed to his feet to go and help Roy while Julie leaned over the counter, her taunting grin sending shivers down Roy’s spine. “Thanks for patching him up for me…I wasn’t sure how I was gonna take him with me the way he was.”
“What…?” Roy snapped. “You can’t move him. You break those stitches, he’s dead.”
“Relax Roy…,” She said with a smirk. “I’ll take good care of him…”
“Over my dead body…,” Roy ground out.
“If necessary…,” she giggled.
Roy and Jerry carefully lifted Johnny and set him back on the floor. Roy sat next to him, wrapping a blanket around him to keep him warm. Jerry moved to help Pete remove the table, while Julie waved Dixie to the door. The blonde nurse cast one final worried glance back at Johnny before moving away.
Roy picked up the HT… “Doc, they’re sending Dixie back out, he said with a sigh of relief. Pete moved to join Julie and Tim. Roy took the opportunity and keyed the HT once more… “Doc…They’re planning to take Johnny with them as a hostage.”
“What…? They’ll kill him…”
Pete heard the crackle of the radio… “Who are you talkin to…?” He snapped.
“The Doctor was just checking on Johnny’s condition that’s all.”
“Well don’t be using that without permission,” he ordered snatching the Handy Talkie from Roy and placing it on the counter.
Tim and Julie watched Dixie cross the parking lot to rejoin the Doctor and the Engine crew, casting anxious glances back at the market. Concern for Johnny and Roy written on her face.
Tim moved back to the counter. “Okay…now that he ain’t gonna bleed to death, let’s see if we can use them to get outta here. He picked up the radio. “Okay…You listenin out there…?”
The Lt. Rieker took the radio from Kel… “We’re listening.”
“Good…you got one hour to get us a car…I proved I can be reasonable and I sure don’t want to kill anyone but I will if I have to and all that hard work will be for nothin…” No more stalling and no more negotiating…It’s the car and a free walk outta here or I’ll kill one of your Fireman…Got it…”
“We got it.”
The Lieutenant turned to the SWAT Captain. “Can you get a shot off through that window…?” He asked.
He shook his head… “The glare of that glass is playin havoc with our scopes. Another forty five minutes and the sun will be behind the building it’ll give us a clear shot. I can’t risk shooting a hostage by mistake.”
“If you shoot one of the suspects, the others may start taking out the hostages.”
“That’s why we’ll be using tear gas first.”
Those words brought Caps head up. “Hey…we’ve got six innocent people in there, including two of my men,” he protested.
“Not to mention that one of them is wounded and recovering from surgery,” Dr. Brackett added his concerns. “You could cause severe problems for Johnny.”
“Let’s not forget the oxygen canister. If that ignites…there could be an explosion,” Dixie reminded them.
“Well Miss McCall, that’s why we need you to give us a detailed map of where everyone is located. Can you do that?” Dixie nodded.
“Isn’t there any other way…?” Kel asked worriedly.
“Look, so far we’ve been able to stall them…That and the fact that the girl wanted Gage alive but now they’re upping the ante and forcing our hand,” the Captain explained.
The group hung they’re heads in dejection…knowing they were right but still worried for their friends.
“If you can find a way to warn your people fine but we’re out of time and options.”
“Too bad it was Johnny that was shot…,” Chet said musefully.
The others looked at him in surprise. “Why..,” the Lieutenant asked.
“Well the time he and Roy were held hostage at the bank, Johnny talked them into giving up.”
“We could have used his negotiating skills,” the Captain agreed, not understanding how Johnny had done it. The others laughed, remembering…
As the time passed Roy became increasingly nervous. Julie had come several times to stand and watch Johnny. This last time she’d thrown Roy a sly grin. “Say goodbye to Johnny Roy…,” she taunted.
“You gonna let them kill him if you don’t get your car…?”
“Of course not…That’s what the rest of you are for…I’m taking him with me.”
“I’m not gonna let you take him…,” Roy stated flatly.
“Then you can be first.”
“No…,” Johnny whispered. They both looked toward the younger man, unaware that he was awake and listening. “L…leave the other’s… I…I’ll go with you…on my own…,” he panted…struggling to get the words out.
“Johnny NO …,” Roy said vehemently.
“N…not gonna l…let them k…kill you Roy…”
“Your word on it Johnny… You’ll go with me without a fight…?”
The answers came simultaneously. “Yes…,” John gasped.
“NO…,” Roy yelled.
The HT crackled to life… “Roy this is Doctor Brackett. Can you give me an update on Johnny?”
“Don’t let him talk to him…,” Julie advised, picking up the radio. The others shrugged unconcerned.
“Look…,” Pete suddenly shouted pointing toward the window, where a large blue car slowly pulled up in front of the building. The officer driving got out and walked slowly away.
The radio crackled from the counter area… “Roy…If you can hear me…,” Kel said. “I think we need to let Johnny breath on his own… Let’s switch off the oxygen…” Kel looked at the others. “I don’t know if he’s getting this.”
“Keep tryin…,” Cap said.
Julie and Pete came into the service area. The young brown haired man waved Roy away. Roy refused to budge… “You’re not taking him…,” Roy protested. “He’s still weak…you move him, you’ll kill him…Can you understand that…?” Roy said angrily.
Pete shrugged… “I only need him to get outta here. She’s the one who wants lover boy here.”
Julie grinned spitefully. “Roy…you really need to move…Cause I’ll have a heck of a time with him if I have to kill you.”
“No…,” Johnny cried out as he struggled to sit up…
“Johnny…Don’t…,” Roy moved to try and stop him.
Julie’s gun was suddenly against the older man’s head. “Don’t…,” she snapped. Roy sat back in frustration.
Pete pulled Johnny to his feet. The dark haired paramedic cried out in pain…Barely able to stand, dizziness washing through him. He began to gasp, trying not to be sick.
“Be careful…,” Roy yelled. The other hostages shifted in fear as Roy tried to push Julie’s gun aside.
“No R…oy…,” Johnny panted.
“Let me help him…,” Roy pleaded.
“No…,” Julie growled. “Pete…Get him out front…You sit back down.”
Roy watched helplessly as Pete half dragged, half carried Johnny out.
The HT crackled once more. Roy had vaguely heard Brackett tell him to take Johnny off the oxygen. He’d been too distracted to think about it. Now the others in the room were watching him…Some with sympathy, others with relief that this ordeal was almost over.
Kel’s voice came over the Handy Talkie as Julie was backing out the door with it. “Roy if you can hear me…Johnny needs a dose of Chloroacetophenone.”
“What…?” Roy murmured in confusion as the door closed and his voice trailed off. “Oh my God…,” he whispered as understanding suddenly came. They were going to use tear gas and Johnny was in the line of fire.
Roy moved quickly to shut off the oxygen and then grabbed the blanket he’d had wrapped around Johnny. He thrust it at his four companions. “They’re gonna use tear gas…,” he whispered. “Cover your face and keep your eyes closed.”
“What are you gonna do…?” Jerry asked.
“Help my partner. He’s totally defenseless out there… Damn it, this is the last thing he needs.”
Roy went to the door and cracked it open. He could see Pete supporting a weakening Johnny. Julie stood on the other side holding the money bag. Tim was standing slightly in front of them…A smirk of victory on his face.
“Let’s go…,” he said. “Keep the Fireman between us and them…” Tim took the HT and raised it to his lips. “Okay, we’re comin out…One move and the Fireman dies.”
Cap was chewing his lip, bouncing on his toes in anxiety. Mike, Marco and Chet were pacing the parking lot. Dixie stood next to Kel, who had his bag in hand…ready to get to Johnny’s side the minute this was over.
Station 36 was standing by to help with decontamination of the CN teargas and other potential injuries or the event of fire.
Roy pulled his navy blue jacket off and eased through the door as all hell broke loose. A SWAT officer suddenly sat up in the back seat of the getaway car. A split second later a tear gas grenade crashed through the glass window and exploded.
Paper bags began to smolder and then burst into flame a few feet away. A second grenade crashed in seconds behind the other.
Roy bolted forward with the first grenade…covering the distance in quick strides. Julie was screaming. Pete let his grip on Johnny drop as he tried to cover his face from the choking, eye watering fumes. Johnny collapsed to the floor.
Roy saw Tim turn to aim at the fallen Paramedic… His shout of “Nooo…,” coinciding with the crack of a rifle shot. Roy tensed for a moment, fearing Johnny had been shot again…Tim’s body jerked back and then fell to the floor. Julie and Pete were frantically wiping their eyes and choking uncontrollably.
Roy slid to his knees next to his partner. Johnny was choking, gasping for air…his eyes tearing profusely. Roy sat him up, his own eyes burning from the gas. He quickly dragged his partner behind the first register and out of the line of fire. He pulled Johnny against him, pressing the younger man’s face against his chest and wrapped the jacket around both of their faces. John strained against him, unsure of what was happening. He moaned in pain trying to twist away from the hands holding him.
“Easy Johnny…,” he soothed, his own chest aching as he tried to suppress his own coughing. His eyes were watering horribly. He could only imagine how bad this was on his young friend. He heard the chaos of police swarming into the building. Shouts and crashes assaulted his ears. He held his still struggling and choking partner. “Hold on junior…,” he whispered. “It’s almost over and we’re gonna get you outta here.”
Roy waited until Julie and Pete were in custody before yelling to the officers. “We need some help over here…” The SWAT officer came forward cautiously and then realized who they were.
“Are you alright…?”
Roy nodded through the tears in his eyes… “I need to get my partner outta here right now…,” he said urgently. He pointed toward the service area. “There are four more hostages in there…”
The officer waved three others over… “The hostages are in there,” he directed. “Rodriguez, help me with them.” The three moved to their respective assignments. The crew of Station 36 was just running in with their hoses to put out the flames as the two officers lifted Johnny and carried him rapidly from the building.
Kel and the others were waiting by the ambulance. “Strip…,” was Kel’s first command to Roy. Chet and Marco were waiting to hose him down, while Mike held a yellow blanket between him and the prying eyes of bystanders. Roy quickly stripped to his boxers as Dixie began cutting the clothing from Johnny.
Roy shivered from the icy blast of water but his watering eyes never left his friend. They handed him a set of turnouts as Dixie efficiently bathed John’s exposed skin with water, taking care not to hurt his shoulder further.
Mike helped Roy rinse his eyes as soon as he was dressed and handed him an O2 mask. Roy took a couple of cleansing breaths before he moved to his partner’s side where Dixie was trying to place an oxygen mask over Johnny’s face. Kel was flushing the young man’s eyes but Johnny was fighting him.
John was semi conscious and visibly agitated. He pushed at the hands trying to hold him down. His body arcing upward as he twisted away… “No…,” he moaned. “R…Roy…, he panted… “Gotta help Roy…”
Roy squatted beside him, catching the frantically swinging hands in his. “Okay junior, settle down now…Take it easy now…It’s okay…I’m here.”
Johnny’s watering eyes found his friend. “Roy…?” He gasped, relaxing back onto the blanket. “You…okay…?”
“I’m fine junior…,” he said softly as he brushed a hand through Johnny’s hair. “Just rest okay?”
“Kay…” He whispered, settling back. They lifted him onto a stretcher.
Roy glanced around. Jerry and the others were being brought outside…None of them too happy about being ordered to strip and be hosed off but grateful to still be alive.
Julie and Pete had already been removed from the building…There was no rush for Tim. Squad 36’s paramedics were assisting in decontaminating them while Squad 45’s were working with the hostage’s. Wrapping them in blankets and hustling them off to waiting ambulances.
Kel cut the bandage away from John’s shoulder. “Damn, he’s bleeding again…,” Kel muttered. “Let’s get Johnny outta here.” Kel nodded toward the ambulance. The attendants quickly loaded the injured man inside. Kel and Roy climbed in with him.
Dixie patted Roy’s arm. “I’ll follow you back,” she assured him..
Cap leaned in. “We’ll meet you at the hospital unless we get another call…”
“Take good care of him Roy…”
The ambulance pulled out. Julie and Pete, both in handcuffs watched it pull away from the back of the squad car… “Bye Johnny…,” she whispered forlornly. Her red rimmed eyes filled with tears yet again at what she’d lost.
They rushed Johnny into treatment room three. Joe Early and Mike Morton went to check out the other hostages.
“This looks like only the surface sutures have been broken. We’ll do some X-Rays but everything else looks good. Roy…Dixie…you did a good job.”
John rolled his head toward his partner. “They’ll be no living with you now huh Partner? I’ll be competing with a surgeon…,” he said softly, a half smile played on his lips as his eyes drooped in exhaustion.
“No way Junior. I’ll stick to being a paramedic. That was the most terrifying experience of my life.”
“That’s only because it was Johnny,” Dixie said. “You did a great job…You sure you wouldn’t like to go to medical school?” She teased
“Thanks, but I think I’ll stay where I am…I’m partial to the company…,” he said reaching out to flick the bangs from the younger man’s forehead. Johnny gave him a lopsided grin.
Mike and Joe came back in. “The other’s are doing fine…The police are getting their statements.” Mike said.
“They want to talk to Roy and Johnny,” Joe added.
Kel pursed his lips. “Roy can if he’s up to it, but they’re going to have to wait for Johnny…I need to re-suture this wound and be sure there is no damage to those internal stitches and then I think he needs to rest…”
Mike looked at the two paramedics. “Man you two seem to walk into trouble and you lead the way…,” Mike said looking at John.
Roy saw a troubled frown form on his young partners face. “Uh oh…,” Roy muttered. “Doc…,” he said, clapping his hand on the young Doctors shoulder. “None of this was Johnny’s fault but I think when Johnny’s feeling better, we should take you on a ride along…”
John’s jaw dropped in shock. "Wha...? What...? Wait...," he protested.
Mike looked between them before folding his arms across his chest. “Why do I need a ride along…?”
“I think it would be good for you too…,” Kel agreed. “I’ve done it myself and you get a good perspective of just how difficult their job is and just how easy it is to walk into trouble…”
“It’s not always cut and dried for them Mike…They make split second decisions, most of them are the right ones but they don’t always get the luxury of going slow and second guessing. It’s now or never and you’ll get to see that for yourself,” Dixie added, defending her two favorite paramedics and their difficult job. "You’ll learn to trust their judgment.”
“I’ll guess I’ll take you up on that then…”
“Now that that’s settled…Let’s get this guy taken care of.” Kel smiled, nodding toward Johnny.
“Now wait a minute…,” Johnny gasped out.
“You arguing with my judgment junior…?”
John glared at his friend for a brief moment before it dissolved into his trademark grin. “No way pally.”
The Character’s of Emergency do not belong to me. They are the property of Universal Studios and Mark VII Limited. Thanks for letting us take them out to play. Any Medical Mistakes are mine. As you can guess the sequel to this story is The Ride Along…Hope you enjoy them both.
Published to Site 02/13/10
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The Characters of Emergency do not belong to me. They are the property of Universal Studios and Mark VII Limited. No copyright infringement is intended or monetary gain made. I merely like to toy with them and return them to their proper owner in good working order.
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