Note: Thank you so much for the encouragement! I am sorry this took so long to post- hopefully 3rd chapter will be up sooner rather than later!

Chapter 2

Wes Mitchell blinked, a headache forming behind his eyes. He surveyed his surroundings as best as he could from his position on the floor. Sprawled in a heap, his shoulder throbbed as a kindly fellow hostage applied direct pressure- the harder she pushed down on his wound the harder it was for Wes not to give in to shock- though blacking out seemed like a great option right about now.

Tentatively, a gentle flex of his muscles confirmed that Wes could not move his arm. The young officer sighed and looked at the mess of his shoulder. "Damn it Travis" he gritted his teeth against the pain, "This was my favorite suit."

Leave it to his partner to be late to a bank robbery. Wes had spent most of the afternoon studying the case file and recognized the suspect's car from an eye witness description as it pulled up in front of the bank. Detective Wes Mitchell wasn't one to miss a procedural step. Technically he was supposed to call it in and wait for back up, whether that back up was his partner or not. But from the fire power the suspects had been carrying at the last robbery, he didn't want to risk sitting in his car when lives were at stake just because Travis was late. And so Wes Mitchell called in the robbery and broke protocol. He had entered the bank as a customer, to do what- he certainly didn't know, but the former lawyer felt he had a responsibility to the patrons of that bank to protect them. It was why he had become a cop in the first place.

Once inside Wes had dawdled at the check writing island pretending to study a deposit slip while stealing glances at the suspects. There was a small chance that this was a scouting mission, maybe to case the bank beforehand. In the back of his mind Wes knew this was a futile hope— and his fears were realized when the lead perp walked up to the teller window and threw a black gym bag over the counter. These guys were here to rob the bank and Wes had only a few seconds more to decide a course of action.

Protocol dictated that because he was alone Wes was to observe the robbery and act only in the defense of possible civilian causalities. With any luck these idiots would grab the loot and run into the police outside. It was looking that way too until one of the customers in line, big guy- probably law enforcement of some kind, had clotheslined one of robbers as he made his escape-so much for protocol and observation. There was a scuffle and the other perp leveled his gun at the two. Wes didn't think, he lunged forward as the gun went off twice. Muscles took a hit in the side. The second shot aimed for the customer's head Wes took in the shoulder. After that, things went painfully blurry and eventually Wes blacked out.

Breaking police procedure—Travis would have been beside himself to see Wes throw caution to the wind and walk into that bank. His partner was always trying to get Wes to loosen up, be more flexible—to act in the moment. Wes just wasn't an act in the moment kind of guy. He loved order, rules, procedure and it was his obsession with method that he turned to right now. The injured officer concentrated on protocol, focused on what needed to be done, assess the situation, how many suspects, how many hostages and what was everyone's position right now? There seemed to be two suspects, both armed.

"It's a through and through," the woman currently pressing down on his shoulder informed him. "You should be ok as long as we get you out of here soon."

Did they know he was a cop? Wes looked down at his belt, using his good arm to feel for his gun and his badge. His suit jacket was buttoned and had yet to reveal both. Wes managed a small smile, saved by being dressed appropriately- he told Travis that it was important to dress well. "You didn't open my jacket?"

"No, don't worry- they don't know," the young woman pressed down on Wes' shoulder, her hands covered in blood she had an assertive edge to her voice. Definitely a doctor or a nurse. Wes tried to shift to see if he could sit up and closed his eyes as a sharp pain tore up his torso.

Breathless, he asked in a low voice "How's the first victim?"

"Alive for now- thanks to you. You've both stopped bleeding," she put her free hand on Wes' chest, "don't try to move—I'm afraid you'll remedy that."

"I have to sit up," Wes exhaled, "I have to assess the situation."

"You don't have to do anything except continue to live," though it was obvious she wasn't happy about it, she helped Wes slowly into an assisted sitting position.

Completely drained, Wes clung to the different steps of hostage negotiation as his vision began to blur. Establish two way communications, attempt negotiations once the negotiator was on the scene. The police would have organized a mobile command center by now; protocol would have been to immediately access the bank's digital security footage. They were probably watching right now which meant that Travis could see Wes.

Wes didn't have to see outside to know that his partner was going crazy. Travis had been late and yes this was pretty much all his fault, and Wes was going to enjoy reminding him of that for the rest of their lives- but as much as they fought each other every day, no one knew Wes Mitchell better than Travis Marks. If Travis was watching and the fact that Travis hadn't shot out the bank's front window and run in here screaming like a crazy person meant that he was, Wes could communicate with him- abet one way. This was a small advantage Wes had over his captors.

"Mind filling me in on what I missed while I was unconscious?" Wes needed to gather as much information as possible about the situation.

"Believe it or not, after you got shot the two of them disappeared behind the teller line. I think they're freaked out"

Wes looked over at where the bad guys were huddled speaking to each other in excited but hushed tones, his new friend was right- they both seemed to be rattled which could be very bad for the hostages.

If I survive this, Wes thought to himself, I'm going to kill Travis.